September 28, 2020
Dear Valued Clients:
Last week, the long-awaited October Visa Bulletin was released showing significant forward movement. Notably, the EB-3 “All Chargeability” category will become current for both Chart A, “Final Action Dates” and Chart B “Dates for Filing”. Additionally, EB-1, EB-2, preference categories for those born in India advanced significantly by at least 2 years under Chart B. The EB-3 preference category advances nearly 5 years under Chart B with February 1, 2010 priority dates in the September 2020 Visa Bulletin to January 1, 2015 for October 2020. However, this jump may appear better on paper than in application.
Chart A, “Final Action Dates” shows which priority dates are ready for processing by the United States Citizenship and Services (USCIS). Chart B, “Dates for Filing” shows which applicants may begin filing their adjustment of status documents based upon their priority date. Falling within the priority dates of Chart B does not speed up processing of the foreign national’s adjustment of status application. It merely means that one can begin the filing the necessary adjustment of status documents to queue up for Chart A “Final Action Dates”.
Moreover, keep in mind, the Visa Bulletin is released by the Department of State (DOS) each month not USCIS, the government entity that processes visa applications. Each month USCIS announces on its website whether they will accept the “Final Action Dates” and the “Dates for Filing” charts of the given month. If USCIS determines there are more immigrant visas available for a fiscal year than known applicants for a given visa, they will announce acceptance of the “Dates for Filing” under Chart B, otherwise, USCIS will announce that applicants must use Chart A “Final Action Dates” to determine when they can file for adjust of status. In essence, Chart B is ultimately meaningless until USCIS announces acceptance of the priority dates.
The large forward movement in Chart B, most notably for those born in India under EB-3, will likely cause a large number of applicants to consider “downgrading” their EB-2 applications to an EB-3 to fall within the Chart B priority dates. It is imperative to speak with the attorneys at Meyer Law Group at depth when considering downgrading an immigrant visa application as you run the risk of being left with a more favorable Chart A priority date under your original filing, due to the unpredictability of the visa bulletin. In such cases, it would have been better to stick to the original filing than opting to downgrade.
One must also keep in mind that the forward movement we are witnessing in the October 2020 Visa Bulletin come in the midst of a global pandemic, where office have been closed for months and processes like biometrics have come to a halt. USCIS field offices and biometrics appointments are now opening back up. Once things begin to normalize, we can anticipate a return to more predicable movement in the visa bulletin which could end up hurting you once your priority date under Chart A becomes current.
Downgrading does have its advantages including allowing applicants to maintain their status, providing employment authorization (EAD) and adjustment of status portability, hiring a candidate already in the green card process without the expense of new sponsorship. However, in the end, the foreign national runs the risk of extending their processing times rather than cutting it, depending on how “Final Action Dates” fall under Chart A.
In summary, being at the front of the line in Chart B does not translate into a quicker processing time. After USCIS accepts the Chart B, Filing Dates, applicants may file their adjustment of status documents but must still wait for their priority date to become current under Chart A. This process can still take years!
While the forward movement of priority dates in the October 2020 Visa Bulletin is undoubtedly good news, applicants should view the Visa Bulletin with a grain of salt. The forward advancement in Chart B is somewhat misleading and subsequent steps toward adjustment of status should be taken with that in mind.
Meyer Law Group is committed to assisting their clients make the best decisions under the circumstance. Please contact Meyer Law Group if you have any questions or concerns regarding your priority date and the October 2020 Visa Bulletin.