Wait times for Indian green card applicants in certain employment-based categories advanced significantly following the publication of the October 2020 Visa Bulletin.
The new priority date cutoffs listed by the Department of State and as determined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the October bulletin reduces the wait time for Indian green card applicants to be eligible to file for their green cards in the EB-3 category by five years.
This movement is significant for Indian foreign nationals, who represent the largest group of employment-based green card applicants in the U.S, just ahead of China. Due to the annual cap of 140,000 employment-based green cards per year, applicants in both countries faced backlogs that spanned years or even decades.
The new priority date cut offs will allow many applicants to move forward in the green card process sooner. EB-3 applicants with a priority date before January 01, 2015 may now file Form I-485, the final step in receiving a green card. The previous priority date cutoff was February 01, 2010.
In addition, the cutoff date for EB-2 applicants moved forward by two years, and applicants with a priority date before May 15, 2011 may now file their adjustment of status forms as well. Because the priority date for EB-3 applications moved farther ahead, sponsoring employers may also choose to downgrade to the EB-3 to allow applicants to file sooner.
Filing Form I-485 allows foreign nationals to receive important benefits such as Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) and Advanced Parole (or travel authorization) while they wait for final adjudication of their green cards.
The EB-1 category saw less significant movement, with priority date cutoffs for both Indian and Chinese applicants advanced to before September 1, 2020 from March 1, 2018 and the EB-5 category saw only a small adjustment for Vietnamese nationals.
Green card applicants can check their current wait time by consulting the October Visa Bulletin. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services has announced that it will use the Dates for Filing Chart to determine when applicants may file Form I-485 in October.
Originally published 1 October, 2020
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