August 2016 Visa Bulletin: Explanations and Predictions

The U.S. Department of State (DOS), through Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, provides monthly visa bulletin insights and predictions. The information provided this month involves expectations for September and prospects for October 2016, the beginning of fiscal year 2017 (FY17).

Summary of Insights & Predictions

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

The DOS established a cutoff date of January 1, 2010 for EB1 India and China in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin. DOS expects that EB1 India and China will return to being current in October, but there is a possibility that it will take until November.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

The August 2016 Visa Bulletin brought, for the first time ever, an EB2 worldwide cutoff date. This cutoff date of February 1, 2014 is expected to remain unchanged in the September 2016 Visa Bulletin. The DOS predicts that the EB2 worldwide category will return to being current at the start of FY17.

The DOS notes that EB3 India should advance modestly in September, and confirmed earlier predictions that EB2 India will hold at just one week in advance of the EB3 India cutoff date. EB2 China is not expected to see any cutoff date movement in September. The cutoff dates for EB2 India and China will improve in October, but are not likely to return to the cutoff dates that were in place prior to the current retrogression until somewhat later in FY17.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

The cutoff date of January 1, 2010 in EB3 China is unchanged from last month, and the DOS does not expect any advancement in this category in September. As noted above, EB3 India is expected to advance slightly in September. The ongoing, highly favorable EB3 worldwide cutoff date is expected to remain at a close-to-current point through at least October 2016.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4)

Consistent with prior information, a cutoff date of January 1, 2010 continues to apply in the EB4 category to nationals of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This cutoff date now also applies to EB4 India. This date will remain unchanged in the September 2016 Visa Bulletin.

The DOS expects EB4 Mexico and India to return to a “current” status in October. The situation is less favorable for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The DOS anticipates setting a 2015 cutoff date for these countries, with slow forward movement during FY17.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

The EB5 regional center program is currently scheduled to sunset (i.e. end), effective October 1, 2016. Fortunately, Congress is widely expected to renew the program prior to the sunset date, as it has done at least a half-dozen times since the program was first established in 1992. But, until this occurs, the DOS is unable to offer any predictions as to cutoff date movement in this category.


The information provided by Mr. Oppenheim and the DOS regarding the visa bulletin is greatly appreciated. As soon as any new information is available, details will be posted on MurthyDotComSubscribe to the free MurthyBulletin for future updates on the monthly visa bulletin and other immigration law matters.


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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.