August 2018 Visa Bulletin Check-In: Predictions for FY19

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, Charles Oppenheim, provides visa bulletin explanations and predictions most months. This month, Mr. Oppenheim provides a few predictions for fiscal year 2019 (FY19), which begins on October 1, 2018, and explains why advancement within the employment-based categories may be more stable and predictable than the past year has been.

Impact of In-Person Interview Requirement

Mr. Oppenheim explains that, for foreign nationals applying for permanent residence via an employment-based category, there has been an increase in the number who are doing so at consulates, rather than applying for adjustment of status (form I-485). This shift toward more consular processed applications occurred following the change in policy that now requires most I-485 applicants to appear for in-person interviews.

Still, it now appears that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) field offices responsible for conducting the interviews have successfully implemented systems to handle the workload. Mr. Oppenheim reports that the USCIS is now requesting immigrant visa numbers at a rate comparable to before the interview requirement went into effect. This, hopefully, should make it easier for Mr. Oppenheim to accurately predict movement in the monthly visa bulletin, and reduce the risk that retrogression of cutoff dates for employment-based cases will be necessary during FY19.

Cutoff Dates for Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category

In the August 2018 Visa Bulletin, a cutoff date has been established in the EB1 category for all countries of chargeability. There may be further retrogression for this category in September. However, there will be recovery come the October 2018 Visa Bulletin, which is the first visa bulletin for FY19.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) India: No Movement in September

Mr. Oppenheim does not expect EB2 India to advance in the September 2018 Visa Bulletin. No further predictions for EB2 India were provided.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) India: Sluggish Movement Ahead

Although there was some speculation of the cutoff date for EB3 India possibly advancing past that of EB2 India, Mr. Oppenheim implies this probably will not occur. He notes that EB3 India saw relatively rapid advancement in recent months in order to generate demand for next fiscal year. If, as expected, these immigrant visa numbers start to be used, the cutoff date for EB3 India will not be able to advance much.

Short-Term Predictions for EB3 China

The cutoff date for EB3 China has moved up some recently. However, for FY19, it is unclear whether we will see regular advancement in this category.

Retrogression for Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4) Predictions

A cutoff date for EB4 India goes into effect in August, but will become current against in October. EB4 for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico may move a bit forward in the near future, but progress may be slow for now to avoid the need for further retrogression.


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.