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January 2020 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The January 2020 Visa Bulletin was released earlier today. Disappointingly, EB1 India continues to see no movement, and the prognosis is that there will be little if any forward movement for the foreseeable future. Here at the office, we are preparing contingency plans for all of our EB1 India clients, including exploring other visa options in case they run out of time on their current visas before their priority dates become current. The EB1 India backlog is truly unprecedented, and we will keep our readers informed as we monitor developments closely.

 

Commentary:

 

January 2020

 

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A category priority date remains current, F2B preference remains at a PD of 8 August 2014, F4 category remains at 1 February 2007; EB1 advances 78 days to 1 October 2018; EB2 remains current; and EB3 remains current.

 

For India only: F2A category remains current, F2B preference remains at 8 August 2014, F4 advances 7 days to a PD of 8 November 2004; EB1 remains at a PD of 1 January 2015; EB2 advances 3 days to 18 May 2009; EB3 remains at a PD of 1 January 2009; EB5 Non-Regional Center advances 120 days to a PD of 1 May 2018; EB5 Regional Center is currently unavailable.

 

For China only: EB1 advances 7 days to a PD of 22 May 2017; EB2 advances 9 days to a PD of 1 July 2015; EB3 advances 30 days to a PD of 1 December 2015; EB5 Non-Regional Center advances 7 days to a PD of 22 November 2014; EB5 Regional Center is currently unavailable.

 

For Vietnam only: EB5 Non-Regional Center advances 7 days to a PD of 8 December 2016; EB5 Regional Center is currently unavailable.

 

Can file your immigrant applications if PD before:

 

F2A 1 November 2019; F2B 8 April 2015 for All Areas, except 22 April 1999 for Mexico and 1 October 2009 for Philippines; F4 22 July 2007 for All Areas, except 8 July 2005 for India, 1 January 1999 for Mexico, and 1 November 1999 for Philippines.

 

EB1 Current for all countries, except 1 October 2017 for China and 15 March 2017 for India; EB2 All countries except India and China are current; EB3 1 January 2019 for all countries except India, China, and Philippines; EB2 India remains at 1 July 2009; EB3 India remains at 1 February 2010; EB2 China remains at 1 August 2016; EB3 China remains at 1 March 2017; EB5 China (RC and Non-RC) remains at 15 May 2015; Vietnam is not individually listed and should use the all countries category.

 

Notes from Tahmina:

 

In light of the No-RFE memo as well the NTA memos, it is important that those waiting to receive their green cards maintain their underlying visa status.

 

Notes copied from the Department of State regarding Visa availability:

 

D.  SCHEDULED EXPIRATION OF TWO EMPLOYMENT VISA CATEGORIES

Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution signed on November 21, 2019, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on December 20, 2019. No SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight December 19, 2019. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of December 19, 2019, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight December 19, 2019.

The final action date for this category has been listed as “Unavailable” for January.

If there is legislative action extending this category for FY 2020, the final action date would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would be subject to a July 1, 2016 final action date, and Mexico, which would be subject to an August 8, 2017 final action date.

Employment Fifth Preference Categories (I5 and R5):

Pursuant to the continuing resolution signed on November 21, 2019, the immigrant investor pilot program is extended until December 20, 2019. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on December 20, 2019, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5 or R5 visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after December 20, 2019.

The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories have been listed as “Unavailable” for January.

If there is legislative action extending the categories for FY 2020, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for January for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 22, 2014 final action date; India I5 and R5, which would be subject to a May 1, 2018 final action date; and Vietnam I5 and R5, which would be subject to a December 8, 2016 final action date.

E.  FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

F2A:  In July this category was made “Current” in an effort to generate new demand for use under the annual limit.  Information received during discussions with the National Visa Center indicates that this action has finally begun to have the intended results.  Therefore, it is likely that a final action date will be imposed within the next few months.  This action is unlikely to have any negative impact on those who have already acted on their case in a timely manner prior to the announcement of the January final action dates.

F4:  It had been necessary to advance the “Rest of World” final action date at a very rapid pace in an effort to generate sufficient demand to reach the annual limit throughout the past two fiscal years.  While such movements had produced the desired results with the limit, the level of demand never increased at an equivalent pace.

That pattern has changed in recent months resulting in a dramatic increase in the level of Family-sponsored Fourth preference demand.  This sustained level of demand will require the retrogression of the “Rest of World” final action date, which is likely to occur for February.  Such action would be required in an effort to hold number use within the category’s FY 2020 annual limit.

F.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement) 

Worldwide dates:

F1: Up to six weeks
F2A: Final Action Date established
F2B: Up to three weeks
F3: One to three weeks
F4: Once the retrogression occurs that date is likely to be held for a period of time

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)  

Employment First:

WORLDWIDE: Rapid forward movement expected, potentially becoming Current
China: Up to three weeks
India: Little if any forward movement is expected

Employment Second:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed at some point during the second half of the fiscal year
China: Up to one month
India: Up to one week

Employment Third:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed no later than March
China: Up to six weeks
India: Up to three weeks
Mexico: Will remain at the Worldwide date
Philippines: Up to one month

Employment Third – Other Workers:

Worldwide: A date will most likely be imposed no later than March

Employment Fourth: Current for most countries

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:  Little if any movement through May
India: A date will most likely be imposed no later than July
Mexico: Limited forward movement

Employment Fifth: The category will remain “Current” for most countries

China: It may be possible to advance the date at a slightly faster pace
India: Likely to advance at a very rapid pace until the level of demand increases
Vietnam: Limited forward movement
The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through April or May.  The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.