January 2021 Visa Bulletin: Employment-based Categories Advance

Petitioners from India and China have something to celebrate in the new year, 2021 as the January visa bulletin indicates some advancements in all employment-based categories. While the Q4 2020 had started with a bang for all employment based categories, and shown major forward movement it tapered down towards the end of 2020. Thanks to the spillover of family based visas into the employment based categories, they had a lot to be thankful for!

The first visa bulletin of the year again comes with some forward movement for the employment based categories for India and China. While EB-1 has had the biggest jump of 5 months, the remaining categories have had some forward push as well. 

The table below shows the advancing dates for both China and India in the January 2021 Visa Bulletin:

EB-1Sept 1, 2019Sept 1, 2019
EB-2Oct 8, 2009Jun 1, 2016
EB-3Mar 22, 2010Dec 15, 2015
EB-5CurrentAug 15, 2015

The above dates can guide petitioners when to submit paperwork for the final step of the green card process, or if already pending, when the final step can be adjudicated. 

Final Action Dates Implemented

January 2021 Visa Bulletin: Employment-based Categories Advance

USCIS also announced that going forward, the agency will honor the State Department’s Final Action Date chart for adjustment of status filings. This will begin only in January. Therefore, all employer-sponsored foreign nationals who have a priority date before the date mentioned in the January 2021 visa bulletin will be eligible to file for an adjustment of status.

USCIS will continue to honor the Dates for Filing Chart until December end.

Important To Know

President Trump’s April 22 proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of certain immigrants will expire on December 31, 2020. The current understanding from the President-elect Joe Biden is that this limitation will not be extended into the new year and US consulates abroad will resume issuing immigrant visas.

This is bound to have some impact on the total number of visas being issued. Stay tuned to this space as we analyze the February 2021 visa bulletin as soon as it is released by the State Department.