Analysis, Predictions, and Trends: Jan 2015 Visa Bulletin Update

Each month, Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State (DOS), provides the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) with some additional insight and predictions regarding the visa bulletin. This month, Chief Oppenheim provides a glimmer of hope to Indian nationals with long-pending employment-based, second preference (EB2) cases.

EB2 India: Potential for Advancement

The EB2 India cutoff date retrogressed to February 15, 2005 in November 2014, and has remained stagnant since. The DOS previously projected that this cutoff date would not move forward before June or July 2015. However, the DOS is now considering whether to advance the cutoff date earlier in the fiscal year. No information is provided regarding when, exactly, this may occur, nor is there any indication yet regarding how far the dates will advance. MurthyDotCom will closely track this development.

Increase in EB2 “Downgrades” to EB3 for China

The EB2 China cutoff date in the January 2015 Visa Bulletin lags behind the corresponding employment-based, third preference (EB3) category by more than a year. Thus, the DOS expects an influx of demand in the EB3 China category, arising from requests to “downgrade” from EB2. This will slow the movement in EB3 China at some point in the future.

EB5 China Cutoff Date Expected

The DOS still believes it will become necessary to establish a cutoff date for the employment-based, fifth preference (EB5) investor visa category for China during fiscal year 2015 (FY15). Mr. Oppenheim will provide more information in the March 2015 Visa Bulletin, if a determination can be made by that time.

Executive Action: No Priority Date Impact Expected

The DOS does not expect that the visa bulletin cutoff dates will be affected by the President’s administrative actions, which were announced on November 20, 2014. The DOS explains that the Obama administration’s plans provide a general concept of a preregistration of adjustment of status applications for those foreign nationals with cases that do not have current priority dates. This type of procedure would involve the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), not the DOS, and would not allow issuance of a visa number to such applicants earlier than would otherwise be the case.


While Chief Oppenheim may not be able to provide more specificity in his predictions, the information he does provide can still be quite useful for stakeholders making long-term immigration plans. To remain informed about changes in the monthly visa bulletin, subscribe to 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.