Visa Bulletin Analysis, Predictions, and Trends: Unexpected Movement for EB3

Each month, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provides a report with insights into visa bulletin cutoff date movements. This month’s report, which follows the release of the August 2015 Visa Bulletin, discusses the unanticipated movement in the employment-based, third preference (EB3) category, and offers a few short-term predictions.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) for India & China

As expected, the cutoff date for EB2 India did not advance, remaining stuck at a cutoff date of October 1, 2008. The DOS predicts that the EB2 cutoff date for India will not advance in September, either, which is the final month of fiscal year (FY) 2015. The DOS explains that cutoff date advancement in this category will only be possible if there is a significant reduction in demand for EB1 and EB2 visa numbers from other countries of chargeability. The DOS is monitoring this closely.

The EB2 cutoff date for China advanced to December 15, 2013. The DOS predicts that this date will not move much, if at all, in the September 2015 Visa Bulletin.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) for India & China

The key developments in the August 2015 Visa Bulletin occurred in the EB3 category. The EB3 China cutoff date unexpectedly retrogressed by seven years, to June 1, 2004. This surprise development is connected to prior expectations of unused family-sponsored numbers that would have shifted to EB3 China; extra numbers that did not materialize. The DOS expects that the cutoff date for this category will shift forward to a 2010 or 2011 date near the beginning of FY16, which begins October 1, 2015.

The DOS did not explain the reason for the four-month cutoff date jump in the EB3 category for India. This advancement had not been predicted in last month’s DOS report. The DOS now states, however, that EB3 India, China, and the Philippines may move forward by several months in September. Whether this occurs depends upon demand for visa numbers in EB3 worldwide during the early part of August 2015.

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

The FB2A category for spouses and (minor) children of U.S. permanent residents continues to experience rapid cutoff date movement. The cutoff date in this category for August is December 15, 2013, with the exception of Mexico, which is a month behind. The DOS attributes this movement to a lack of demand for visa numbers in this category and expects the movement to continue.


As evidenced by the August 2015 Visa Bulletin, cutoff date movement does not always follow the predictions made by the DOS. The reason for this is largely due to data being provided to the DOS by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that is not necessarily accurate or up-to-date. As previously discussed on MurthyDotCom, these agencies are working to improve the exchange of information to help better track the number of immigrant visas available, which should help make cutoff date movement more predictable.


Copyright © 2015, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

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.