Visa Bulletin Predictions: Family-Based Categories

As reported in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Fiscal Year 2014 Visa Bulletin Predictions (25.Oct.2013), the Chief of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division made a number of predictions regarding how much (or little) cutoff date movement in the employment-based categories is likely to occur throughout the 2014 fiscal year, which began October 1, 2013. The Chief also offered his predictions as expected for the family-based (FB) categories, summarized here for the benefit of MurthyDotCom readers.

Family-Based, First Preference (FB1)

The DOS anticipates that the FB1 category, which is for unmarried sons and/or daughters of U.S. citizens, will progress three-to-five weeks per month in the upcoming months in the worldwide chargeability category.

Family-Based, Second Preference “A” (FB2A)

The FB2A category is for spouses and children of permanent residents. The DOS expects that the cutoff date for this category, which is September 8, 2013 for all countries of chargeability except Mexico in the November 2013 Visa Bulletin, will hold at that date for the foreseeable future. The cutoff date for Mexico is September 1, 2013, but the DOS predicts that this date may see retrogression (i.e. move backwards).

As previously reported, the forward advancement in this category over the past year, including a period when it was current, was remarkable and unprecedented. While this is a function of supply and demand, the reason behind the decrease in demand is unclear. For procedural reasons, many of these cases are typically processed for immigrant visas at the U.S. consulates abroad, rather than through adjustment of status applications (I-485 forms) in the United States. The DOS reports that for the past 18 to 24 months, over half of the applicants in this category have failed to appear for their scheduled visa interviews at the U.S. consulates. This is peculiar, given that it is necessary to file a series of forms, pay fees, and otherwise take proactive steps in order for a case to be scheduled for a consular interview. The net result of this seeming lack of follow-through by many applicants is that fewer visa numbers are used, and the supply of visa numbers more closely matches demand for those numbers.

Family-Based, Second Preference “B” (FB2B)

The FB2B category is expected to see advancement of three-to-five weeks per month throughout the 2014 fiscal year. This category is for unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of permanent residents.

Family-Based, Third and Fourth Preference (FB3 and FB4)

The FB3 category, like FB2B, is expected to see monthly advancement in the range of three-to-five weeks per month throughout the category. FB3 applies to married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. The FB4 category for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens is expected to advance by two-to-three weeks per month. It should be noted that, while movement is expected in both of these categories, the backlogs in visa number availability are extraordinarily lengthy, with cutoff dates that are more than a decade old.


The news for the FB2A category is likely to be of interest and benefit to many. It is a category that sometimes is overlooked as an option. The other family preference categories continue to be heavily backlogged, with moderate regular advancement predicted for FY14. MurthyDotCom will continue to provide updates and insights whenever reliable information becomes available.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.