USCIS has finally announced and shared the words that Indian and Chinese high-skilled workers were dying to hear from Oct 1, 2020.
USCIS has graciously said they are making all possible efforts to avoid the Green card number wastage and trying to use as many as possible before the end of the fiscal year on Sep 30, 2021. Is it the lawsuit that has pushed them will only be seen with time.
We have seen a lot of last-minute changes that USCIS has introduced in August to signal that they are indeed making changes to their i485 process to remove certain unnecessary roadblocks.
- Sending test/email to pending i485 applicants asking to send i693 by overnight mail service.
- Increasing the i693 validity from 2 to 4 years
- Requests more people to file i696 medical along with i485 to save RFE time.
Although more could have been done to expedite processing than announcing these common-sense measures at the last minute.
Did you know that you can directly send medical forms to USCIS using the process called interfiling?
A lot of mental stress and agony could have been avoided if they had announced these measures early in 2021 when their own i485 reports signalled that they were on track to waste almost all 122k GC numbers from family spillover.
Nobody talks about the mental health of Indian and Chinese workers who have been waiting for a decade or more to see this day.
They all were extremely disappointed to hear Charles Oppenheim declaring that USCIS will waste more than 100k Green cards.
More GC Approvals than Ever
USCIS has clearly mentioned in their news brief that they are on way to approve the more green cards than they have done since 2005.
This is certainly an unprecedented situation and we, on behalf of all immigrants, applaud USCIS efforts.
It’s not a small feat given that the offices are still closed and the COVID DELTA variant is on the rise.
As of writing this article, the pattern that we have seen is:
- Texas service center is the slowest as they are still working on i485 cases filed in 2016.
- MSC/NBC (National benefits center) is the fastest center and we know of lot of Green card approvals within close promixity of current final action dates for both EB2 and EB3 India.
- There are cases from National benefits center which have even received interview appointment letter for their Oct 2014 PD date in EB3 case. As of this writing, EB3 India Oct 2014 is not current in any of the charts.
We hope that they will be able to use more than 90% of the available 262k employment-based GC numbers this year.
If they are able to use most of them, there are very good chances of people waiting in the Indian queue to file i485 in Oct 2021 with PD dates in:
- 2015 will have very good chance of getting current in DOF
- 2016 would still be a bit ambitious and
- 2017 seems tougher to touch.
Medical Validity – 4 Years – Conditional
The i693 form will be considered valid for 4 years only if these conditions are met:
- Doctor’s signature is within 60 days of i485 receipt date AND
- Your Green Card is approved on or before Sept. 30, 2021.
In all other cases, the medical will remain valid only for 2 years as usual. We anticipate that USCIS may announce the same leeway for next year but it is not guaranteed.
This seems to be an effort to move the EB2/EB3 cases pending with PD around 2009-2011. Most of them had filed their i485 around 2012 but are still waiting for approval.
We do know of a case with PD of Aug 2010 who filed his i485 in 2012. He used to get the medical RFE from the Texas service center every 2 years. He did not get any medical RFE after 2018 and got his Green card approval without any RFE in 2021.
We do not know if USCIS has applied the same policy to all other cases but it does seem to do it internally even when it did not explicitly announce it.