If you are interested in knowing how the dates in the Visa Bulletin will advance or retrogress in the future, we are thrilled to tell you about the best way to do so, on the State Department’s new program entitled Chats with Charlie.
The Visa Bulletin is published on a monthly basis by the State Department. It shows the backlogs for persons who have been sponsored for green cards under the employment-based (EB), family-based (FB) and diversity lottery categories.
There are millions of persons waiting in line for EB and FB green cards, and the wait times vary depending on their EB/FB category and their country of birth.
Sometimes the dates in the Visa Bulletin move forward very slightly, sometimes they advance months at a time and other times they move backwards.
For persons waiting in line, it is important to know which way the dates in their category are going to move, and how quickly. Chats with Charlie will be a great source of information.
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A few years ago, Charlie Oppenheim of the State Department, the person who calculates the dates on the Visa Bulletin each month, started meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and answering questions about how he expected the dates of each category would move in the future.
As soon as we received AILA’s monthly “Check-In with Charlie”, we shared this information with our readers on the Visa Bulletin Predictions page on our website.
However, sometime in 2020, the previous Administration cancelled the monthly “Check-In with Charlie” meetings. This was very disappointing.
Chats with Charlie Start on March 17
That’s why we were thrilled when the State Department published the following on March 12, 2021:
“@TravelGov will begin hosting “Chats with Charlie” on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/TravelGov) to discuss information provided in the monthly Visa Bulletin. The first chat is scheduled to take place on March 17, 2021 at 1:00 pm EST to discuss the April Visa Bulletin. Questions can be emailed to VisaBulletin@state.gov ahead of the event with “Chat with Charlie Question” in the subject line. Questions will also be taken via the YouTube Live Chat and will be answered in real-time. The event is intended to address issues of general interest related to the content of the Visa Bulletin, and no policy, case, or post specific questions will be accepted.”
Now, for the first time, if you have questions about the Visa Bulletin and how the dates in your category will move in the future, you can ask Charlie directly.
I have listened to Charlie speak at AILA conferences for many years. The information that he provides to immigration lawyers about the Visa Bulletin, and his predictions about advances and retrogressions in the future, are invaluable.
Now, for the first time, you will be able not only to listen to Charlie speak about the Visa Bulletin and his predictions, but to ask him questions.
Chats with Charlie – Additional Resources
We recognize that many of you will be working during this week’s Chats with Charlie, and will be unable to watch him live.
We have embedded a copy of his YouTube chat on on this page and on our Visa Bulletin Predictions page so you can watch his presentation whenever it is convenient for you.
We will also include the highlights of Charlie’s presentation on the same page.
We look forward to doing this on a monthly basis.
For those of you who will be submitting questions to Charlie via e-mail, as the State Department advises, remember that your questions must be general in nature. Refrain from asking questions that are specific to your case. Also, remember that Charlie works for the State Department, not for the USCIS. He has no control, or inside information, about whether the USCIS will choose to honor the Final Action Dates or the Filing Dates for any particular month.
I have always found Charlie Oppenheim to be both straightforward and extremely helpful, and it is great that the new Administration has seen fit to allow him to interact with, and thus better inform, the immigrant community!