April Visa Bulletin and Guidance from Charlie Oppenheim

imagesThe April Visa Bulletin was released last week as was some additional guidance from Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State.  I will go through the highlights below.

Family Based Immigration

F1 (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens):  Most countries moved from June 1, 2010 to October 15, 2010, a fairly big jump.  The exceptions were Mexico (which moved about 1 week to May 22, 1995) and the Philippines (which moved forward one month to January 15, 2006)

F2A (Spouses and children of Permanent Residents): Most countries moved forward 1 month to June 8, 2015.  The only exception was Mexico, which also moved one month forward to May 22, 2015.

F2B (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents): Most countries moved forward 1 month to September 15, 2010.  The only exceptions were Mexico (which moved forward 1 month to December 22, 1995) and the Philippines (which moved forward 1.5 months to June 15, 20016).

F3 (Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens): Most countries moved forward about 3 weeks to May 15, 2005.  The only exceptions were Mexico (which moved forward about 2 weeks to January 8, 1995) and the Philippines (which moved forward about 1 week to September 15, 1994.

F4 (Siblings of US Citizens): Most countries moved forward about 2.5 months to May 8, 2004.  India moved forward only about 3 weeks to August 15, 2003.  Mexico moved forward about 2 weeks to June 15, 1997.  The Philippines moved forward about 1 month to September 8, 1993.

Charlie Oppenheim Guidance:  FB-1, FB-2 and FB-3 are expected to continue to advance at the same pace as this month in the future  because of the low rate at which applicants are becoming documentarily qualified. The FB-4 advancement in April was sufficient to meet Charlie’s target for this category for the next two to three months. This allowed the overall desired allocation level through April to be met, and should prevent excessive allocations once demand in the other categories increases those desired levels. No further advancement of FB-4 Worldwide is expected until July.

Employment Based Immigration

EB1: Current for all countries (but see guidance below for India and China)

EB2: Current for most countries.  China moved forward about 1 month to January 15, 2013 and India moved forward about 3 weeks to June 22, 2008.

Eb3: Worldwide numbers moved forward about two months to February 15, 2017. China moved forward about 5 months to August 15, 2014.  India moved forward 2 days to March 22, 2005 and the Philippines moved forward about 1 month to September 15, 2012.

Charlie Oppenheim Guidance:  

EB-1:  India has already used over 9,000 immigration visas in this category (its per country limit is 2,800) and China has used over 4,500.  There will be backlogs for both of these countries in this category in the near future.

EB-3: At some point Charlie expects there to be more demand for China EB-3 because of the downgrades from EB-2s.  However, to date, this demand has not materialized.  This is why he moved the final action date forward.  You may notice that the Date for Filing for EB-2 China is actually several months behind the Final Action Dates.  As USCIS is using the Final Action Dates, this date is irrelevant.  EB-3 Worldwide will continue to remain about 2 months behind being current.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.






EB-2 for India may Retrogress as Early as November

According to Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the visa Control and Reporting Division, US Department of State, the usage patterns for India, the number of visas used, etc. mean that there will definately be retrogression, and it may happen as soon as November. India has seen rapid forward movement of its priority date for the EB-2 category over the past months because the DOS is trying to ensure that all immigrant visas are used before the end of the current fiscal year. As a result many more people from India are filing their adjustment of status applications based upon their older I-140 EB-2 applications now coming current. While USCIS is trying to adjudicate these cases as quickly as possible, a number will be left over by the time the new fiscal year starts on October 1, 2014. This means that there will be a number of people with cases ready for adjudication at the beginning of the fiscal year which, in turn, means that a number of the immigrant visas allocated to Inida will be used quite quickly, necessitating the retorgression.

If past trends hold, however, then, as the fiscal year progresses, the DOS will be able to move the dates for India forward to use the otherwise unused numbers from other countries.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

Image courtsey of http://www.thats-bejing.com

March 2014 Visa Bulletin Updates

The March 2014 visa bulletin was just recently published by the Department of State.  This month’s bulletin not only gave us the new cutoff dates but also provided us with some guidance as to how much the Department of State (DOS) think s that various categories will move forward in the coming months.

Starting with family cases, the F2A – Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents category – was fast moving forward.  Well, that has stalled over the last several months at September 8, 2013, and it is still there for the March Bulletin.  DOS also states that it does not foresee any forward movement in that category over the coming months.  The other family based categories are projected to move forward between 2 to six weeks every month.

In terms of the work based categories, the DOS sees Employment First preference remaining current, as well as Second Preference Worldwide availability.  For Second Preference China, which is now at February 15, 2009, the DOS sees it moving forward approximately 3-5 weeks every month.  India, which is at November 15, 2004 will remain at that date for the foreseeable future.  For Third Preference, the Worldwide and China and Mexico cutoff date is September 1, 2012.  DOS sees this date as remaining level, with great potential for having to move the date back if the potential demand for this category materializes (although in the short term there may be small moves forward).  India will most likely remain at September 15, 2003, but there is a chance of small movements forward, just not a good chance.  The Philippines, which is at May 1, 2007 will move forward at a rate of approximately 3-6 weeks each month.  For the Fourth and Fifth employment preferences, the DOS believes that they will remain current over the next several months.  It is important to note that these are just projections, and that they are only projections for the next couple of months.  Things could change rapidly depending on actual usage patterns each month.

What does this all show?  First, it appears demand for the EB-5s for China was not as high as the DOS thought, as they thought they may have to backlog that category in the next couple of months but they have not renewed that prediction in this visa bulletin.  Secondly, the EB-2 and EB-3 categories are going to remained quite backlogged for India for the foreseeable future.   The good news is that China dates seem to continue to move forward at a good pace and that does not show signs of slowing down.

February 2014 Visa Bulletin Released: No Real Surprises

Below is the update on visa number availability as reflected in the lated February 2014 Visa Bulletin.


China has moved forward to January 8. 2009 (a one month move) while India has stayed at November 15, 2004. The worldwide availability is still current. As stated before, it is doubtful if the India numbers will see any further forward movement this fiscal year.


Worldwide numbers (and China and Mexico) dates were backlogged a little to April 12, 2012. This was from June 1, 2012 the month before. India held steady at September 1, 2003 and Philippines retrogressed as well to February 15, 2007. Again, the DOS had stated that the quick forward movement in the category would end soon, and apparently, they are starting to get more demand. There may be further retrogressing in the near future as well.

Family Sponsored Categories

The Spouses and children of Permanent Residents category held steady at September 8, 2013. It has been at this date for the past several months.

Unmarried Sons and Daughters of US Citizens retrogressed slightly to December 6 2008 for Worldwide, China and India and to September 22, 1993 for Mexico and July 1, 2001 for Philippines. Married Sons and Daughters of US Citizens also retrogressed slightly to April 15, 2003 for Worldwide, China and India but held steady for Mexico and Philippines.

Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent residents retrogressed a week for Worldwide, China and India to June 1, 2006, and to April 1, 1994 for Mexico an dMay 1, 2003 for Philippines.

Lastly, Brothers and Sisters of US Citizens retrogressed about 20 days for Worldwide, China and India to October 1, 2001 and to November 1, 1996 for Mexico and to July 1, 1990 for Philippines.