LawFlash

US Department of State Releases January 2021 Visa Bulletin

December 29, 2020

USCIS will use Final Action chart in January 2021, and EB classifications will retrogress for China and India.

The US Department of State has released its January 2021 Visa Bulletin, outlining per-country priority date cutoffs that regulate immigrant visa availability and the flow of adjustment of status application and consular immigrant visa application filings and approvals.

WHAT DOES THE JANUARY 2021 VISA BULLETIN SAY?

The bulletin includes both a Dates for Filing Visa Applications chart and an Application Final Action Dates chart. The former indicates when intending immigrants may file their applications for adjustments of status or immigrant visas, and the latter indicates when adjustment of status applications or immigrant visa applications may be approved and permanent residence granted.

Each month, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) chooses which chart it will follow. For January 2021, the USCIS will follow the earlier “Final Action” for Employment-Based Visa Applications chart for employment-based (EB) filings for adjustment of status. This means that individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS in January 2021 must use the Final Action chart below.

FINAL ACTION CUTOFF DATES

To be eligible to file an EB adjustment application in January 2021, a foreign national must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for his or her preference category and country.

The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date. The listing of a date for any category indicates that only applicants with a priority date that is earlier than the listed date may file their applications.

Employment
Based

All Charge-ability Areas Except Those Listed

China-
Mainland
Born

El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras

India

Mexico

Philippines

Vietnam

1st

C

01SEP19 (was 01NOV20)

C

01SEP19 (was 01NOV20)

C

C

C

2nd

C

01JUN16 (was 01OCT16)

C

08OCT09 was 15MAY11)

C

C

C

3rd

C

15DEC17 (was 01JUN18 )

C

22MAR10 (was 01JAN14)

C

C

C

Other Workers

C

01MAR09 (unchanged)

C

22MAR10 (was 01JAN14)

C

C

C

4th

C

C

01MAR18 (was 01FEB18)

C

01DEC18 (was C)

C

C

COMMENTS

The cutoff dates for China and India for the three top employment-based categories retrogressed further in January. Adjustment of status applicants whose applications are pending may continue to receive the benefits of such applications, including employment authorization documents and advance parole authorizations, even if their priority dates are no longer current.

The EB-3 classification for India experienced the largest retrogression, with the priority date cutoff moving from January 1, 2014 to March 22, 2010 (nearly two years). The EB-2 priority date cutoff for India retrogressed by roughly 18 months to October 8, 2009. The EB-1 priority date cutoffs for China and India retrogressed by 10 months to September 1, 2019. The EB-2 priority date cutoff dates for China retrogressed by four months to June 1, 2016, and the EB-3 cutoff date for China retrogressed by six months to December 15, 2017.

The EB-3 classification for India experienced the largest retrogression, with the priority date cutoff moving from January 1, 2014 back to March 22, 2010 (nearly two years). The EB-2 priority date cutoff for India retrogressed by roughly 18 months to October 8, 2009. The EB-1 priority date cutoffs for China and India retrogressed by 10 months, to September 1, 2019. The EB-2 priority date cutoff dates for China retrogressed by four months to June 1, 2016, and the EB-3 cutoff date for China retrogressed by six months, to December 15, 2017.

Cutoff dates for persons chargeable to the “Rest of the World” allocation continue to be current, regardless of EB category. This means that all persons chargeable to this allocation may continue to file adjustment status applications in December.

CONTACTS

If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Washington, DC
Shannon A. Donnelly
Eleanor Pelta 
Eric S. Bord

Miami
Laura C. Garvin

San Francisco
A. James Vázquez-Azpiri
Christina M. Gonzaga