October 2020 Visa Bulletin Advances Priority Dates Significantly Allowing Green Card Applications

On October 1, 2020, the new visa bulletin will take effect and it contains significant advances for certain categories of green card applicants. Due to travel bans, many people are unable to enter the US and the pandemic continues to keep embassies and consulates closed. Those in the US remain eligible to adjust status, however.

USCIS decides each month which chart from the visa bulletin that will allow someone to file an application for adjustment of status. There are charts for family and for employment based applications. While family based charts have not advanced significantly, some employment based categories have.

USCIS has stated that for October filings, applicants may use the dates for filing chart rather than the final action date chart. This is a big deal because the dates on the filing chart have advanced by nearly five years in some categories, as well as significant advances in others. Take a look at the dates for filing chart from the October 2020 visa bulletin in the employment based category:

2ndC01OCT16C15MAY11 CC
Other WorkersC01OCT08C01JAN15CC
Religious WorkersCC01FEB18CCC
5th Non-RegionalC15DEC15CCCC
5th RegionalC15DEC15CCCC

What Green Card Categories are Impacted by the October 2020 Visa Bulletin?

Here are some short observations about the primary categories that have advanced significantly in the October 2020 visa bulletin:

  • All employment categories are now current for those filing outside of China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and India
  • EB1 categories for China and India advanced by nearly two years
  • EB2 for India advanced nearly two years
  • EB3 for China advanced a year while EB3 for India advanced nearly five years

USCIS Is Allowing for Adjustment of Status Applicants to Use the “Dates for Filing” Chart for October 2020

Each month, USCIS decides which dates will be used for those filing green card applications. Generally speaking, there must be a visa available to file for adjustment of status. If not, the application will be rejected. Not only have some important categories advanced significantly in the October 2020 visa bulletin, but also USCIS has decided to allow the Dates for Filing chart to be used rather than the much slower Final Action Date.

What Does the October 2020 Visa Bulletin Mean for Green Card Applicants?

The short answer is that many employment based green card applicants are going to be eligible to file as of October 1, 2020. Because people will be eligible to file using the Dates for Filing chart and that chart has made significant advances, many people are going to receive a welcome surprise and become eligible to file green card applications. This can have other benefits for employment based workers, and applicants are encouraged to consult with an attorney to determine what are the best options for them and their families.