Analysis, Predictions, and Trends: Sep 2014 Visa Bulletin Update

As reported to MurthyDotCom readers following the release of the August 2014 Visa Bulletin, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has begun issuing analysis and predictions on the movement of cutoff dates each month, after the visa bulletin is released. These updates are based on monthly conversations with Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS). AILA has published the update based on the September 2014 Visa Bulletin after the release of the September 2014 Visa Bulletin.

EB2 India Advancement Less than Expected; Retrogression Coming Soon

In the September 2014 Visa Bulletin, the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India advanced, but not as much as was previously foreseen. The reason for this, as explained by Chief Oppenheim, is that the demand in the employment-based, first preference (EB1) category and the EB2 category for countries other than India, was higher than expected, resulting in the availability of fewer “extra” visa numbers to shift to the oversubscribed EB2 India category. There were also more EB2 India cases filed than anticipated, partly due to a large number of employment-based, third preference (EB3) to EB2 “upgrade” cases. Chief Oppenheim anticipates that the EB2 India category will retrogress soon – perhaps as early as November 2014. No predictions were given as to the expected cutoff date if and when this retrogression occurs.

EB3 Philippines Advanced to EB3 Worldwide

The employment-based, third preference (EB3) category for the Philippines advanced to the same cutoff date as EB3 worldwide, as of the September 2014 Visa Bulletin. The reason for this is, in part, due to the reduced demand for visa numbers in the EB1 and EB2 Philippines categories, which allowed for visa numbers to fall down to EB3 Philippines. Additionally, fewer EB3 Philippines applicants are coming forward with all the needed documents. Chief Oppenheim expects that the EB3 Philippines cutoff date will continue to match the EB3 worldwide cutoff date for the next few months. Later in fiscal year (FY) 2015, the cutoff date movement will depend upon whether there is greater usage in EB1 and EB2, or if the EB3 demand increases.

EB5 China Predictions for FY15, Unavailable for Remainder of FY14

In his conversation with AILA, Chief Oppenheim stated that the employment-based, fifth preference (immigrant investor) category “…continued to be available,” for the time being. However, on August 23, 2014, shortly after his discussion with AILA, Chief Oppenheim issued an alert that, based on updated information, EB5 China is now “unavailable” for the remainder of FY14. The alert further notes that:

“[A]ll China EB5 applicants who have been scheduled for interview at an overseas post based on the original establishment of the August and September cutoff dates…will not be impacted…[but that] no additional numbers are available for ‘comeback’ cases originally scheduled for interview in an earlier month who are just now returning, or for those first requesting an interview…USCIS offices may continue to accept and process… [EB5 China] cases…”

For FY15, Chief Oppenheim expects to have to establish a cutoff date for EB5 China by June 2015. The EB5 category is predicted to remain current for all other countries throughout the next fiscal year.

High Demand for 2014 Diversity Visa (DV)

The response rate and demand for diversity visas (DV) was higher than historical levels. The DOS always registers more applicants for the DV lottery as “winners” than the available supply of visas. This is to ensure that all DV lottery numbers are used and none are wasted. The DOS establishes the target number of lottery “winners” based on projections of how many winners will respond and successfully pursue the DV visa. In FY14, the response rate was much higher than anticipated. The DOS will adjust the registration targets for next year’s DV, in light of this increase in demand. Lottery applicants should never assume that being selected or registered guarantees a sure path to becoming a permanent resident of the United States.


The content of the visa bulletin depends upon a complex interplay of supply and demand for immigrant visas. Those interested in remaining informed regarding visa bulletin predictions and other immigration topics are encouraged to subscribe the free MurthyBulletin.

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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.