November 2021 Visa Bulletin: EB-3 Retrogresses Drastically, What Happens To Your GC Priority Date Now?

The US Department of State released their visa bulletin for November 2021 and it has come in with a big blow to the EB-3 categories across India and China. There is a significant retrogression in EB-3 India and China raising many questions about what is to come of their priority dates going forward. 

EB-3 India Final Action dates will retrogress by two years to January 15, 2012. EB-3 China will retrogress by 9.5 months to March 22, 2018. This is not all – retrogressions will impact Dates for filing as well. For India, the EB-3 Dates for Filing will retrogress to January 22, 2012, and April 1, 2018 for China.

Although this was faintly expected after the fantastic run the third employment based categories had in the last 12 months, the recent increase in the approval rates of adjustment of status applications definitely contributed to this situation for the EB-3 petitioners. 

  • Total EB green cards available in FY 2021 = 262, 000
  • Total EB green cards processed by September 2021 = 74,734
  • Total EB green cards left over = 187,266

The Good News…

The State Department stated that going forward, their intent would be to retrogress only once during the fiscal year and then either hold steady or move forward during the rest of that fiscal year. The agency assured all petitioners that this will not be a trend in the future where they keep having a back and forth of cutoff dates due to retrogressions and move dates ahead after.

Anymore Downgrades From EB-2 To EB-3?

EB-3 India was one of the biggest recipients of the EB advancements according to the August 2021 visa bulletin.

For three consecutive months, India was leading and having major advancements in green card priority dates. Moving forward by at least six months each time in June and August and by 14 months in July, had EB-2 India petitioners running to downgrade from EB-2 to EB-3 immediately.

Starting November 1, 2021, the EB-2 India cut off dates seem more favorable and therefore, the need for them to downgrade will substantially minimize.

Adjustment Of Status – Dates For Filing Chart

Similar to, October 2021 visa bulletin, the next month’s employment-based adjustment of status (AoS) applications will use the Dates for Filing chart. This means that the agency will accept employment based adjustment of status applications that have a priority date earlier than the Dates of Filing noted in the October 2021 visa bulletin.

For most of Q4 FY 2022, USCIS has been using the Final Action dates for AoS applications.

EB-3 India: Can You File Your I-485 In November 2021? Find Out Below

  • EB-1 India is current so all priority dates can file I-485 
  • EB-2 India whose priority dates are before January 8, 2013 can file I-485
  • EB-3 India whose priority dates are before January 22, 2012 can file I-485 
  • EB-5 India is current so all priority dates can file I-485

EB-3 China: Can You File Your I-485 In November 2021? Find Out Below

  • EB-1 China is current so all priority dates can file I-485 
  • EB-2 China whose priority dates are before February 1, 2019
  • EB-3 China whose priority dates are before April 1, 2018
  • EB-5 China whose priority dates are before December 15, 2015

US Travel Ban Lifted – November 8, 2021

The US borders will reopen to all vaccinated travelers headed to the United States. Since the pandemic was announced, US consulates abroad have been practicing lockdowns, social distancing and shelter in place. Due to this they have been operating on limited resources, reduced hours of operation and limited documentation. Applicants should continue to anticipate this processing delays clogged appointment schedules.