According to the State Department’s October Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will be as follows:
- EB-1: All countries except for China and India will remain current in October. China and India will advance by three months to June 1, 2018.
- EB-2: China will advance by six weeks to March 1, 2016, while India will advance almost two months to September 1, 2009. All other countries will remain current.
- EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: All countries except India and China will become current in October. Cutoff dates for China will advance four and a half months to July 1, 2017, and for India will advance three and a half months to January 15, 2010.
USCIS announced that it will be accepting petitions in October 2020 based on the Filing Date. The October Dates for Filing chart shows significant advancement in most employment-based categories.
Significant increase in employment-based immigrant visa quota for FY 2021
The State Department has concluded its calculations of the employment-based immigrant visa annual limit for FY 2021, which is anticipated to be 261,500, an all-time high. The FY 2020 employment-based preference limit is 156,253 immigrant visas, still the second-highest employment-based allocation in recent memory, with the highest being 158,000.
A slowdown in family-based immigrant visa processing in FY 2020 due to the COVID emergency, reduced consular operations, and the April 23 immigrant visa ban have contributed to the much higher employment-based limit in FY 2021. Current demand for visa numbers is well below the estimated annual limit of 261,500, according to the State Department. As a result, advancements in many employment-based categories are anticipated in the coming months, as detailed below.
Employment-based immigrant visa availability through January 2021
In the October Bulletin, the State Department provides projections for immigrant visa availability through January 2021. The Department predicts the following potential monthly cut-off date movements:
- EB-1: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
- EB-2: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
- EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
Impact of Presidential Proclamation
President Trump’s April 22 proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of certain immigrants will remain in place through December 31, 2020. The proclamation continues to limit the issuance of immigrant visas by U.S. consulates abroad.