Most Employment-Based Categories Advance Moderately in the January 2021 Visa Bulletin

Practice Areas

By: Gladys Gervacio

The January 2021 Visa Bulletin features advancement in many employment-based categories. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will use the Final Action Dates chart for employment-based visas.

a summary of final action cutoff dates for january 2021

USCIS will use the Final Action Date chart in January after using the Dates for Filing chart for multiple months.

The final action cutoff dates will advance in many employment-based categories for January 2021, including:

  • EB-1: Both China and India will advance five months to September 1, 2019. All other countries remain current in January.
  • EB-2: China advances one month to June 1, 2016, and India advances one week to October 8, 2009. All other countries will be current.
  • EB-3: In the professionals and skilled workers category, China advances one and a half months to December 15, 2017. India advances one week to March 22, 2010. All other countries are current in January.
  • EB-3 (Other Workers): China advances two weeks to March 1, 2009, while India advances one week to March 22, 2010. All other countries remain current.
  • EB-4: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras advance by one month to March 1, 2018. Mexico advances by one week to December 1, 2018. All other countries remain current. The non-minister special immigrant religious worker program is set to expire on December 28, 2020 and will become unavailable unless new legislation extends or reauthorizes it.
  • EB-5: For non-regional center investors, all countries will be current except China and Vietnam. For China, the final action cutoff date remains the same at August 15, 2015. Vietnam advances by two weeks to September 15, 2017. The regional center program is due to expire on December 28, 2020. If extended, it will mirror the final action cutoff dates for the category.

eligibility to adjust status

Foreign nationals are eligible to adjust status to permanent resident in January 2021 if their priority date is earlier than the date listed on the Final Action Date chart for their country of chargeability and preference category.

presidential proclamation

The presidential proclamation limits the entry of certain foreign nationals into the United States if they were outside of the country on April 23, 2020 and did not already have a valid US visa or travel document. The proclamation is set to expire on December 31, 2020. If it is renewed by President Trump, it would continue to limit the ability of foreign nationals to obtain visas at US consulates abroad.

potential extensions of Employment-based programs 

The January 2021 Visa Bulletin lists the EB-4 non-minister religious worker and EB-5 regional center programs as unavailable. However, Congress recently passed a government funding package that would extend both programs beyond their expiration date of December 28, 2020. If signed into law, the regional center program would be extended to June 30, 2021, and the non-minister religious worker program through September 30, 2021. A temporary stopgap measure could also extend these programs.

conclusion

For more information on how to interpret the January 2021 Visa Bulletin, or for other case-specific questions, please contact your trusted Chugh, LLP attorney.

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