On September 24, 2020, USCIS announced on its website that it will follow the Dates for Filing Chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2020 for all employment-based preference categories. The dates in the Visa Bulletin determine if an individual may file a Form I-485 Adjustment of Status application (“green card” application) to USCIS. As described in our prior alert, the priority dates advanced significantly for most employment-based preference categories.
Most individuals filing under the Dates for Filing Chart will be able to obtain interim immigration benefits including an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”) and an Advance Parole travel document; however, these green card applications will not be adjudicated and approved until the priority date becomes current under the Final Action Chart. In order to be eligible to file, the individual’s priority date must be earlier than the date listed in the Visa Bulletin. The sections that are current, notated by a “C,” indicate that all applications can be filed regardless of priority date.
This is welcome news to many individuals who have been unable to move forward with their permanent residence applications due to lengthy backlogs in the green card quotas. The ability to obtain an EAD and Advance Parole is a significant benefit, given the limited availability of visa appointments at U.S. Consular Posts, and the current climate at USCIS where it can be difficult to extend existing nonimmigrant visa status.
The Dates for Filing Chart indicates the following cut-off dates for the EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, and Other Worker employment-based categories:
EB-1: Both China and India will advance significantly to September 1, 2020. All other countries remain current.
EB-2: India will advance by 21 months to May 15, 2011 and China will advance 2 months to October 1, 2016. All other countries remain current.
EB-3: India will advance 5 years to January 1, 2015 and China will advance 13 months to June 1, 2018. All Chargeability category will become current.
Other workers: India will advance 5 years to January 1, 2015 and China will remain the same. All Chargeability category will be current.