April 2021 Visa Bulletin – Chats with Charlie

The Department of State is now conducting a “Chats with Charlie” regarding the Visa Bulletin during which Charlie Oppenheim responds to questions about the Visa Bulletin. Take-aways from the first “Chats with Charlie” are set forth below.

  •  EB-1 China and EB-1 India: Charlie expects these categories to remain current through the rest of the fiscal year barring any extraordinary spikes in demand, which he does not anticipate.

  • Charlie expects the Employment Based Final Action Dates to reach the dates in the Dates for Filing chart by the end of FY2021.

  • EB-2 India: EB-2 India experienced dramatic forward movement in April 2021 and will continue to advance dramatically in May 2021.

  • EB-3 China and EB-3 India: Charlie expects there to be even more aggressive forward movement in EB-3 China and EB-3 India in the coming months than what we have seen in March 2021 and April 2021. The EB-3 China and EB-3 India Final Action Dates are ahead of EB-2 China and EB-2 India respectively. Charlie believes there were a large number of downgrades but has no visibility into this likely demand until visa numbers are requested at the end of the adjustment of status processing.

Check-in with Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim regarding the August Visa Bulletin

In the August “check-in,” Charlie describes the movement in each category which is readily apparent from looking at the Visa Bulletin. Charlie’s predictions on future movement of the visa categories are few:

·       F2A is expected to remain current in September and October.


·       EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) will continue to remain current through the end of this fiscal year.

·       While there is still potential for forward movement in EB-1 China and EB-1 India in September, any advance movements are unlikely to be as dramatic as in August.


·       EB-2 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam)  will remain current through this fiscal year. EB-2 China advances approximately nine weeks from November 8, 2015 to January 15, 2016. In contrast, EB-2 India holds at July 8, 2009 in August. It is currently estimated that there is a sufficient amount of worldwide demand to reach or approximate the EB-2 annual limit for FY2020.


EB-1 Worldwide remains current in July and should remain so through the end of this fiscal year.


EB-1 India  advances significantly, moving forward eleven months from June 8, 2016, to May 8, 2017.


EB-2 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) remains current in July and should do so through FY2020.


EB-2 China and EB-2 India will certainly exceed their per country limits this year. The open question is how close the EB-2 category will be to reaching its worldwide limits.


EB-3 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) and EB-3 Worldwide Other Workers (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) which advanced more than ten months in June, advances at a significant yet slower five month pace in July 2020 from November 8, 2017, to April 15, 2018.

Check-in with DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim Regarding the June 2020 Visa Bulletin

Charlie does not make any future predictions for family-based categories beyond what the June Visa Bulletin states. For employment-based categories, he has predictions for the following categories only:


EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) which became current in May 2020 remains current in June. Given the lack of EB-1 demand and the likelihood of otherwise unused numbers becoming available from the EB-5 category, this category is expected to remain current through the end of FY2020.


EB-3 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) and EB-3 Worldwide Other Workers (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) which had been holding at January 1, 2017, into May, leaps forward by more than 10 months to November 8, 2017, in June. Similar to EB-1 India, there is a large amount of pre-adjudicated demand in EB-3 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam), making it more reliable that the advancements will result in visa issuances this fiscal year.


EB-4 Worldwide (including China, India, Philippines and Vietnam) remains current in June. EB-4 El Salvador Guatemala and Honduras advances four months from August 15, 2016, to December 15, 2016. The advancement of EB-4 Mexico slows in June to a little over one month–from May 1, 2018, to June 8, 2018. These advancements were aggressive in order to account for the current processing times in the hope that all visa numbers in these categories will be used during FY2020. It is possible that these dates will hold into July 2020.


EB-5 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico and Philippines), Regional and Non-Regional Centers, remains current in June. EB-5 China (Regional and Non-Regional Centers) advances only two weeks in June, from July 1, 2015, to July 15, 2015. The pace of advancement also slows in June for EB-5 India (Regional and Non-Regional Centers), which advances only three months from October 1, 2019, to January 1, 2020. EB-5 Vietnam (Regional and Non-Regional Centers) similarly advances only three weeks in June from April 1, 2017, to April 22, 2017. Charlie expects EB-5 India to become current by August 2020. If that is the case, it is possible that otherwise unused numbers might fall to EB-5 Vietnam, allowing that category to advance more rapidly.

DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim: March Visa Bulletin

Charlie’s predictions as reflected in his comments on the March Visa Bulletin:

A final action date of January 1, 2017 is imposed in March for EB-3 Worldwide as well as for the EB-3 (EW) Other Workers category. Unfortunately, no forward movement is expected in these categories in the foreseeable future.

EB-1 Worldwide could possibly become current in the summer of 2020. However, it is also possible that this category could advance less quickly if USCIS shifts resources previously used to adjudicate EB-3 cases to EB-1 processing, thus increasing the demand.

After holding steady, the final action dates for EB-1 China and EB-1 India start to advance again in March, with EB-1 China advancing one week to June 1, 2017 and EB-1 India advancing two months to March 1, 2015.


EB-2 Worldwide could regress as early as April 2020.

February Visa Bulletin Highlights from Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the DOS Visa Control and Reporting Division

Family-Based Preference Categories

All F2A categories remain current in February. However, per the January 2020 Visa Bulletin, prepare for a final action date to be imposed within the next few months across all F2A categories.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1: Based on currently available information, it remains possible–yet too early to confirm–that this category could become current in the summer of 2020.

EB-2 Worldwide: A final action date may be imposed at some point during the second half of FY2020.

EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Other Workers Worldwide will become subject to a final action date in March 2020.

DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim: January Visa Bulletin

While EB-1 China and EB-1 India demand remains high, the rest of world demand has tapered off and is currently lower than Charlie’s monthly use target. If this trend continues, EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) could potentially become current by the summer of 2020.


EB-1 China will continue to advance at a pace of up to three weeks, but EB-1 India is not expected to advance in the near future.


EB-2 Worldwide and EB-3 Worldwide categories remain current for January. EB-3 Worldwide will have a Final Action Date imposed no later than March 2020, with a strong possibility of that happening in February. EB-2 Worldwide is likely to remain current longer than EB-3 Worldwide, and hopefully no cut-off date will be required until after March 2020.


The longer these categories remain Current, the more likely it is that the retrogression will be more significant so as to severely limit the number usage for a period of time.

Over the coming months, Charlie expects EB-2 China to advance at a pace of up to one month, with EB-2 India advancing at a rate of up to one week. Charlie notes that EB-2 China demand has picked up at a steady pace, but still remains manageable for now. The EB-3 China Final Action Date advances one month to December 1, 2015, in January, which positions EB-3 China’s Final Action Date five months ahead of EB-2 China, maintaining a climate favorable for downgrades. Charlie predicts that the EB-3 China Final Action Date will continue to advance at a rate of up to six weeks. China EB-3 Other Worker category will continue to have an earlier Final Action Date than EB-3 China due to excessive demand in this category.


The EB-3 India Final Action Date holds at January 1, 2009, for January, keeping it almost five months behind EB-2 India, maintaining a climate favorable for upgrades. Charlie predicts advancement of “up to” three weeks for EB-3 India, but notes that we should not expect to see any movement in this category until the demand begins to drop below his monthly target number usage.


EB-3 Other Worker Worldwide is likely to have a Final Action Date imposed in the coming months.