The monthly visa bulletin issued by the Department of State is one of the most closely watched and anticipated government communications in the immigration community. We receive instant updates and are able to comment and analyze each visa bulletin promptly upon its issuance. Our clients benefit from our visa bulletin efforts by knowing as early in advance as possible about the potential benefits and developments that may arise from forward or backward movements in the visa numbers. If you would like to learn more about our immigration law practice or if you would like to request our services, please contact us. Additionally, you can subscribe to our email newsletter to receive visa bulletin updates via email as soon as they are available to us.
The U.S. State Department has just released the April 2017 Visa Bulletin which is the seventh Visa Bulletin for the FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the significant forward movement in EB-3 China which continues to create a great opportunity for EB-2 to EB-3 China downgrades and I-485 filings. EB-2 and EB-3 India advance very slowly.
The U.S. State Department has just released the March 2017 Visa Bulletin which is the sixth Visa Bulletin for the FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the significant (six months) forward movement in EB-3 China which continues to create a significant opportunity for EB-2 to EB-3 China downgrades and I-485 filings. EB-2 India advances slightly as well.
Every day, our office receives numerous inquiries and questions about the anticipated movements in the Visa Bulletin cutoff dates. So when we have reliable information, we are happy to share with our readers and clients. Mr. Charles Oppenheim, who is the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, has provided some information about anticipated movement in the cutoff dates. For those who are not familiar who Mr. Oppenheim is – he is simply known as the person responsible for the monthly and annual visa number allocations for family- and employment-based green cards. He is also the person who prepares and publishes the monthly visa bulletin which is highly anticipated every month.
General Visa Number Trends
Mr. Oppenheim noted that in recognition of the fact that many EB-3 India and China candidates are now eligible for porting and are now applying under the EB-2 category, Mr. Oppenheim noted that the EB-3, in addition to EB-2 visa numbers, are expected to remain oversubscribed, particularly for Indian nationals.
He also indicated that there is a significant number of EB-3 to EB-2 India porting cases and the mechanics of the EB-3 to EB-2 porting do not allow advance notification to the Department of State’s Visa Office. This causes a significant number of EB-3 to EB-2 porting cases to “appear” without advance warning to the Visa Office and, as a result, the Visa Office has to hold cutoff dates back (or to retrogress) to accommodate such porting case.
Similarly, there has been high demand in EB-1 India and China, which means there is strong likelihood for a cutoff date to be imposed over the next few months.
Visa Bulletin Predictions – Employment-Based
Mr. Oppenheim was able to provide some predictions and expectations for movement of visa numbers over the next few months. Please note that these are short-term predictions and depending on the number of applications as a result of the next few months’ visa numbers, the rate of cutoff date movement may change.
EB-1 Rest of World (ROW). This category seems strong demand and it is expected that a cutoff date will be imposed for EB-1 India and EB-1 China at some time within the following several months When this happens, the dates are expected as far back to 2010. Such cutoff date and retrogression is likely to be short-lived and the EB-1 India/China categories are expected to become current again once the new fiscal year rolls over on October 1, 2017.
EB-2 India. Due to significant numbers of EB-3 to EB-2 “porters”, EB-2 India will likely not advance for the next month or two. If the demand for EB-2 ROW remains strong (as it is now), then it is possible that EB-2 India may not advance much and recover the dates from last year’s retrogression. Not much, if any, movement is expected in this category until at least July or August.
EB-2 China. Demand is not as strong as expected and further forward movement is expected.
EB-3 ROW. This category is expected to move forward gradually over the next months to continue to stimulate “demand”.
EB-3 China. This category is expected to advance gradually, in an effort to monitor any EB-2 to EB-3 “downgrades” who aim to take advantage of the more favorable priority date under EB-3 China.
EB-3 India. Gradual (but very slow) forward movement is expected.
Mr. Oppenheim’s comments are extremely helpful to get a sense of the visa cutoff dates over the next few months. We urge EB-1 India/China applicants to be aware of the possibility of a cutoff date being introduced for a month or two late in the summer. With respect to EB-2 India and China, the high demand likely means that there may not be much notable movement until the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2017 and the annual visa number allocations are reset.
Many EB-3 India candidates who now qualify for EB-2 would be able to improve their waiting times dramatically by upgrading to EB-2. We are happy to help analyze and assist in such EB-3 to EB-2 India porting cases.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can review your case, answer any questions or schedule a consultation. We also invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics. Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.
The U.S. State Department has just released the February 2017 Visa Bulletin which is the fifth Visa Bulletin for the new FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the slow forward movement across many categories, including the lack of any movement in EB-2 India. EB-3 China continues to have a more favorable cutoff date than EB-2 China which creates favorable conditions for EB-2 to EB-3 China downgrades.
The U.S. State Department has just released the November 2016 Visa Bulletin which is the second Visa Bulletin for the new FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the fact that EB-2 India and China advance notably while the forward movement in most of the other categories is fairly minor. Additionally, EB-3 China continues to have a more favorable cutoff date than EB-2 China which creates favorable conditions for EB-2 to EB-3 China downgrades.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) has just announced that for the month of October 2016 they will honor and accept I-485 Adjustment of Status applications based on the Filing Dates (and not only on the Final Action dates) category from the October 2016 Visa Bulletin. See USCIS’s announcement.
What this means is that for I-485 filing purposes, USCIS will accept applications with slightly earlier cutoff date than noted on the Final Action dates. Also, this announcement is important because this is the first time in over twelve Visa Bulletin editions when USCIS has agreed to accept the Filing Dates category for I-485 filing purposes.
October 2016 Visa Bulletin – EB-1 and EB-2 ROW Current Again; EB-2 India and China Advance Significantly; EB-3 China Ahead of EB-2 China
The U.S. State Department has just released the October 2016 Visa Bulletin which is the first Visa Bulletin for the new FY2017 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is fact that this is the first bulletin for the new fiscal year. EB-1 and EB-2 ROW are current again and there is notable forward movement in EB-2 India and China. EB-3 China also advanced significantly to have a more favorable cutoff date than EB-2 China which creates favorable conditions for EB-2 to EB-3 China downgrades.
The U.S. State Department has just released the September 2016 Visa Bulletin which is the last Visa Bulletin for the FY2016 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is fact that this is the last bulletin for the fiscal year. There is lack of much movement across most employment based categories with the exception of EB-2 and EB-3 India which advance by a few months.
The U.S. State Department has just released the July 2016 Visa Bulletin which is the tenth Visa Bulletin for the FY2016 fiscal year. The headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the lack of much movement across the employment-based categories after the June 2016 major retrogression.