Visa Bulletin Predictions
Charlie Oppenheim (State Department)

Visa bulletin predictions are made on a monthly basis by Charlie Oppenheim of the State Department to show how rapidly or slowly he expects the priority dates in the employment-based and family-based categories to move forward, or to retrogress.

Charlie predicts that the employment-based green card limit will rise to at least 290,000 in fiscal year 2022, an all-time high!

For the millions of people waiting in line in the employment-based and family-based categories, the visa bulletin predictions give them an idea of when they will be able to become lawful permanent residents.

You can stay up-to-date with the waiting times in the Visa Bulletin by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter. Also, see our Coronavirus – Immigration Updates page.


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Zoom Consultations Available!

@TravelGov will be hosting “Chats with Charlie” on our YouTube channel to discuss information provided in the monthly Visa Bulletin.  This month’s chat is scheduled to take place on September 15, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. EST to discuss the October Visa Bulletin.  Questions can be emailed to 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.

Visa Bulletin Predictions

Family-Based Preference Categories

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:

F1:   No movement expected
F2A: Current
F2B: No movement expected
F3:   No movement expected
F4:   No movement expected


Employment-Based Preference Categories

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First:

Worldwide: Current
China:         Current
India:          Current

Employment Second:

Worldwide: Current
China:         Up to several months
India:          Up to several months

Employment Third:

Worldwide:  A final action date could be imposed as early as November
China:          A retrogression of this date could occur as early as November
India:           A retrogression of this date could occur as early as November
Mexico:       A final action date could be imposed as early as November
Philippines: A final action date could be imposed as early as November

Employment Fourth:  Current for most countries

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras:  Limited, if any, movement expected
Mexico:  Limited, if any, movement expected

Employment Fifth:  Current for most countries

China: No forward movement

The above final action date projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen on a monthly basis through January.  The determination of the actual monthly final action dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and several other variables impacting processing.

Visa Bulletin Predictions – Q & A

visa bulletin predictions If you are the beneficiary of a family-based or employment-based visa petition that is subject to the preference categories (mostly everyone who is not an immediate relative—spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen), then you should know that Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division. He is responsible for issuing the monthly Visa Bulletin. The monthly Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability for any given month.

Charlie issues the Visa Bulletin each month for the next month and fixes the dates on the bulletin based on demand for visas. Since these visa categories are numerically limited, meaning that only a set number of visas are available each fiscal year, the more demand, the more the dates will move backward or stay the same. If there is less demand, the dates move forward.

Because persons born in a particular country can only use 7% of the worldwide numbers, some countries like India and China in the EB categories and Mexico and the Philippines in the FB categories have extremely long backlogs.

Charlie’s Fiscal Year 2022 Visa Bulletin Predictions

The EB limit will rise to at least 290,000 in fiscal year 2022, even higher than in the current fiscal year!

The FB limit in fiscal year 2022 is expected to remain at 226,000.


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