October 2016 Visa Bulletin Check-In: 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. As discussed in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Overview of October 2016 Visa Bulletin (15.Sep.2016), the first visa bulletin of fiscal year 2017 (FY17) includes predictions for movement of priority dates in the coming months. This latest update from Mr. Oppenheim provides some additional details.

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

The DOS predicts that EB1 will remain current for all countries of chargeability for the foreseeable future.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) and Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

EB2 is current in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin for all countries of chargeability except China and India, and is expected to remain so for the first half of FY17. EB2 China moves to February 15, 2012, which is about a year behind the EB3 category for China. The DOS expects this, once again, will prompt EB2-to-EB3 “downgrade” filings from many Chinese applicants. Mr. Oppenheim is hoping to avoid having to move the priority date for EB3 China any further ahead of EB2 China than it already is.

EB2 India, which has a cutoff date of January 15, 2007 in October, is anticipated to advance by up to four months each month. EB3 India, on the other hand, lags far behind at March 1, 2005, and is expected to move at a snail’s pace for at least the next few months.

EB3 Philippines advances to December 1, 2010 in the October 2016 Visa Bulletin. Mr. Oppenheim expects that, for the time being, this cutoff date will only move by about three weeks per month. However, by the end of the fiscal year, Mr. Oppenheim believes EB3 Philippines may reach a 2013 priority date.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

For regional center cases, this category is unavailable for all countries of chargeability in October. This is because the regional center program will expire if it is not reauthorized by Congress before October 1st. The program has been reauthorized – oftentimes on the eve of the date the program was scheduled to expire – many times over the years. In anticipation that the program will be extended by Congress yet again, the DOS is still allowing for tentative immigrant visa appointments to be scheduled for these cases for the second half of October.

Retrogression in Dates for Filing (DF) Chart

The above predictions all pertain to the cutoff dates in the final action (FA) chart. But, this latest visa bulletin also sees some unusual retrogression in the DF chart. Mr. Oppenheim explains that this was necessary because the anticipated demand in those categories far outstrips the supply of visa numbers.


MurthyDotCom will provide updates on the monthly visa bulletin, as new information is made available. To receive a weekly digest of these and other articles related to immigration law, 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.