Welcome back to Visalawyerblog! In this blog post, we will cover the release of the September Visa Bulletin 2021 and what you can expect for employment based and family preference categories during the month of September 2021.
The Department of State releases the visa bulletin on a monthly basis, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month. The “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” charts indicate when immigrant visa applicants should be notified to assemble and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center.
If you would like to follow along on each month’s progress for the Visa Bulletin please be on the lookout for the next “Chats with Charlie” on the DOS YouTube Channel, which will take place on August 19, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Chats with Charlie is a monthly series recently launched by the State Department where Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control & Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, answers your frequently asked questions regarding each month’s Visa Bulletin. Questions can be emailed to VisaBulletin@state.gov ahead of the event with “Chat with Charlie Question” in the subject line.
Adjustment of Status Filings for those lawfully residing in the United States
Unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo, individuals seeking to file applications for adjustment of status with USCIS must use the “Final Action Dates” charts to determine when they can file such applications. When USCIS determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants for such visas, USCIS will state on its website www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo that applicants may instead use the “Dates for Filing Visa Applications” charts in this Bulletin.
Adjustment of Status Filing Chart September 2021
For Family-Sponsored Filings:
Pursuant to guidance released by USCIS, in the F2A category, there is a cutoff date on the Dates for Filing chart. However, the category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart. This means that applicants in the F2A category only may file using the Final Action Dates Chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for September 2021.
For all other family-sponsored preference categories, applicants must use the Dates for Filing Chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for September 2021.
For Employment-Based Preference Filings:
All applicants falling under employment-based preference categories, must use the Final Action Dates chart in the Department of State Visa Bulletin for September 2021.
September 2021 Visa Bulletin Cutoff Dates
Employment Based Categories
According to the Department of State’s September 2021 Visa Bulletin, the following cutoff dates will apply for the issuance of an immigrant visa for employment-based categories:
- EB-1: All countries, including China and India, will remain current.
- EB-2: China will advance by three months to July 1, 2018, and India will advance by three months to September 1, 2011. All other countries will remain current.
- EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: Cutoff dates for China will remain the same at January 8, 2019, while India will advance six months to January 1, 2014. All other countries will remain current.
- EB-5: The Non-Regional Center program will be current for all countries except China. China will advance by one week to November 22, 2015. The Regional Center program has expired and is listed as unavailable in the Visa Bulletin. If reauthorized, the Regional Center program will mirror the Non-Regional Center final action dates.
Immigrant Visa Numerical Limitations
As Fiscal Year 2021 nears its end on September 30, the State Department has provided the immigrant visa numerical limitations for the fiscal year. The FY 2021 Worldwide Employment-based preference limit is 262,288. The FY 2020 employment-based limit was 156,253 immigrant visas. The increase in FY 2021 is owed to a number of factors including Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) guidelines regarding immigrant visa limits and usage, the slowdown of family-based immigrant visa processing since FY 2020, and the impact of COVID on green card processing at both the State Department and USCIS level. Based on current agency processing rates, there is likely to be a large number of unused immigrant visa numbers this fiscal year. USCIS will attempt to process as many adjustment of status green card applications as possible in the final weeks of FY 2021 to reduce the number of unused immigrant visa numbers.
The State Department has predicted in several public forums that the FY 2022 employment-based immigrant visa limit will be even higher, likely at least 290,000 employment-based immigrant visas. However, to make use of those additional numbers, green card case processing will need to increase at U.S. consular posts and USCIS.
Family Sponsored Categories
According to the Department of State’s September 2021 Visa Bulletin, the following cutoff dates will apply for the issuance of an immigrant visa for family-sponsored categories:
FINAL ACTION DATES FOR FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCE CASES
Impact of President Biden’s Rescission of Proclamation 10014 on the Issuance of Immigrant Visas
In February of this year, President Biden made the decision to rescind Presidential Proclamation 10014 and lift the temporary suspension on the issuance of visas for most immigrant and nonimmigrant visa categories, however the operational capacity at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide remains limited due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
The Department of State has said that while some Embassies are prioritizing immigrant visa scheduling for spouses of U.S. Citizens, public health and safety concerns remain paramount. Moreover, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are facing substantial backlogs due to the suspension of most visa operations.
Applicants who were previously subject to the immigrant visa ban under Proclamation 10014 may continue with pre-processing of their applications, however their cases will not be scheduled for an interview until Embassies and Consulates return to routine operational capacity. This will likely take time therefore applicants should expect long delays. Those who were previously refused under the Immigrant Visa ban must wait for further instruction from the U.S. Consulate handling their application.
The Expiration of the EB-5 Regional Center Program
The EB-5 Regional Center program expired on June 30, 2021, and is therefore listed as “unavailable” in the September 2021 Visa Bulletin. Absent legislative action in Congress to reauthorize the program, immigrant visa issuance and adjustment of status adjudications under this category will be halted as of the close of business on June 30, 2021. Bills to reauthorize the Regional Center program are still pending in Congress, and we do not yet know what the outcome of this legislation will be. All updates on approved legislation will be provided right here on our blog. Discussions to resuscitate the program remain ongoing before Congress.
For the latest information on the status of the EB-5 Regional Center program please click here.
As a reminder EB-5 applications that were not submitted as part of the Regional Center program remain unaffected.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
- September 2021 Visa Bulletin
- Adjustment of Status Filing Dates from Visa Bulletin
- Blog Post: Rescission of P.P. 10014
- Blog Post: What is happening with the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
- Immigrant Visa Backlog Report
- DOS Youtube Channel
- DOS Visa Services Operating Status Update
- ImmigrationU Membership
- Success stories
- Youtube channel
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