DOS Predictions: FB2A to Move Forward, EB2 India to Retrogress

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has announced that it will now begin to issue a report each month intended to provide reliable predictions and analysis regarding the movement of cutoff dates in the visa bulletin. These reports will be based on discussions with Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State (DOS), following the release of each month’s visa bulletin. The predictions made in this month’s AILA report, and summarized here for MurthyDotCom readers, is in addition to the insights offered in the August 2014 Visa Bulletin.

Family Second Preference “A” (FB2A) Likely to Advance Soon

Chief Oppenheim predicts that the long-stagnant FB2A cutoff dates will move forward in September 2014. As of the August 2014 Visa Bulletin, the FB2A cutoff date stands at March 15, 2011 for Mexico, and May 1, 2012 for all other countries of chargeability. In the upcoming September 2014 Visa Bulletin, these dates could advance, “possibly as far as late fall 2012.”

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) India to Retrogress

There is little question that EB2 India will see retrogression (i.e. backward movement of cutoff dates) in fiscal year 2015 (FY15). This retrogression could occur as early as November 2014, a month after the October 1st start of FY15.

The reason for this is a bit complicated. The cutoff dates in the visa bulletin are a product of visa number supply-and-demand, and setting these dates involves making estimations based on a number of variables. These variables include historical patterns, expected future demand, and case processing trends. The DOS notes that adjustment-of-status (I-485) applications submitted in July and August 2014 will not increase visa number demand in EB2 until sometime in early FY15. This is because the demand for visa numbers does not hit the DOS until the cases are processed by the USCIS and visa numbers are requested. This is why there can be a delay between a large influx of applications and retrogression within a category.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The DOS did not offer predictions for EB3. However, the report did review the unusual developments in the EB3 China category in the recent past. In mid-2013 through May 2014, the EB3 China cutoff date was more favorable than EB2 China. This generated requests to “downgrade’ from many who would otherwise be in EB2. As a result, the demand for EB3 China visa numbers significantly increased each month in early calendar year 2014, leading the category to retrogress considerably; demand eventually dwindled, allowing the dates to again move forward in the August 2014 Visa Bulletin.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

The DOS expects to have to establish a cutoff date in the EB5 category in FY15 for China. This may happen by June 2015. The exact timing depends upon a number of factors, including the pace of case processing by the USCIS.


The Murthy Law Firm appreciates the willingness of the DOS, and specifically Chief Oppenheim, to provide insights into the expectations for visa bulletin cutoff date movement. The movement of cutoff dates in the monthly bulletin can be mystifying and frustrating for many. The predictions and explanations offered by the DOS at least should help to provide some transparency to the process.

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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.