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December Visa Bulletin: Trends and Predictions

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The U.S. Department of State recently released the December 2019 Visa Bulletin. In this post, we will discuss the current state of the visa bulletin, potential for advancement, retrogression, and predictions.

Family-based Preference Categories

The Final Action Date for F2A has been current and remains current since July 2018 across all countries through December. Low demand in this category has made it “current” and is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future.

Movement for all other family-preference categories remains as before.

F-4 visa demand is increasing which may result in slow movement in this category in the foreseeable future, but not nearly enough to cause a retrogression.

Employment-based preference categories

Overview

For the month of December 2019, EB-2 Worldwide, as well as EB-2 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam remain current.

Similarly, EB-3 Worldwide, as well as EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Vietnam remain current.

The Visa Bulletin notes that visa availability is likely to slow down for employment-based visa categories due to the steady increase in the level of employment-based demand for adjustment of status cases filed with USCIS. If the current pace of demand continues, a final action date will be implemented for EB-2, EB-3, and EB-3 Other Worker preference categories as early as January.

Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State has reported that if the level of demand subsides, it is possible that these categories will remain current, however there is no evidence that demand will slow down for these categories, therefore visa applicants should be prepared for the implementation of Final Action Dates as early as January 2020.

In anticipation of a possible retrogression in EB-2 and EB-3, applicants may consider speaking to their attorneys about the possibility of filing any eligible EB-2 Worldwide and EB-3 Worldwide adjustment of status applications before the end of the year.

EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR)

The Categories EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR), and EB-5 Regional Centers (I5 & R5) appears as unavailable on the Visa Bulletin because the religious worker and EB-5 program were set to expire on November 21, 2019, pending a continuing resolution passed by Congress. On November 21st the President signed a continuing resolution keeping these categories available through December 20, 2019, until these programs are permanently funded by Congress.

Until them, Congress has imposed the following Final Action Dates for the month of December.

EB-4 Certain Religious Workers:

  • July 1, 2016 for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras
  • July 22, 2017 for Mexico
  • Current for all other countries

EB-5 Regional Centers (I5 & R5)

  • November 15, 2014 for China
  • January 1, 2018 for India
  • December 1, 2016 for Vietnam
  • Current for all other countries

Predictions for Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1:

EB-1 Worldwide has advanced six weeks to July 15, 2018. EB-1 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam have also advanced six weeks to July 15, 2018. EB-1 China has advanced 10 weeks to May 14, 2017, while EB-1 India has remained at January 01, 2015.

Charlie Oppenheim predicts that a normal to low level of demand will continue in the EB-1 Worldwide Category. As a result, he expects EB-1 Worldwide (along with El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) to continue to advance at a pace of up to 3 months.

EB-2:

EB-2 Worldwide (including EB-2 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam) are current for the month of December, but could retrogress as early as January 2020.

This month, EB-2 India advanced 2 days from May 12, 2009 to May 15, 2009 with the implementation of a Final Action Date.

EB-2 China advanced 2 months to June 22, 2015.

EB-3:

EB-3 Worldwide (including EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Vietnam) will remain current, with the possibility of a final action date being imposed as early as January 2020.

EB-3 China remains at November 1, 2015 for the month of December, while EB-3 China Other Workers advanced 1 month to March 1, 2008.

EB-3 India and EB-3 Other Workers India remain at January 1, 2009 for December.

EB-3 Philippines and EB-3 Other Workers Philippines advanced 1 month to March 1, 2018 for the month of December. It is predicted that this category will slow slightly to prevent future retrogression.

Demand for EB-3 Mexico and EB-3 Other Workers Mexico is at an all time high. Predictions are not yet available for this category in the foreseeable future.

EB-4:

The final action date for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will remain at July 1, 2016 for the month of December. The final action date for EB-4 Mexico will also remain at July 22, 2017.

EB-4 Worldwide, China, India, Philippines, and Vietnam remain current.

EB-5:

EB-5 China (non-regional center) has advanced 2 weeks to November 15, 2014, while EB-5 India (non-regional center) has advanced 3 weeks to January 1, 2018, and EB-5 Vietnam (non-regional center) has advanced 2 weeks to December 1, 2016.

Please click here to view the December visa bulletin.

For information about how to read the visa bulletin please click here.