VISA BULLETIN AND PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY
Each month, the U.S. Department of State publishes its Visa Bulletin, which lists dates of immigrant visa availability based on priority date, visa category, and country of nationality. The purpose of the Visa Bulletin is to provide applicants for permanent residency an update as to when their priority date may become current so that they may proceed to the last step in the greencard process. The recently released Visa Bulletin for July 2019 reflects minimal to no movement in employment-based categories. As the end of Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019) approaches on September 30, 2019, visa availability will begin to slow in some categories and become unavailable in others. This means that applicants with a priority date that is current should make every effort to file the last step in the greencard process before any retrogression takes place.
PREDICTIONS OF FUTURE VISA AVAILABILITY: Courtesy of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA InfoNet Doc. No. AILA Doc. No. 14071401 (posted June 21, 2019). 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.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST PREFERENCE (EB-1)
Retrogression in this category is predicted as early as August 2019. If demand trends allow, the goal is that the Final Action Date in this category will return to the current level (i.e., April 22, 2018) in October 2019.
In July, advances approximately two months to May 8, 2017. No additional forward movement is expected in this category for the remainder of FY2019. Retrogression may also be necessary as mentioned above for EB-1 Worldwide.
The Final Action Date remains the same at January 1, 2015. No further forward movement will occur in this category during FY2019. If possible, the goal is for EB-1 India to return to a Final Action Date of February 22, 2017 in October 2019.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED SECOND PREFERENCE (EB-2)
Based on high demand, it is anticipated that EB-2 Worldwide will have a Final Action Date imposed during FY19, and possibly as early as August 2019. At this time, is it is not clear how far back the date imposed might be. While it is possible that the Final Action Date for EB-2 Worldwide will hold in August 2019 and be limited to September 2019, the DOS cautions to file any current cases through the month of July 2019, as it is unclear whether these priority dates will still be current in August 2019. The goal, if possible, is to return this category to current in October 2019
In July, EB-2 China advances three months to November 1, 2016. The prediction is that this category may share a Final Action Date with the EB-2 Worldwide category, if corrective action is required for EB-2 Worldwide in August 2019.
Advances 5 days to April 24, 2009 in July. The DOS predicts this category will continue to advance at a pace of up to one week until the limit is reached.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED THIRD PREFERENCE (EB-3)
As with EB-2, there is heavy demand in the EB-3 category, in addition to USCIS projections for additional demand. This demand is causing similar changes in the projections for this category.
Retrogression is expected at some point during this fiscal year, perhaps as early as August 2019.
Advances 3.5 months to January 1, 2016 in July, and EB-3 China Other Workers advances about two months to November 22, 2007. The DOS predicts advancement of up to several months for the EB-3 category.
The Final Action Date continues to hold at July 1, 2009, with little if any forward movement predicted in the immediate future. Any required retrogression for EB-3 Worldwide will also impact the Final Action Date for EB-3 India.
Will become current in July 2019, advancing from the June 2019 Final Action Date of November 1, 2018. However, this category is expected to reflect the EB-3 Worldwide date, meaning that there may be a short window for applicants to file between now and the end of July 2019, when the Final Action Date for EB-3 Worldwide may retrogress.