Are Employment Based Visas Turning a New Leaf: March 2020 Visa Bulletin Analyzed

USCIS just released the March 2020 visa bulletin and it looks like the beginning of a (hopefully) positive trend for employment based (EB) visas. EB-1, Eb-2 and EB-5 have all advanced between three days to six months ahead. EB-3, however, retrogressed and like predicted from data in the February 2020 visa bulletin, it is expected to continue in this state of retrogression for the next couple of months without any change. All categories under family and employment based preferences are advised to use the Dates for Filing. See Table below.

EB-1March 15, 2017October 1, 2017
EB-2July 1, 2009August 1, 2016
EB-3February 1, 2010August1, 2008
EB-5CurrentDecember 15, 2015

EB-3 Worldwide Retrogression

EB-3 has continued to grow in demand. In order to keep the processing schedules in check the cut-off dates for ROW besides India and China has been retrogressed to January 1, 2017 with immediate effect. Adjustment of Status applications will continue unhindered until USCIS says otherwise. EB-3 for India and China have advanced to January 15, 2009 and March 22, 2016 respectively.

EB-5: Big Step Forward

EB-5 China saw the biggest forward movement with an advancement all the way up to May 15, 2015. EB-5 India advanced as well – seven weeks to October 22, 2018. ROW remains current. While EB-5 has a growing demand compare to other employment based visas, it doesn’t always reflect full capacity to meet the total number of visas available in each fiscal year. China is a case in point. Although the current scare of the Coronavirus has affected China as a whole, the number of EB-5 petitions filed continue to rise. However, there aren’t enough applicants to meet the total numbers in each year. By advancing the cut-off dates for EB-5 China, USCIS hopes to create more demand in this category.

February 2020March 2020
IndiaSeptember 1, 2018October 22, 2018
ChinaDecember 1, 2014May 15, 2015

Good to Know

To follow the above analysis, please keep in mind that priority date means that the immigrant visas will be available to individuals whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date for filing.

For employment-based categories, an applicant’s priority date is the date of PERM application or Form I-140 submission, whichever is applicable.

For family-based categories, an applicant’s priority date is the date of the Form I-130 submission.

If priority dates are unavailable in the visa bulletin, applicants cannot apply for a green card in that category.

If you are want to run a comparison between visa bulletins and the changes to your own application dates, be it for retrogression or filing dates, subscribe to Green Card Dashboard.