October 2018 Visa Bulletin Check-In: Unwelcome News for EB1 India and China

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 some additional insight into what to expect and look out for during fiscal year 2019 (FY19), which begins on October 1, 2018.

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category: Pessimistic Outlook for India and China

As predicted, the EB1 category is not current in the October 2018 Visa Bulletin. Mr. Oppenheim does not expect the EB1 cutoff dates for any country to advance before January 2019. Worse yet, although the cutoff dates for EB1 India and China will advance at some point this fiscal year, it now appears that the category will not return to being current at all throughout FY19.

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

The cutoff dates for EB2 and EB3 China are relatively close to one another, with EB3 only being two months ahead in the final action (FA) chart, and only weeks ahead in the dates for filing (DF) chart. This may result in fewer EB2-to-EB3 “downgrade” filings. Fewer downgrade filings could result in EB3 China advancing more than previously expected.

EB2 and EB3 India

The cutoff date for EB3 India is fast approaching the EB2 India cutoff date. Depending on the level of demand, it is possible that EB3 India’s cutoff date could surpass that of EB2 India at some point during FY19.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

Due to heavy demand for EB5 China, the cutoff date will likely not move much this fiscal year. EB5 Vietnam, on the other hand, which is the only other EB5 category that is not current, should see decent advancement during at least the first portion of FY19.

Short-Term Predictions for EB3 India

Although there was some speculation of the cutoff date for EB3 India possibly advancing past that of EB2 India, Mr. Oppenheim implies that 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 getting 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.

Cutoff Dates in DF Chart to Predict Future Movement

One additional insight provided by Mr. Oppenheim is how he determines what date to list on the DF chart, which typically has more favorable cutoff dates than the FA chart. The dates Mr. Oppenheim sets in the DF chart are where he expects that category’s FA cutoff date to be within the next 8-to-12 months.


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.