October 2021 Visa Bulletin: New Year, New Priority Dates

Posted on September 15, 2021
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October 2021 visa bulletin

October marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for USCIS. USCIS released the October 2021 visa bulletin and made new strides in its announcements for next month. New priority dates, further retrogression for some while unchanged cut-off dates for most employment based categories are part of the October 2021 visa bulletin. Let us analyze the changes, new expectations set forth and predictions for the remaining months this year. 

Adjustment Of Status – Dates For Filing Chart

First and foremost, October 2021 visa bulletin started the year by announcing that it will use the Dates for Filing chart to accept employment-based adjustment of status (AoS) applications. 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.

This time, EB-3 Dates for Filing cutoffs for India and China are one week later than the categories’ corresponding Final Action Dates for September and October. This expands the adjustment eligibility in October.

This is a normal practice with USCIS that prefers to begin the new year by applying the dates in the Filing chart for AoS applications. Going back almost four to five months, USCIS has been using the Final Action dates for AoS applications.

Dates For Filing

The biggest changes within the Dates for Filing chart apply to EB-2 and EB-3 India and EB-3 China. The rest remain the same as September 2021’s visa bulletin for all other categories. It’s a mixed bag for India wherein EB-2 India advances by more than seven months to July 8, 2012, and EB-3 India retrogresses by more than two months to January 8, 2014. EB-3 China, also retrogresses by more than five months to January 15, 2019.  

The Good News

For both India and China, EB-3 Dates for Filing cutoffs are one week later than the categories’ corresponding Final Action Dates for September and October. This allows for a slightly expanded adjustment eligibility in October.

Meaning: Because USCIS will use the Dates for Filing chart in October 2021, EB-2 Indian applicants can file adjustment of status applications with priority dates before July 8, 2012. EB-2 China applicants can file adjustment of status applications for priority dates before September 1, 2018.

Dates For Filing Cutoff Dates – October 2021 Visa Bulletin

  • EB-1: Current
  • EB-2: India: July 8, 2012; China: September 1, 2018
  • EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: India: January 8, 2014; China: January 15, 2019
  • EB-5 Non-Regional: India: Current; China: December 15, 2015
  • EB-5 Regional: Unavailable/Expired program

Final Action Dates Chart – October 2021 Visa Bulletin

In the October 2021 visa bulletin, the final action dates to issue employment-based visas are below:

  • EB-1: Current
  • EB-2: China is at July 1, 2018, and India at September 1, 2011. All other countries remain current. 
  • EB-3 Professional and Skilled Workers: India remains at January 1, 2014 and China stayed at January 8, 2019. Please see Dates for Filing chart to see how AoS works for India and China.
  • EB-5 Non-Regional: China remains on November 22, 2015. India is current.
  • EB-5 Regional Center program: Expired, as of June 30, 2021.

Green Card Predictions For Until January 2022

Given that the October 2021 Visa Bulletin is the first one for the fiscal year 2022, the State Department makes a couple of predictions for how the priority dates will impact immigrant visa availability until January 2022. 

Prediction #1: Potential retrogression for EB-3 India and EB-3 China;

Prediction #2: All EB-1 applicants become current;

Prediction #3: EB-2 India will advance by several months

Prediction #4: EB-3 India might retrogress by November 2021

Prediction #5: EB-5 applicants will become current 

Prediction #6: The agency may use the Final Action Date cutoffs in the coming months

Stay tuned to this space as we continue to see the changes in priority dates over the coming month for all green card categories.

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