On Sept. 24, 2020, The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the October 2020 Visa Bulletin, the first of the new government fiscal year (FY 2021). Often the month of the most anticipated visa bulletin, October marks the reset of the number of green cards authorized to be issued annually and by category for employment-based cases. Thus far in 2020, many of the employment-based categories have been current with an excess number of green cards available, while the categories for applicants born in China and India have remained oversubscribed.

The visa bulletin contains two charts – the “Final Action Dates” and the “Dates for Filing.”  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) dictates which chart to follow each month for the filing of adjustment of status (AOS) applications, a process available to eligible green card applicants inside of the United States.  Green card applicants abroad must always use the Final Action Dates chart.

USCIS announced that it would follow the Dates for Filing chart for accepting employment-based AOS applications for October, thus effectuating significant advancement for filing eligibility for applicants in many categories. The dates for filing for October 2020 are considerably ahead of those listed in the previous month’s visa bulletin in both charts. Furthermore, while the final action dates were determinative in September 2020, the switch to the filing dates for October 2020 in itself enables a greater number of applications to be filed.

The most notable takeaways for employment-based AOS filing eligibility for October 2020 include the following:

  • EB-1 India and China – September 1, 2020
  • EB-3 China- June 1, 2018 (and EB-2 China- October 1, 2016)
  • EB-3 India- January 1, 2015 (and EB-2 India- May 15, 2011)
  • All categories are current for “All Other”, Mexico, and the Philippines

October 2020 Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Preference Cases:

For Family-Sponsored cases, in all categories except F2A, applicants must follow the specifically designated Dates for Filing chart.  These dates remain the same as last month.