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October Visa Bulletin: What to Expect and Visa Projections with Charles Oppenheim

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In this segment, we would like to keep our readers informed on Visa Bulletin projections for the month of October. Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State provides a monthly analysis of each month’s Visa Bulletin including discussion of current trends and future projections for immigrant preference categories.

Family-Based Categories:

An increase in returned unused visa numbers for the month of July and weak demand for the F-2A and F-4 categories will keep movements in family-based categories steady for the month of October.

F-4 Worldwide has advanced only slightly. All family Worldwide categories have experienced minor advances except F-2B Mexico.

The Department of State plants to comply with the Administration’s Visa Modernization Proposal, an initiative which aims to advance the dates of family-based categories as aggressively as possible during the first three quarters of the fiscal year, with the purpose of maximizing the usage of available numbers, and reducing available numbers for use in the final quarter. This initiative will likely cause similar retrogressions as in the F-4 China and India preference categories.

Employment Categories:

EB-4 and SR (Religious Worker) Preference Categories: For Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) applicants subject to priority date backlogs, it is recommended that applicants and/or their counsel request USCIS to forward their file to the National Benefits Center (NBC), at the conclusion of their I-485 interview. This will allow the applicant’s case to remain in a “pending demand” file, to give the Department of State a sense of the demand for this category, and streamline the approval process of these applications once the priority date has become current. While USCIS adjudicators cannot request a visa number for the applicant if the priority date is not current, the National Benefits Center (NBC) has the ability to request a visa number for the applicant upon receipt of the file.

EB-4 India and Mexico; Final Action Dates El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras: New visa number for FY 2017 are expected to bring the EB-4 India and Mexico categories current in the month of October. The final action date for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will fall somewhere around the summer of 2015 or beyond. There is high applicant demand for El Salvador which may advance the final action date for Guatemala and Honduras.

EB-2 and EB-3 Worldwide: The EB-2 Worldwide final action date is lagging behind the EB-3 Worldwide final action date. It is not expected that this will create a EB-3 downgrade phenomenon as in the China EB categories. EB-2 Worldwide is excepted to become current in the month of October, while EB-3 Worldwide is not expected to become current despite low demand for this category.

EB-2 and EB-3 China; Retrogressions expected for next fiscal year: The final action date for EB-2 China and EB-3 China is expected to remain the same for the remainder of the fiscal year. In the month of October, EB-2 China is expected to advance to a date in late 2011 or early 2012. EB-3 China’s final action date is expected to advance to late 2012 or early 2013. EB-3 retrogressions are expected for the next fiscal year, until the increase in demand for EB-3 China phases out.

EB-2 and EB-3 India: For the month of October, EB-2 India is expected to advance to early 2007. During October, slow gradual movements are expected of up to a few weeks at a time for EB-3 India. EB-3 India is likely to remain at a date in 2005 for the month of October. EB-3 India final action dates are not expected to change significantly.

EB-5 China: There is not enough visibility in this category to determine where EB-5 China dates are likely to fall until September to mid-October.

EB-1 India and China: EB-1 India and China are expected to become current in October as a result of the final action cut-off dates imposed this fiscal year.

Filing Dates: No predictions are available at this time in terms of filing dates for these categories.

To view the September visa bulletin click here.