July 29, 2016

Why Must Some EB-2 Applicants Now Wait Longer to Get Their Green Cards?

To the surprise of many, the EB-2 green card category is no longer “current” for anyone. This means some applicants must wait before applying for adjustment of status, the final phase of the green card process. It also means some with pending adjustment of status applications will have to wait longer for approval than before.

Starting on August 1, 2016, all EB-2 applicants in the “worldwide” category, meaning those born in any other country other than India, China, Mexico, or Philippines, will not be able to obtain an immigrant visa or adjust status unless their I-140 petition or labor certification application was filed before February 1, 2014. Nationals from India, China, and Philippines have the same long queue as usual.

Here’s what you should know if you fall in the worldwide category and have applied or plan to apply for an EB-2 green card:

  • You can submit your I-140 petition at any time.  The visa bulletin only controls when you can file your I-485 adjustment of status application and when it can be approved.
  • If your labor certification application or I-140 petition was filed before February 1, 2014, you can apply for adjustment of status even in August.
  • If your I-140 is approved and you have applied for adjustment of status, your I-485 will remain in process and cannot be approved until your priority date becomes current. Continue to check the visa bulletin’s final action chart to determine if your priority date is current.
  • If you are near your 6th year of your H-1B visa, your EB-2 I-140 is approved, and your priority date is February 1, 2014 or later, then you might be eligible for a three year extension.
  • You might be able to apply for the EB-3 category, which has a cutoff date of March 15, 2016. If you file a new I-140 in the EB-3 category based upon your approved labor certification, you can apply for adjustment of status too if your priority date (based on labor certification) is earlier than March 15, 2016. Your EB-2 approval remains valid.
  • Each fiscal year, a new allocation of 140,000 employment based visas become available. So the good news is that the EB-2 worldwide category will probably become current again this October.

As you can see, Immigration law changes frequently. This article is intended to help you understand basic issues involved in the immigration process, and are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. This information is not offered as, nor does it constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely upon the information in these pages without seeking the advice of an attorney.

For legal advice for your specific situation, schedule your immigration strategy session with me.