I hope to answer the following questions about EB2 to EB3 downgrade and Rapid forward movement from the October 2020 Visa Bulletin.
- How will Visa Numbers be allocated for EB4, EB5, EB1, EB2, and EB3?
- My Priority Date in 2009 – Should I downgrade from EB2 to EB3?
- My Priority Date in 2010 – Should I downgrade from EB2 to EB3?
- My Priority Date in 2011 – Should I downgrade from EB2 to EB3?
- My Priority Date in 2012 – Should I downgrade from EB2 to EB3?
- My Priority Date is in 2013 and later – Should I downgrade from EB2 to EB3?
- What is Rapid Forward Movement mean for EB2 and EB3 from the Visas Bulletin?
I have been answering the same questions from friends repeatedly in the past couple of weeks. I told them that I haven’t looked at the data to give a concrete answer. Now, I have gotten around to that; let’s dig deeper.
Here’s my attempt to help you understand how EB Visa numbers will move and play put in 2020 and 2021.
We will be talking number and doing simple math (additions and subtractions along with percentage) along with assumptions.
Assumptions are for prediction for the upcoming Rapid Forward Movement.
If you are a newbie to this process, I would recommend you to start reading the Green Card Articles series below.
Q1. How Employment Green Cards do US issues per year?
A total of 140,000 Green Card are issued per year for Employment-based Categories that include EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4, and EB5.
Q2. How many EB Green Cards available for FY 2021?
As per the October 2020 Visa Bulletin, 261,500 Employment-Based Green Cards are available (about 121,500 more than the previous years).
Q3. How will the extra visa numbers be allocated or issued (generally)?
The following tables show Annual Numerical Limits for Employment-Based Green Card from FY 2018.
Q4. How are the EB Visa Numbers allocation changing for FY 2021?
We don’t have the data (just like the above table) from the Department of State for FY 2021. But, I’m applying the 28.6 and 7.1% allocation to calculate as follows.
Now, you have the answer to question 1 – How Visa Numbers will be allocated for EB4, EB5, EB1, EB2, and EB3?
If you assumed that additional EB numbers would be given just to EB2 and EB3, sorry to disappoint you!
Q5. How many EB2 and EB3 Indian Nationals are in the backlog?
If USCIS published a pending I-485 inventory, our calculation would be straightforward and simple.
Unfortunately, we data we have is only from July 2018. It doesn’t do any good to predict the expected Rapid Forward Movement.
But, we do have access to approved I-140 data from Nov 2019 and the multiplier factor. Plus, Cato institute has done the backlogs calculations based on that data.
They have combined EB2 and EB3 for a total of 706,097. If it were split, it would be approximately (I know the count is off)
- EB2 India = 568,414
- EB3 India = 139,350
Q6. How does this number help to estimate the backlog and Final Action Data movements?
We have access to two data points today.
- Pending I-485 inventory data from July 2018 (See Here)
- Approved I-140 number per month from 2009 to 2019 (See Here)
By using the approved I-140 data, we can estimate the expected I-485.
Pending I-485 Data for EB2 India
Estimated I-485 for 2010 to 2019
How did I estimate the above data?
- USCIS published Approved I-140 by year from 2009 to 2019
- USCIS gave the Dependents Multiplier (1.0 for EB2 and 1.1 for EB3)
Q7. Should you downgrade from EB2 to EB3?
To answer the above questions, you need to understand the spillover for EB numbers.
Between EB Numbers
- Unused EB4 Goes to EB5
- Unused EB5 goes to EB1
- Unused EB1 goes to EB2
- Unused EB2 goes to EB3
- Unused Rest of the Word within each category will go to Most Backlogged Country.
Case 1: There is no spillover for EB2 India (from EB1)
Assuming there is no spillover from EB1 to EB2 (also, no spillover from EB5 to EB1).
For FY 2021, EB2 will get 74,789 Visa numbers.
Here are the previous year’s number for India (Courtesy of my Friend)
- EB2 India = 2,908
- Total = 40,052
FY 2021: (Case 1)
- Total = 74,798
- Difference = 74,798 – 40,052 = 34,746
- Assumption (China, South Korea, and ROW uses the same numbers as the previous year)
In this case, EB2 Indian National should theoretically get about additional 34,746 additional EB2 Visa Numbers (Yay!).
FY 2021: (Case 2)
- 5235 (China) + 5235 (South Korea) = 10470
- 74789 – 10470 = 64319
- If ROW uses 40,000, then 64319 – 40000 = 24319 for India
In this case, EB2 Indian National should theoretically get about additional 24,746 additional EB2 Visa Numbers (Yay!).
Based on Table 3 and 4 (Pending I-485) for Case 1:
- 2009 = 10,831 (From Table 3)
- 2010 = 30,626 (From Tabel 4)
Usage of Visa Numbers for Case 1:
- For 2009
- 5,235 from Regular 7% (Table 2)
- 5,596 (from 34,746)
- For 2010
- 29,150 is available for use in 2010.
For Case 1: By the end of FY 2021, the Final Action date for EB2 India could move to the end of 2010.
For Case 2: By the end of FY 2021, the Final Action date for EB2 India could move to the Q3 of 2010.
What if there is spillover fro, EB1 to EB2 India?
Case 2: There is a spillover from EB1 to EB2 India
I really don’t think there will be a spillover from EB1 to EB2.
- Estimated EB1 India Backlog = 73,487 (Cato Institue Table)
- Total Expected EB1 Visa Avaiablity = 74,789
If there were any spillover, it would be very minimal (like 1,000).
So, I’m not doing the calculation for EB1 to EB2 Spillover.
But EB1 folks should rejoice. Your Green Card (or EAD) is just months ahead.
Case 3: No Spillover, but EB2 to EB3 Downgrade Creates Movement
This is a real possibility, but very hard to predict how many applicants are downgrading.
You have to do the math and decide based on say 25,000, 50,000 and 75,000 folks downgrading and how the date will move for EB2 based on that.
- If 25,000 = Then the Final Action date could move to Mid 2011
- If 50,000 = Then the Final Action date could move to Q1 of 2012
- If 75,000 = Then the Final Action date could move to Mid 2013
These scenarios will make you contemplate if you have to go for EB2 to EB3 downgrade.
I think if your PD is after Mid 2013 or later – the option, is quite clear.
For folks with a Priority date before Mid-2013, you have a really tough decision to make.
- How badly do you need EAD?
- Why do you need EAD?
- Would you continue to maintain your underlying visa status?
- Are you willing to take the risk of USCIS decisions?
I am talking to attorneys to get a feel for an estimated downgrade number. In meantime, you have to explore and think about downgrading.
Q8. Should I downgrade from EB2 to EB3 for India?
Here’s what I’m thinking:
- 2009 – You don’t have to
- 2010 – Don’t (Date should move by end of FY 2021)
- 2011 – Maybe (Date movement based on Downgrades)
- 2012 – Maybe (Date movement based on Downgrades)
- 2013 – Stretch (Date movement based on Downgrades)
But, don’t take any of my words. Downgrading from EB 2 to EB3 is not something you should decide after reading this analysis. But, talk to your Immigration Attorney and figure out if it makes sense to downgrade for your family’s needs.
I can see one-way the Final Action Date may not go all the way into 2011 if there is a demand from the Rest of the world category. I don’t see that from the numbers. But, I will continue to review these numbers and make updates.
So, what questions do you have for me?