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November Visa Bulletin: What’s New, Who May Proceed with Immigrant Visas, and More!

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Welcome back to Visalawerblog! In this post, we discuss the newly released visa bulletin for November 2020 which outlines the availability of immigrant visa numbers for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories.

Impact of April 22nd Presidential Proclamation

As a preliminary matter, we would like to remind our readers that presidential proclamation 10014 signed into law on April 22, 2020, temporarily suspends the entry and issuance of immigrant visas at U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide for the following types of immigrants until December 31, 2020.

*Note: Applicants residing in the United States are unaffected by P.P. 10014 and may apply for adjustment of status with USCIS provided their priority date is current on the visa bulletin.

  • Spouses and children of green card holders (US citizens are not affected) applying at the consulate
  • Parents of US citizens applying at the consulate
  • Brothers and sisters of US citizens applying at the consulate
  • Sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of US citizens applying at the consulate (children under 21 years of age of US citizens are not affected)
  • Sons and daughters (over 21 years of age) of green card holders applying at the consulate
  • EB1A extraordinary abilities and their family applying at the consulate
  • PERM EB2 employment based (NIW is not affected) and their family applying at the consulate
  • PERM EB3 employment based and their family applying at the consulate
  • EB4 religious workers immigrants applying at the consulate

Unfortunately, this proclamation applies to the majority of family-sponsored preference categories which means that U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide will not issue visas to these individuals until the visa ban is lifted after December 31, 2020.

It is possible that President Trump may choose to extend the proclamation beyond December 31, 2020 if he finds it necessary. However it is unlikely to remain in effect after Joe Biden becomes President on January 20, 2021.


Suspension of Routine Visa Services Continues

As an additional note, although spouses and minor children of U.S. Citizens applying for immigrant visas at the Consulate are not impacted by P.P. 10014, the majority of Consulates and Embassies nationwide have suspended routine visa services until further notice. Applicants with emergencies or urgent travel needs may request expedited visa processing with the National Visa Center. We strongly encourage applicants to obtain legal assistance to help expedite visa interviews where the applicant can demonstrate extreme hardship to the U.S. Citizen relative.


Other Visa Bans May Apply 

Certain immigrant visa applicants who are not impacted by P.P. 10014, may still be impacted by other presidential proclamations restricting visa issuance and travel to the United States.

For instance, beginning January 2020 the President issues a series of Coronavirus proclamations, which similarly restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, of immigrants and nonimmigrants, who were physically present within the Schengen Area, Brazil, China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iran, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

Accordingly, U.S. Consulates and Embassies may not issue visas to this class of individuals unless they qualify for a national interest exception (see below).

For a complete list of COVID-19 country-specific proclamations click here.


Are there exceptions for those impacted by the P.P. 10014 or Coronavirus proclamations?

Yes, applicants who meet the criteria of a “national interest exception,” may proceed with the immigrant visa process despite the enforcement of presidential proclamation 10014 and the Coronavirus proclamations.

One may receive a National Interest Exception:

(1) as a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to continue ongoing research in an area with substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or disease research);  OR

(2) to provide care for a U.S. citizen, including alleviating the burden of care from a medical or other institution, or to prevent a U.S. citizen from becoming a public charge or ward of the state or the ward of a medical or other institution; OR

(3) to join an active military member petitioner in the U.S.

If you would like to discuss whether you meet this criteria please contact us for a consultation at 619-819-9204.


Employment-Based Visa Categories

As stated above, the following categories of immigrants applying for visas at the U.S. Consulate abroad are impacted by P.P. 10014 and may not obtain visas until after December 31, 2020, assuming the proclamation is not extended:

  • EB1A extraordinary abilities and their family applying at the consulate
  • PERM EB2 employment based (NIW is not affected) and their family applying at the consulate
  • PERM EB3 employment based and their family applying at the consulate
  • EB4 religious workers immigrants applying at the consulate

Employment Based Final Action Cut Off Dates

This month’s visa bulletin prescribes the following final action cutoff dates for issuance of employment-based immigrant visas to those not impacted by the presidential proclamations. Those residing in the United States are not impacted by the presidential proclamations.

  • EB-1: All countries except for China and India will remain current in November. China and India will advance by six months to December 1, 2018.
  • EB-2: China will advance by just over seven weeks to April 22, 2016, while India will advance by three weeks to September 22, 2009. All other countries will remain current.
  • EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: Cutoff dates for China will advance four months to October 1, 2017, and for India will advance one and a half months to March 1, 2010.  All countries will remain current in November.
  • EB-5: Regional and non-Regional Center Programs will remain current for all countries except China and Vietnam.  China will remain at August 15, 2015, while Vietnam will advance by two weeks to August 15, 2017.

Final Action Cut Off Dates at a Glance

EB-1

China: December 1, 2018

India: December 1, 2018

All other countries: Current

EB-2

China: April 22, 2016

India: September 22, 2009

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

China: October 1, 2017

India: March 1, 2010

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers

China: January 1, 2009

India: March 1, 2010

All other countries: Current

EB-4

El Salvador, Guatemala Honduras: November 1, 2017

Mexico: October 15, 2018

All other countries: Current

EB-5

China: August 15, 2015

Vietnam: August 15, 2017

All other countries: Current


Dates for Filing cut-off dates

EB-1

China: September 1, 2020

India: September 1, 2020

All other countries: Current

EB-2

China: October 1, 2016

India: May 15, 2011

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers

China: June 1, 2018

India: January 1, 2015

All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers

China: May 1, 2009

India: January 1, 2015

All other countries: Current

EB-4

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: February 1, 2018

All other countries: Current

EB-5

China: December 15, 2015

All other countries: Current


Adjustment of Status Charts for those residing in the U.S.

For Employment-Based Preference Filings:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will honor the State Department’s Dates for Filing chart for adjustment of status filings in November. To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment application in November, employment-sponsored foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country.

For Family-Sponsored Filings:

Applicants in the F2A category may file using the Final Action Dates chart for November 2020.

Applicants in all other family-sponsored preference categories, must use the Dates for Filing chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for November 2020 for those not impacted by the proclamation.


Need further information? Check out these helpful links below.

Helpful Links


Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text or call 619-569-1768. We would be happy to help you.


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