Immigrant Visas–November 2016 Priority Dates; Predictions of Future Visa Availability

22:37 18 October in News Updates


Each month, the U.S. Department of State publishes its Visa Bulletin, in which it establishes cut-off dates in each immigration category, for each nationality.  The recently released Visa Bulletin for November 2016 shows slight forward movement for most categories.  Significant advancements include an almost 10 month advancement in the EB-2 India preference category and a 5 month advancement in the EB-2 China preference category. 



PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY:    Courtesy of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14071401 (posted October 17, 2016).  The information below is based on the discussion between Mr. Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State’s Visa Office (VO) and AILA’s Liaison Committee regarding current visa demand and projections in various categories.   It is important to note that all projections, including those noted in the Visa Bulletin, are subject to change depending on demand that is reported by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) in real time.

 Current Visa Availability for all EB-1 Categories

  • Mr. Oppenheim anticipates that all EB-1 preference categories will remain current for at least the next 6 months.  He notes that while current EB-1 China demand is still relatively high, it is below the levels seen at this time last year and therefore he doesn’t anticipate any retrogression until at least the second-half of the fiscal year, if at all.

 EB-2 India

  • While Mr. Oppenheim’s initial projections had EB-2 India advancing approximately 4 months, the November Visa bulletin shows a 9.5 month advancement of the cut-off date from January 15, 2007 to November 1, 2007.  Mr. Oppenheim points to lower than expected demand as the reason for this jump forward and indicates that positive movement in the EB-2 India category should continue for the foreseeable future, though actual visa usage will determine whether this aggressive pace will continue or whether the advancement will slow to more modest increments.  He indicates that his short-term goal is to return the cut-off date for EB-2 India back up to November 2008 levels within the next 4 visa bulletins, which should be achievable if actual monthly visa usage falls in line with the projected targets.

 EB-2 and EB-3 China

  • The cut-off date for EB-2 China advances by 5 months in November, from February 15, 2012 to July 15, 2012. The EB-3 China cut-off date advances almost 3 months, from January 22, 2013 to April 15, 2013.  Given the fact that the EB-3 cut-off date remains ahead of the EB-2 cut-off date, Mr. Oppenheim anticipates that the EB-2 China cut-off date may be in store for continuous significant increases as EB-3 “downgrades” may continue to reduce demand in the EB-2 category.  Mr. Oppenheim’s goal is to see EB-2 China’s cut-off date return to September 2012 levels within the next 3 months.

 EB-3 Philippines

  • The November Visa Bulletin shows a 4 month jump in the cut-off date for EB-3 Philippines, from December 1, 2010 to April 1, 2011.  Mr. Oppenheim indicates that demand in this category is currently lower than normal and that the EB-3 Philippines category may continue to advance at or near this pace as long as demand remains at current levels.

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