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Visa Bulletin For October 2020 and Predictions

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the newly released and much anticipated October 2020 visa bulletin. To hear about the availability of immigrant visa numbers for family based and employment-based preference categories for the month of October, keep on watching.


Overview

The release of the October 2020 visa bulletin has been much anticipated because the October visa bulletin kicks off the start of a brand-new fiscal year. The October visa bulletin is also important because it provides some insight into the availability of immigrant visa numbers, including visa numbers that have been unused as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the suspension of routine visa services at Embassies and Consulates worldwide, and the various presidential proclamations that have halted visa issuance for certain types of immigrants.

As some of you may have noticed, the October visa bulletin was released later than usual, most likely because the Department of State has been scrambling in light of Consular closures to review the data and provide accurate information regarding the number of visas available for each preference category.

Since the suspension of routine visa services at Consular posts worldwide, nearly 100,000 immigrant visa applicants have been unable to obtain their visas, creating a “rollover” of unused visa numbers for the benefit of employment-based preference categories.


Employment Based Categories – October 2020

In order to file for adjustment of status based on employment during the month of October (for applicants lawfully residing in the United States), employment-sponsored applicants must have a priority date that is earlier than the dated listed below for their preference category and country of nationality.

All applicants filing under employment-based preference categories must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2020.

Since Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 have suspended the issuance of immigrant visas for most family-sponsored preference categories, we are seeing a rapid movement in the dates of most employment-based preference categories, because “unused” visas for the family-sponsored categories have shifted or “rolled over” to the employment-based categories as a result of these Proclamations.


Dates for Filing – Employment Based Categories

EB-1: All countries current except China and India

  • China: September 1, 2020
  • India: September 1, 2020
  • All other countries: Current

EB-2: All countries current except China and India

  • China: October 1, 2016
  • India: May 15, 2011
  • All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: All countries current except China and India

  • China: June 1, 2018
  • India: January 1, 2015
  • All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers: All countries current except China and India

  • China: October 1, 2008
  • India: January 1, 2015
  • All other countries: Current

EB-4: All countries current except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras

  • El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: February 1, 2018
  • All other countries: Current

EB-5: All countries current except China

  • China: December 15, 2015
  • All other countries: Current

https://www.immigrationlawyerblog.com/files/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-28-at-7.18.24-PM.png


Family-Based Categories: What’s happening in October 2020?

Family-Sponsored Categories – October 2020

Presidential Proclamations 10014 and 10052 suspend the entry of the following types of family-sponsored immigrant applicants until December 31, 2020:

  • F2A Spouses and children of green card holders applying at the consulate
  • F-2B Unmarried sons and daughters of green card holders applying at the consulate (21 years of age or older)
  • F-3 Married sons and daughters meaning of US citizens applying at the consulate (children under 21 years old of US citizens are not affected)
  • F-4 Brothers and sisters of US citizens applying at the consulate

Unfortunately, this means that the majority of family-sponsored preference categories remain barred from obtaining an immigrant visa until the Presidential Proclamations terminate on December 31, 2020.

For the few family-sponsored categories that are not barred by the proclamations, applicants must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for October 2020.

https://www.immigrationlawyerblog.com/files/2020/09/Screen-Shot-2020-09-28-at-7.08.09-PM.png


F2A

The F2A category remains “current” on the Final Action Date chart, however F2A applicants remain barred from obtaining an immigrant visa as a result of Presidential Proclamation 10014 which suspends the entry of this category of immigrants until the end of the year.

Other Categories

Due to the Consular closures and the series of Presidential Proclamations barring issuance of immigrant visas for most family-sponsored categories, the priority dates for family-sponsored preference categories has largely remained the same.


Who is Exempt from the Presidential Proclamations?

  • Spouses and children of US citizens applying at the consulate are not affected
  • Sons and daughters under 21 years old of US citizens applying at the consulate are not affected
  • Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S.
  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and any spouse and child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional
  • Aliens seeking to enter the U.S. to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19
  • Any spouse any unmarried child under 21 years of age of any such alien who is accompanying or following to join the alien
  • Any alien applying for a visa pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
  • Aliens whose entry furthers important United States law enforcement objectives
  • Any alien seeking entry pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, and any spouse and child of any such individual
    • SI: Certain aliens employed by the U.S. Government in Iraq or Afghanistan as translators or interpreters
    • SQ: Certain Iraqis or Afghans employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government
  • Any alien whose entry would be in the national interest of the United States (national interest waivers)
  • Aliens seeking entry for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Final Predictions for the Coming Months

We predict even more rapid movement in the employment-based categories in the coming months. We expect EB-3 to remain current with China and India advancing further. This will create great opportunities for employment-based applicants to obtain their immigrant visas more quickly than ever before once more and more Consulates start resume routine visa services.

On the side of family-based immigration we expect a slower advancement in priority dates as the Presidential Proclamations start to phase out.

There is a possibility for employment-based applicants to downgrade their status from EB-2 to EB-3 to process their applications more quickly. We will be discussing this possibility in later videos.


Questions? If you have immigration questions and would like to schedule a consultation, please call 619-819-9204 or text 619-483-4549. Our toll free number is 866-488-1554.


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