The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the November 2021 Visa Bulletin.1 The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also confirmed that it will accept employment-based Form I-485, Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, next month according to the Visa Bulletin’s “Dates of Filing” chart.2  

The DOS continues to use its “Charts with Charlie” on YouTube to discuss the monthly Visa Bulletin. 3 Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the DOS Visa Control and Reporting Division, has historically made predictions about movement in priority date cut-offs. On October 26, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, Mr. Oppenheim will host his final live chat to discuss the November Visa Bulletin. While this will be Charlie Oppenheim’s last chat before his retirement, DOS has advised that @TravelGov – the YouTube channel that streams these chats – will continue to host chats on consular-related issues.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Each month, the DOS releases a Visa Bulletin indicating the availability of statutorily limited visas for prospective immigrants.4 The cut-off dates reflected in the Visa Bulletin, coupled with USCIS’ confirmation of which chart will apply, dictate eligibility to file a Form I-485 application in a given month. In addition, the Final Action Dates chart in the applicable Visa Bulletin determines whether a pending Form I-485 or immigrant visa application may be approved.

Charlie Oppenheim’s live chats are an excellent opportunity for visa applicants and employers to ask general questions about the Visa Bulletin and anticipated movement in each preference category. Questions can be emailed to VisaBulletin@state.gov ahead of the event with “Chat with Charlie Question” in the subject line. Questions will also be taken via the YouTube Live Chat and will be answered in real-time. 

Employment-Based Preference Category Cut-Off Dates

The cut-off dates on the employment-based Final Action Dates chart in the November 2021 Visa Bulletin reflect retrogression in the EB-3 categories for the People’s Republic of China (“China”) and India. According to the DOS, this is a direct result of extraordinarily heavy applicant demand for immigrant numbers, primarily by USCIS offices for Adjustment of Status cases. The Final Action Dates are as follows:

EB-1: All countries of chargeability will remain current.

EB-2: All countries of chargeability except India and China will remain current. China’s cut-off date will progress to November 15, 2018, and India’s cut-off date will progress to December 1, 2011.

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: All countries of chargeability except India and China will remain current. China’s cut-off date will retrogress to March 22, 2018, and India’s cut-off date will retrogress to January 15, 2012.

EB-3 Other Workers: All countries of chargeability except India and China will remain current. China’s cut-off date will progress to March 1, 2010, and India’s cut-off date will retrogress to January 15, 2012.

EB-4: The cut-off date for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will remain at March 15, 2019. Mexico’s cut-off date will progress to April 1, 2020. All other countries of chargeability will continue to be current in November.

EB-5: The Non-Regional Center program will be current for all countries except China. China’s cut-off date will remain at November 22, 2015. The Regional Center program has expired. If the Regional Center program is reauthorized next month, then the cut-off dates will mirror those of the Non-Regional Center program.

The cut-off dates per the Dates for Filing chart in the November 2021 Visa Bulletin are below.

EB-1: All countries of chargeability will be current.

EB-2: All countries of chargeability except India and China will be current. China’s cut-off date will progress to February 1, 2019, and India’s cut-off date will progress to January 8, 2013.

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: All countries of chargeability except India and China will be current. China’s cut-off date will retrogress to April 1, 2018, and India’s cut-off date will retrogress to January 22, 2012.

EB-3 Other Workers: All countries of chargeability except India and China will remain current. China’s cut-off date will be  May 1, 2010, and India’s cut-off date will retrogress to January 22, 2012.

EB-4: The cut-off date for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will be May 15, 2019. All other countries of chargeability will be current in November.

EB-5: The category will be current for all countries except China. China’s cut-off date will be December 15, 2015. 

FOOTNOTES

1  U.S. Department of State website.

2  See the “Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin” page on the USCIS website.

3  See https://www.youtube.com/user/TravelGov .

4  For our prior coverage of the October 2021 Visa Bulletin, read GMS Flash Alert 2021-238 (September 16, 2021).

* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Canada.

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