News travels fast, so you may have already heard that the waiting line for the EB2 (advance degree professional) category for India jumped from September 1, 2004, in July to January 1, 2008, for August. This is welcome news as people in this line have been living with uncertainty about their future for many years.
But what does this news mean for you if you are in the EB2 India category?
Mostly good things:
- If you have an I-485 filed from the 2007 “visa-gate” incident*, USCIS can finally bring your case forward for adjudication.
- If you have an approved or pending I-140 with a priority date before January 1, 2008, you may file your adjustment of status (I-485 and related documents) as of August 1 (not before!) through August 31.
- If your spouse or child was prevented from receiving a green card with you because of following-to-join or other situation, he or she can now file the I-485 or have it brought forward for adjudication if it is pending and the priority date is before January 1, 2008.
But, as always, some caution is advised:
- We do not know what the Visa Bulletin will reveal in September. The priority date is set based on supply and demand for visas. If a large number are used in August, it is possible that the date will “retrogress” (move backward). This means that it is critical to make your filings in August (to arrive no earlier than August 1 or later than August 31).
- If you are filing an H-1B three-year extension based on visa unavailability, you will not be able to do so if the visa is now available. You can still file the extension in July, but we do not know if the visa will be available at the time of adjudication. The one-year extension based on a timely PERM or I-140 filing will still be available if applicable.
- While USCIS is typically good at bringing cases forward for adjudication, we have no idea if they will be able to handle this large leap. Options for checking on your case include calling the national customer service center (1-800-375-5283) or making an InfoPass appointment (http://infopass.uscis.gov) for the local district office. Depending on your particular situation, other options may be available.
- We are seeing requests for evidence (RFEs) to prove that the job you currently hold is “substantially similar” to the job approved in the I-140. If you have changed jobs since the I-485 was filed (which is very common given the extremely long waiting lines and the availability of portability to allow for job changes), you should be prepared to respond to this request for evidence promptly to increase your chances for approval of the green card in a timely manner.
* “Visa-gate” was when the Department of State brought priority dates to “current” (no waiting line) in June of 2007. Thousands of applications were filed in the short period of time that the situation persisted. Visa numbers then retrogressed significantly.