February 2018 Visa Bulletin Check-In: Predictions for Impact of In-Person Interview Requirement

Most months, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, Charles Oppenheim, provides visa bulletin explanations and predictions. For the February 2018 Visa Bulletin, Mr. Oppenheim forecasts how the new in-person interview requirement, which was recently implemented for most employment-based applications for adjustment of status (form I-485), may impact movement of cutoff dates in the monthly visa bulletin. He also provides an encouraging prediction for the employment-based, third preference (EB3) category for India. All of the predictions provided relate solely to the final action (FA) charts.

In-Person Interviews Could Create More Instability in Cutoff Date Movement

As explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Provides Clarification on In-Person Interview Requirement in EB I-485 Cases (23.Oct.2017), the beneficiary of any I-485 filed on or after March 6, 2017, based on an I-140 (employment-based) petition, I-730 (asylee / refugee) petition, or I-129F (fiancé/e) petition, is subject to an in-person interview. There is widespread concern that implementing this requirement could lead to delays because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lacks the necessary personnel. How this will impact cutoff date movement remains to be seen, but Mr. Oppenheim believes that, if this causes delays in adjudications, it will lead to less visibility regarding the demand for visa numbers. For the short-term, there may be faster advancement of cutoff dates; but, once the initial transition period passes, it could result in slower movement, or even retrogression in some categories.

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1): Cutoff Dates for China and India This Summer

Mr. Oppenheim expects the EB1 category to remain current for the coming months. But, as has been predicted since the start of fiscal year 2018, a cutoff date will likely be imposed for EB1 China and India during the summer.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) India: Encouraging Prediction

EB3 India is expected to advance by one-to-three months per month through April or May 2018. Mr. Oppenheim notes that he has very little visibility of demand for EB3 India cases with cutoff dates beyond August 2007. Therefore, once the final action date reaches this date, there is the potential for rapid advancement to generate further demand. This could occur by the end of fiscal year 2018, or sometime during fiscal year 2019, which begins October 1, 2018. No further details were provided regarding how far the cutoff date may advance.


MurthyDotCom will continue to closely monitor and report on movement and predictions related to the monthly visa bulletin. Subscribe to the MurthyBulletin to receive future updates.


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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.