H1B/L1 Visa Holders Will Get Green Card Faster, Queque Reduced By 5 Years (Explained)

The wait-time for green card applicants' queue has reduced due to changes in the latest Visa Bulletin released for October 2020.
The wait-time for green card applicants’ queue has reduced due to changes in the latest Visa Bulletin released for October 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had several implications on every sector of the market.

Now, speaking of the immigration sector, there has been some activities we thought of filling in you upon.

The wait time for the excruciatingly long queue for green cards in the US has seemingly reduced now, post the release of the October Visa Bulletin.

Highlighting two major changes in the application process of green card visas for legal immigrants in the U.S., our article today will shed detailed insights on a supposed wait time reduction in becoming a permanent US resident.


Understanding Employment Based (EB) Visas

The US immigration offers 5 different types of employment based visas:

  • EB-1 Green Card for Priority Workers
  • EB-2 Green Card for Advanced Degrees
  • EB-3 Green Card for Professional and Skilled Workers
  • EB-4 Green Card for Religious Workers and Special Immigrants, and 
  • EB-5 Green Card for Investors

The latest visa bulletin holds changes in wait times for EB-3 green card applicants.

Changes in the New Visa Bulletin

Visa Bulletin is a publication released every month by the US Department of State, which provides an updated waiting list for visa immigrants.

You can check out the latest visa bulletin here.

There are two major changes documented in the new visa bulletin released.

First Change

The eligible H-1B (for foreign workers in specialty occupations) and L-1 (for specialized knowledge workers, like business owners) visa holders with a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers approved before January 1, 2015 can now file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status.

  • An approved Form I-140 means the petitioner’s employment-based immigrant visa is approved by the USCIS.
  • This gives him/her obtain H-1B extensions beyond 6 years (at maximum), change the employer and obtain an EAD.
  • An EAD, or Employment Authorization Document is a work permit issued by the USCIS to a non-citizen of the US, authorizing him/her with a temporary employment status.
  • Lastly, Form I-485 is filed to apply for a green card in the US.

So, once the Form I-485 of these applicants gets approved, they can apply for an EAD.

As mentioned by an immigration attorney, “This is going to provide long-awaited relief to countless Indians, especially those with I-140s approved in the EB3 category.”

Second Change

The wait time for green card queue will reduce, especially for EB-2 and EB-3 green card applicants.

This is because the US President Donald Trump had passed an executive order on April 22, as per which green card processings for  immigrants outside of the US was halted (banned), to control the spread of Covid-19 in the US.

This created about 226,000 unused family-based visas, which were a part of the EB visa pool, thus speeding up the queue of over 7 lakh pending green card processings for Indians.

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