February 2018 Visa Bulletin – Check-in with Charlie Oppenheim, Department of State 

EB-1 India and EB-1 China.
Charlie expects these categories to remain current for the coming months, but the imposition of a final action date in the summer remains likely if the current rate of demand continues.

EB-2 Worldwide.
This category should remain current for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 and EB-3 China.
The February Visa Bulletin predicts that EB-2 China will continue to advance at a rate of “(s)everal months.” Charlie clarified that this means advancement at a rate of two to three months, noting that EB-2 China may move at a faster pace to generate demand. EB-3 China is predicted to advance at a pace of “(u)p to five months.” Charlie advised that EB-3 China will likely continue to advance at a faster pace than EB-2 China.

EB-2 India. Given heavy demand, the February Visa Bulletin predicts modest forward movement for EB-2 India at a rate of “(u)p to two weeks.”

EB-3 India. The February Visa Bulletin predicts forward movement in this category at a pace of one to three months.

EB-3 Philippines. Demand in this category is comfortable, but not extremely high, which means there is less room to advance this date significantly.

Family-Based Categories

The February Visa Bulletin includes predictions for Worldwide family-based cases, with FB-1 Worldwide advancing at a pace of up to one month, FB-2A Worldwide advancing three to five weeks, FB-3 Worldwide advancing up to five weeks, and FB-4 worldwide advancing up to three weeks.

January Visa Bulletin – Check-in with Charlie Oppenheim, Department of State 

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1 China and EB-1 India. These categories will remain current for the coming months, but the imposition of a final action date in the summer remains possible.

EB-2 Worldwide. The final action dates for this category will remain current for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. No future projections provided by Charlie.

EB-2 India. Consistent with Charlie’s predictions, in January, EB-2 India will again advance by less than one month from November 1, 2008, to November 22, 2008. It is not likely that the final action date for this category will move into 2009 before summer.

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India will advance two weeks from October 15, 2006, to November 1, 2006, in January. As we move into the second quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, demand in this category is levelling out following heavy visa number usage in October. This allows for modest forward advancement which Charlie hopes will continue at the pace of up to a few weeks each month.

EB-4 Religious Workers and EB-5 Regional Center Categories “Unavailable. Congressional authorization for the EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR) and EB-5 Regional Center (I5 and R5) categories will sunset on December 22, 2017, if they are not reauthorized by Congress. If legislative action is taken to extend the authorization for these categories, EB-4 (SR) final action dates would become current, except EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which would have a final action date of December 1, 2015, and EB-4 Mexico, which would have a final action date of June 1, 2016. 

EB-5 China Non-Regional Center. This category advances one week to July 22, 2014, in January.

Family-Based Categories 

The recent retrogressions in FB-1 Philippines and FB-2B Philippines may continue to hold for a while. FB-1 Philippines has already used more than forty percent of its annual numbers, whereas it normally uses fifty-four percent of its visa numbers by March. This means that FB-1 Philippines only has approximately eleven percent of its numbers to use between January and March.

FB-4 India is advancing, and the FB-2A category for all countries is also moving faster than expected.

Posting of Projections in the Visa Bulletin

Members should not expect projections to be reported in the Visa Bulletin until February at the earliest due to uncertainty in how the transition of employment-based I-485 processing to USCIS field offices will impact visa number demand. Once Charlie gains more clarity regarding the rate of USCIS field office processing of employment based I-485s, reporting of projections in the Visa Bulletin should resume.

December Visa Bulletin – Check-In with Charlie Oppenheim, Department of State

EB-1 China, EB-1 India, and EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide. As previously reported, these categories are expected to remain current for the foreseeable future, at least through the first half of the fiscal year.

EB-2 India. Consistent with Charlie’s predictions, EB-2 India will advance less than one month in December to November 1, 2008.

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India will continue to hold steady at October 15, 2006, for December. This is the result of high visa number usage in October due to a significant advancement of the final action date at the end of FY 2017. Many of the cases that could not be completed in September were finalized and issued a visa number in October. Charlie will closely watch demand in this category and determine whether to continue to hold the final action date or whether advancement is possible in January. Interviews at USCIS field offices is a factor which could influence movement in this category.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. In December, EB-2 China will advance less than one month to July 1, 2013, and EB-3 China will advance slightly more than one month to March 8, 2014.

EB-3 Philippines. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines will hold steady at January 15, 2016, in December due to demand in this category increasing at a much higher pace than expected. It is unclear whether this spike in demand is temporary or whether it is indicative of a trend of a more sustained increased demand, which was not expected until March or April. Charlie will watch this category closely.

EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China (both Non-Regional Center and Regional Center) will advance approximately two weeks to July 15, 2014, in December. 

EB-4. In December, EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will advance one week to November 8, 2015, and EB-4 Mexico will advance just under one month to April 22, 2016.

Family-Based Categories. Movement in the family-based categories for December remains mostly steady due to greater visibility into demand, and thus, greater predictability. As with EB-3 Philippines, demand for FB-1 Philippines and FB-2B Philippines is increasing significantly and beyond expectations. Both categories will retrogress in December, with FB-1 Philippines retrogressing two years to January 1, 2005, and FB-2B Philippines retrogressing one year to July 1, 2006.

November 2017 Visa Bulletin – Check-In with DOS’ Charlie Oppenheim

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1 China, EB-1 India, and EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide. As previously reported, all of these categories are expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 India. Consistent with Charlie’s predictions, EB-2 India will advance by less than one month for November to October 8, 2008.

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India will hold steady at October 15, 2006, for November, and Charlie is confident that this date will continue to hold in December.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. Demand in these two categories is creeping along as expected. Charlie is interested in watching how the new USCIS interview requirement will impact demand in these categories and the downgrade phenomenon that has occurred for the past few years. In November, EB-2 China advances by less than one month to June 15, 2013, and EB-3 China advances by one month to February 1, 2014.

EB-3 Philippines. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances one and a half months to April 1, 2016, in November, consistent with Charlie’s predictions.

EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China advances approximately one week to July 1, 2014, in November, consistent with Charlie’s projections. 

EB-4. All EB-4 subcategories will remain the same in November with the exception of EB-4 Mexico, which will advance one month to April 1, 2016. Compared to the beginning of the last fiscal year, where Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were almost at their annual limits, the demand is starting out more slowly in these categories this year. Charlie expects to continue to advance EB-4 Mexico slowly, but he cautions members to not be surprised if the final action date for EB-4 Mexico rejoins that of EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras later this fiscal year.

Family-Based Categories

Movement in the family-based categories for November is consistent with Charlie’s predictions, with the final action dates of most categories either remaining the same or advancing modestly by about one month. FB-1 and FB-2B Philippines demand is starting to materialize. In particular, members should expect a correction to FB-1 in the December Visa Bulletin. Demand in FB-4 India is lower than expected, which might allow Charlie to advance the final action date in this category more quickly than previously anticipated.

October 2017 Visa Bulletin Update with Charlie Oppenheim, Department of State

EB-1 China and EB-1 India. These categories will become current again in October. These categories are expected to remain current for the foreseeable future, although a final action date will likely again be imposed at some point later in the fiscal year. 

EB-2 Worldwide. As anticipated, this category becomes current again on October 1, and should remain current for the foreseeable future. 

EB-2 India. This category is expected to advance at a pace of up to one month at a time. It is hoped that the final action date will reach early 2009 at some point in the next calendar year. 

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India remains at October 15, 2006 as we start the fiscal year, and is likely to hold steady in November, with some movement possible in December. 

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. EB-3 China will start the fiscal year with a final action date of January 1, 2014, which is almost eight months ahead of EB-2 China’s final action date of May 22, 2013. Even with the advancement of EB-3 China, Charlie is not fully utilizing the monthly target in an effort to avoid a drastic retrogression later this fiscal year as a result of increased demand. This situation is once again ripe for EB-2 to EB-3 downgrades resulting in the demand Charlie is expecting. EB-2 China’s modest advancement is attributable to material demand and a desire to maintain steady though limited forward movement through the fiscal year. 

EB-3 Worldwide. EB-3 Worldwide’s final action date, which became current in August, continues to remain current in October and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. 

EB-3 Philippines. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances one month to December 1, 2015 in October and may advance up to two months at a time as we enter the new fiscal year.

EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China advances one week to June 22, 2014 in October and will continue to advance at a pace of up to one week at a time.

September 2017 Visa Bulletin Update with Charlie Oppenheim, Department of State

EB-1 China and EB-1 India. The final action date of January 1, 2012, which was imposed in June 2017, will remain the same for EB-1 China and EB-1 India, as predicted. Based on current information, these categories will likely return to Current in October. However, Charlie will continue to monitor demand carefully between now and early September. A final action date will definitely be imposed again for EB-1 China and EB-1 India at some point during the summer of 2018. 

EB-2 Worldwide. The final action date for EB-2 Worldwide, advances nine months in September, from April 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016. This category will become current again on October 1, 2017, and it should remain current for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 India. Smaller than anticipated EB-3 to EB-2 upgrade demand allows EB-2 India to advance one month to August 22, 2008, for September. Members should expect additional, slow movement of a few weeks at a time starting in October. It is hoped that the final action date for EB-2 India will be advanced to a date in December 2008 at some point between January and April 2018, depending on the level of EB-3 upgrade demand. Charlie is also hopeful that the final action date for EB-2 India could advance to a date in 2009 at some point during the second half of FY 2018.

EB-2 and EB-3 China. In September, the final action date for EB-2 China will advance slightly to May 15, 2013, and the final action date for EB-3 China will hold steady at January 1, 2012. Members should expect to see a full recovery of EB-3 China in October, putting it once again ahead of the final action date for EB-2 China, creating conditions for EB-3 downgrades. EB-2 China should advance at a pace of three to six weeks per month in the coming year.

EB-3 Worldwide. The EB-3 Worldwide final action date, which became current in August, is likely to remain current in October, absent significant demand materializing within the next few weeks. Demand for EB-3 Worldwide will have a significant impact on the ability of the EB-3 India final action date to advance significantly at the end of FY 2018, based on the availability of “otherwise unused” numbers.

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India advances three months in September to October 15, 2006, consistent with Charlie’s predictions. This category is expected to continue to advance at a pace of several weeks at a time as we enter the new fiscal year.

EB-3 Philippines. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances another five months to November 1, 2015, in September. Charlie speculates that demand in this category may materialize abruptly, but he does not expect that to occur until after the first of the year.

EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China holds at June 15, 2014, in September. This category will sunset at the end of September if the program is not reauthorized by Congress. As in the past, the October Visa Bulletin will likely address the final action date that will apply to this category if it is reauthorized.

FB-1 and FB-4. As noted in the Visa Bulletin, high demand necessitated a temporary retrogression of the final action dates in the FB-1 and FB-4 Worldwide, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India and Honduras categories for September. A full recovery of the final action dates for these categories will occur in October.

Special Immigrants. In September, the final action date for EB-4 India, Mexico, and El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras advances more than one month to October 22, 2015. EB-4 India will become current in October and will remain so until spring or summer 2018. Additionally, in October, it is possible that EB-4 Mexico will have a later final action date than the one imposed for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. If that should happen, it may only be temporary.

August 2017 Visa Bulletin Update

Check-In with Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim on the August 2017 Visa Bulletin.

EB-1 China and India. A final action date of January 1, 2012, which was imposed for EB-1 China and EB-1 India in June, remains for August and is expected to hold through the end of this fiscal year. 

EB-2 Worldwide. A final action date of April 1, 2015, will be imposed for EB-2 Worldwide in August. This date is likely to remain the same for September, but there is a possibility that it may retrogress further. However, Charlie is confident that this category will become current again at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2017. 

EB-2 India. Despite signaling possible advancement in EB-2 India this fiscal year, the July final action date of July 22, 2008, will remain the same in August due to heavy demand for EB-3 upgrades. If demand continues to materialize at a rapid pace, there will be no forward movement in September, and the date may retrogress. If retrogression is necessary, the final action date would return to July 22, 2008 in October.

In Fiscal Year 2018, movement in EB-2 India and other employment-based categories is expected to be similar to movement this fiscal year, including more conservative advancement during the first quarter. 

EB-2 and EB-3 China. In August, the final action date for EB-2 China will advance one month to April 22, 2013. Charlie hopes to advance this date again in September, but it will depend on how much EB-2 China demand materializes in the coming weeks. If this category does not advance in September, it will definitely advance in October when the new fiscal year’s numbers become available.

As predicted, the final action date for EB-3 China, which retrogressed three years in July, will remain at January 1, 2012, in August. This date is expected to hold through September and, based on current demand, should recover in October to a final action date of October 1, 2014. Members should also expect the final action date for EB-2 China to be earlier than that of EB-3 China in October 2017, resuming the dynamic which allows for EB-3 downgrades.

EB-3 Worldwide. EB-3 Worldwide, which has a final action date of June 8, 2017 in July, will be current in August. EB-3 Worldwide demand will have a significant impact on the advancement of EB-3 India in the coming fiscal year, since advancement is entirely dependent on the availability of otherwise unused EB-3 numbers. 

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India, which advanced five months in July, will leap forward another nine months in August to July 15, 2006. While this category should advance again in September, it will not be as pronounced as in August.

Charlie cautions that EB-3 Worldwide demand will increase next fiscal year, as the “otherwise unused numbers” that were available this fiscal year may not be as plentiful next year. Members should respond immediately to any USCIS RFEs in an effort to complete adjudication and obtain an immigrant visa number during the current fiscal year.

EB-3 Philippines. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines will advance to June 1, 2015, in August. As with EB-3 India above, members should respond quickly to USCIS RFEs to provide a better chance of I-485 adjudication before the end of this fiscal year.

July Visa Bulletin Highlights Final Action Dates for Various EB Visas

The State Department issued the July Visa Bulletin and provides the following comments regarding the bulletin:

EB-1 China and India. The final action date for EB-1 China and EB-1 India (January 1, 2012) that was imposed in June 2017 remains for July 2017 and is expected to hold through the end of this fiscal year.

EB-2 Worldwide.  A final action cut-off date will be imposed in this category in August and will be more dramatic than it would have been if a date had been imposed in July. The good news is that this category will become current again on October 1, 2017.

EB-2 India. In July, the final action date for EB-2 India will advance three weeks to July 22, 2008. Minimal advancement is expected in this category through the rest of the fiscal year. The best case scenario for this fiscal year would be a final action date of September or October 2008.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. For the first time this fiscal year, the final action date for EB-2 China is later than the final action date for EB-3 China. EB-2 China advanced three weeks in July to March 22, 2013.  Slow progress in this category is expected to continue. By contrast, EB-3 China will retrogress three years in July to January 1, 2012, as a result of a significant amount of EB-3 downgrades. The final action date for EB-3 China Other Workers will hold at July 15, 2006, and this date could also retrogress in August.  The final action date of January 1, 2012, for EB-3 China will hold through the end of this fiscal year, but will advance to October 1, 2014, effective October 1, 2017.

EB-3 Worldwide. In July, EB-3 Worldwide will advance less than two months to June 8, 2017, keeping this category effectively current.

EB-3 India. In July, EB-3 India will advance five months to October 15, 2005, and should continue to advance.

EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China will continue to hold at June 8, 2014, in July and may advance by one week for August. Some additional forward movement in this category remains possible for September should demand by USCIS be less than estimated.

FB-4 Worldwide. In July, the final action date for FB-4 Worldwide will be May 8, 2004. 

Special Immigrants. A final action date of August 15, 2015, will be imposed for EB-4 India in July. In October, EB-4 India is expected to return to current. A final action date for EB-4 will continue into FY 2018 for the other countries, though Mexico may have different date from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.