December 2015 Visa Bulletin: Predictions Provided

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) December 2015 Visa Bulletin contains modest advancements in the employment-based (EB) final action (FA) cutoff dates. The cutoff dates in the date of filing (DF) chart remain unchanged. As of the time of this writing, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not yet indicated whether the dates in the DF chart may be used as a basis for filing an adjustment-of-status application (form I-485) in December. The DOS also has provided estimates for cutoff date movement in the FA chart for the upcoming months.

Employment-Based, First and Fourth Preferences (EB1 and EB4)

The EB1 and EB4 categories remain current for all countries of chargeability under both the FA and DF charts. The DOS predicts that these categories will remain current through March 2016, which marks the end of the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 (FY16).

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

The EB2 category remains current for FA and DF, with the exception of India and China. The DF dates are unchanged, with EB2 India’s DF cutoff date set at July 1, 2009 and EB2 China set at January 1, 2013. The FA date for EB2 India advances by ten months to June 1, 2007. EB2 China’s FA date stays stagnant at February 1, 2012.

The DOS expects that the EB2 India cutoff date in the FA chart will move forward by up to eight months during each month of the second quarter of FY16 (January to March 2016). The DOS predicts little, if any, forward movement in the EB2 China FA cutoff dates during the same period.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The EB3 worldwide FA cutoff date continues to be close to current. This category advances by two weeks to September 1, 2015. Mexico shares the same cutoff date, which is also the DF date for both EB3 worldwide and Mexico. The DOS predictions note that the rapid movement in EB3 worldwide during FY15 was done to generate demand for visa numbers in this category. The cutoff date may advance even further in the coming months, if the demand does not materialize. The DOS expects that EB3 Mexico’s cutoff dates will continue to match the worldwide dates.

EB3 India’s FA cutoff date moves by three weeks to April 22, 2004. The DF date is unchanged at July 1, 2005. EB3 China’s FA date continues to advance rapidly, moving to April 15, 2012. The DF date for EB3 China remains at October 1, 2013. The DOS expects that EB3 India’s FA cutoff date could advance by up to three weeks per month through the first quarter of FY16. China’s EB3 cutoff date is expected to continue to advance rapidly over the next few months.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Other Workers

The FA and DF cutoff dates for EB3 other workers continue to match the general EB3 cutoff dates, with the exception of China. China’s EB3 other workers cutoff date advances to August 1, 2006 for FA, and the DF date remains unchanged at January 1, 2007.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

With the exception of China, the EB5 category is current for both FA and DF. China’s EB5 cutoff date for FA becomes December 15, 2013. The DF cutoff date for EB5 China continues to be May 1, 2015. The DOS expects EB5 to stay current for most countries, but expects slow forward movement for EB5 China.


The predictions provided by the DOS may be disappointing to many stakeholders, but they nevertheless are helpful for immigration planning purposes. Unfortunately, the DOS offered no predictions regarding the DF chart. Subscribe to the MurthyBulletin to receive weekly notifications of all immigration news, including updates related to the monthly visa bulletin.


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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.