December 2020 Visa Bulletin: EB-3 India Retrogresses, FB-2A Current

The U.S. State department released its third visa bulletin for FY2021 but the last one this year. While the first two started with a bang and had a lot of forward movement for the employment based categories, December 2020 visa bulletin has slowed it all down.

EB-3 Retrogressed 

EB-3 which was moving ahead with must gusto since October’s visa bulletin release had encouraged many EB-2 petitioners to downgrade to EB-2. This aggressive demand in the EB-3 category, especially among the Indian petitioner groups has unfortunately resulted in a one year retrogression for EB-3 India.

Dates For Filing – India

  • EB-1 Forward by 2 months – Nov 1, 2020
  • EB-2, Remains same – May 15, 2011
  • EB-3 Retrogressed by a year – Jan 1, 2014
  • EB-5 Current

This backward movement is a result of the heavy demand for EB-3. In order to manage the numbers, USCIS ended up limiting the total cases in this category and pushing it back by a year. the chances are this retrogression will continue until the aggressive demand among EB-3 India tapers down a bit. While hundreds of EB-2 petitioners had rushed to downgrade to EB-3 during this golden opportunity, this retrogression will stunt this move significantly and many will take a step back.

Do you want to take advantage of the EB-2 to EB-3 downgrade before the window closes?

Here’s a step by step guide

Family-based 2A Current

The 2A category under family based green cards is applicable to spouse and children of U.S. permanent residents. The December 2020 visa bulletin shows the FB-2A category as being current.  If these eligible dependents including spouses and children under 21 years of age are presently in the U.S. they can now file for I-485 Adjustment of Status (AOS).

Important to Note for FB-2A

  • Status in Dec 2020 Visa Bulletin – Current
  • If in the U.S. right now, file for the I-485 AOS immediately.
  • Not only existing petitioners, but new FB-2A petitions can also be filed at this time.
  • Concurrent filing of Form I-130 and I-485 is possible as long as the FB-2A remains current.
  • Department of State has confirmed that FB-2A will not remain Current for much longer and a cutoff date and a retrogression is expected over the next few months.
  • Lastly, U.S. consular & NVC is attempting to fulfill all formalities of the interview and immigrant visa approvals so it is advisable to complete all applications as soon as possible.

December 2020 Visa Bulletin – How The Year Ended

Outgoing President Trump had some significant restrictions put across all immigration into the U.S. This impacted not only employment based categories but also family based categories faced his brunt.

Travel bans and entry restrictions were imposed and the issuance of certain green cars has been until December 31, 2020. 

Yr. 2020 also marked the Covid pandemic which significantly decapitated world economies, brought travel to a standstill and also restricted any proceedings in the USCIS field offices and U.S consulates abroad. Many have been US consulates closed since March and only process urgent requests until the national emergency is called off.

Not only did limit the number of family-based visas issued by these consulates but also impacted employers who sponsored fewer employment based visas this year. While unused family based visas overflow into the employment based category, and caused a huge forward movement here, the fluctuations across the year were quite tangible.