June Visa Bulletin: Explanations for Retrogression

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) provides a monthly visa bulletin “check in” with Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division. The most recent check in provides insights into some of the unexpected developments in the June 2016 Visa Bulletin, as well as some predictions for upcoming visa bulletins. The cutoff dates discussed below are all from the final action (FA) chart. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is only allowing the use of the FA chart in June for purposes of filing an adjustment-of-status application (form I-485).

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

The demand for EB1 worldwide visa numbers continues to be very high. The DOS cautions that, if the demand levels continue at the current rate, “corrective action” (i.e. establishment of a cutoff date) may be necessary before the end of the fiscal year.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

Worldwide and India

The demand for EB2 worldwide is extremely high. As the result of this demand level, the DOS advises that there will not be any unused numbers available to shift to EB2 India and China.

The combination of high levels of demand for visa numbers in the EB2 India category with the lack of excess numbers from EB2 worldwide, made it necessary to retrogress the EB2 India cutoff date to October 1, 2004. Part of the EB2 India demand is attributed to EB3 upgrade cases, which are not visible to the DOS until the visa number is requested. Greater visibility in this area, according to the DOS, would reduce the need to abruptly retrogress the cutoff date. The DOS expects that the EB2 India cutoff date will advance slowly for the rest of the fiscal year, at a pace similar to the EB3 advancement.


The June 2016 Visa Bulletin contains retrogression in the EB2 China category, as well. The cutoff date for EB2 China moves back to January 1, 2010, as does EB3 China. Since the cutoff dates for both categories are the same, and are expected to remain so for the rest of the fiscal year, there will no longer be a motivation for applicants chargeable to China to downgrade from EB2 to EB3 in the immediate future.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4)

The DOS expects that the FA cutoff date established in the EB4 category for those chargeable to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will remain unchanged for the rest of the fiscal year. It is also expected that EB4 for India and Mexico will retrogress to the same January 1, 2010 cutoff date in the near future. The need for this cutoff date is, in part, due to a lack of excess numbers that would otherwise be available.


As always, the explanations and insights provided by Mr. Oppenheim are appreciated. MurthyDotCom will continue to track developments related to the monthly visa bulletin, and will post updates as new information becomes available.


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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.