Visa bulletin predictions are released 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.
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 and the visa bulletin predictions by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.
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Visa Bulletin Predictions by DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim (1-22-20)
Visa Bulletin Predictions – Family-based Preference Categories
All F2A categories remain current in February. However, per the January 2020 Visa Bulletin, prepare for a final action date to be imposed within the next few months across all F2A categories.
In February the F4 Worldwide Final Action Dates will retrogress due to a dramatic increase in demand for this category, with F4 Worldwide retrogressing 7 months to July 1, 2006. Expect this date to be held for the next several months.
Visa Bulletin Predictions – Employment-based Preference Categories
In February the final action date for EB-1 Worldwide advances two months to December 1, 2018. Based on currently available information, it remains possible–yet too early to confirm–that this category could become current in the summer of 2020. The final action dates for EB-1 China and EB-1 India continue to hold at May 22, 2017 and January 1, 2015 respectively in February.
EB-2 Worldwide is current for February 2020. Charlie notes that demand for EB-2 Worldwide numbers continues to trend in such a way that a final action date may be imposed at some point during the second half of FY2020.
EB-2 China advances two weeks in February to July 15, 2015, and EB-2 India advances one day to May 19, 2009.
Charlie notes that EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Other Workers Worldwide will become subject to a final action date in March 2020. Charlie will determine what that date will be upon receipt of data from USCIS in February 2020.
EB-3 China advances one month to January 1, 2016 in February 2020, slightly widening the final action date spread between EB-3 China’s and EB-2 China’s final action dates, placing EB-3 China 5.5 months ahead of EB-2 China. Evidence of significant downgrades from EB-2 to EB-3 have not yet materialized, but Charlie continues to watch these categories closely.
EB-3 India advances one week to January 8, 2009 in February 2020, narrowing the gap with EB-2 India, final action date of May 19, 2009, to about four months.
The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances 2.5 months in February 2020, which exceeds the “up to one month” advancement projected in the January 2020 Visa Bulletin. According to Charlie, the reason for this more aggressive advancement was to allow for additional number usage before EB-3 Worldwide becomes subject to a final action date in March 2020. Approximately 36% of EB-3 Philippines demand is processed at USCIS, with 64% processed at the U.S. Consulate in Manila.
The final action dates for EB-4 Mexico and EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras hold at September 1, 2017 and July 1, 2016 respectively in February 2020. Given current demand trends, Charlie expects to impose a final action date for EB-4 India as early as July 2020.
In February 2020, EB-5 China advances one week to December 1, 2014. As applicants are not becoming documentarily qualified as quickly as Charlie might expect, in the future this category may advance more rapidly than previously anticipated. EB-5 India advances 4 months to September 1, 2018 in February 2020, and EB-5 Vietnam advances one week to December 15, 2016.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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