February 2021 Visa Bulletin Releases With Little Movement
The State department released the visa bulletin for February 2021, two days after President Biden took charge at the Oval office. While the US immigration landscape is starting to look better and better with the proposal for an 8-year citizenship path for eligible undocumented immigrants, the future game-plan for legal non-immigrant visa holders still maintains status quo.
With no significant forward movement in any of the employment-based visa categories, the priority dates remain within the same scope as last month’s visa bulletin dates. Let us take a look at the current Final Action cut-off dates for employment based visas according to the Feb 2021 visa bulletin.
- EB-1: India and China advance to Jan 1, 2020.
- EB-2: India moves to Oct 12, 2009 while China advances by 2 weeks to June 15, 2016
- EB-3: India moves forward to April 1, 2010 and China to Jan 1, 2018
- EB-4: India and China remain current
- EB-5*: India remains current while China says at Aug 15, 2015
*The Regional and Non-Regional Center programs will remain current for all countries
Adjustment Of Status Filings
USCIS continues to honor the Final Action Date chart for adjustment of status filings according to the February visa bulletin. This would be a continuation from January 2021 when Final Action Dates were announced by the State department. Most of 2020, USCIS had opted for the Dates for Filing chart to honor the adjustment of status petitions.
To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment of status next month, the visa holder should have a priority date earlier than the date listed above. Cut-off dates for India and China, the majority countries with employment based visas is listed above.
What To Expect Next
Outgoing President Trump had extended the entry ban for certain categories of immigrants from outside the U.S. until March 31, 2021. While President Biden has said that any proposals that haven’t gone into effect by Jan 20, 2021 should be stalled for 60 days, it is still undecided if the entry ban will be lifted. This was announced in April 2020 and was valid until Dec 2020, and then was extended to March 2021.
The unused visas might spillover to employment based categories. However, the effect will be accessible only by Fall 2021.
New Changes To Non-immigrant Visas & US Green Card
- DHS Proceeds With Wage Based H1-B Lottery
- Premium Processing Fees Hiked
- Specialty Occupation Redefined
- Third Party Site Placements
- Option Of B1 In Lieu Of H1 Rescinded
- US Citizenship Test Made Harder
- USCIS Relaxes Employment Verification For H4 EAD Job Seekers
- Senate Passes Act To Eliminate Per Country Cap For Green Cards
Predictions For March 2021 Visa Bulletin
EB-1: India and China might have substantial move forward
EB-2: India and China can expect similar advances like that of Feb visa bulletin
EB-3: India and China can expect similar advances like that of Feb visa bulletin
EB-4: India and China remain current
EB-5: India remains current while China has no movement at all
Is March 2021 going to show similar results? Stay tuned to this space to know the cut-off dates as soon as the State Department releases it visa bulletin for March 2021.