May 2017 Visa Bulletin Check-in: Explanations and Predictions

Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS), provides visa bulletin explanations and predictions nearly every month. The update for the May 2017 Visa Bulletin brings mostly bad news. Further, Mr. Oppenheim provides no information or explanation related to the unexpected movement within the dates for filing chart, and the subsequent refusal by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to allow applicants to use those dates for purposes of applying for adjustment of status. More details on this are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, May 2017 Visa Bulletin: Unusual Movement in Dates for Filing Chart (11.Apr.2017).

Worldwide: Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) and Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

In recent weeks, the EB1 and EB2 categories for worldwide, or rest of the world (ROW), have seen sharp increases in demand. Mr. Oppenheim warns that this may cause delays in final adjudication of these cases near the end of the summer.

China and India: EB1

EB1 India and China continue to see heavy demand. Mr. Oppenheim expects to set a cutoff date in the EB1 category for these two countries by July 2017, and possibly sooner.

India: EB2

A number of months ago, Mr. Oppenheim predicted that, by the end of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2017), the cutoff date for EB2 India should return to last year’s October 2008 cutoff date. Due to increased demand in this already oversubscribed category, however, even this relatively meager goal now may not be met. It is still possible that the date will advance as far as December 2008 by the end of the current fiscal year, but that depends on the number of Indians who “upgrade” from the employment-based, third preference category to EB2.

China: EB2 and EB3

The cutoff date of October 1, 2014, for EB3 China in the latest visa bulletin, is significantly more favorable than the EB2 China February 8, 2013 cutoff date. EB2 China is unlikely to advance much in the coming months. EB3 China, on the other hand, may continue to see forward progress until and unless there is a substantial increase in the number of EB2-to-EB3 “downgrade” cases.

Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4) and Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

The EB4 category for religious workers and the EB5 regional center program are set to sunset (i.e. expire) on April 28, 2017. Therefore, for the May 2017 Visa Bulletin, these categories are currently listed as unavailable. Still, assuming the programs are extended by Congress, as expected, these categories will all be altered to match the standard EB4 and non-regional center EB5 cutoff dates.


MurthyDotCom will continue to closely track developments related to the monthly visa bulletin. Subscribe to the MurthyBulletin to receive weekly updates on this and other matters related to immigration law.


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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.