December 2018 Visa Bulletin Check-In: Distressing, Long-Term Prediction for EB2 India

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, Charles Oppenheim, provides visa bulletin explanations and predictions. This month, Mr. Oppenheim provides some updated predictions regarding the employment-based categories, including a sobering long-term prediction for the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India.

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1) Category

The cutoff dates in the EB1 category all advance by three months in the December 2018 Visa Bulletin. Mr. Oppenheim expects this category to continue to advance, but he does not yet have enough data to estimate how quickly the cutoff dates will move. He hopes to have additional information in December that will allow him to make more specific predictions for the EB1 category.

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

Due to a large increase in demand for EB3 China, the cutoff date for EB2 China has passed that of its EB3 counterpart. This is expected to reduce EB2-to-EB3 “downgrade” filings from China for the time being.

EB2 and EB3 India

The cutoff date for EB3 India is only a month behind the cutoff date for EB2 India. In the coming months, Mr. Oppenheim anticipates that EB3 India will advance past the EB2 India cutoff date, which could lead to the EB2-to-EB3 downgrade filings that have been common in these categories for China.

While attending a recent conference, Mr. Oppenheim also provided a more long-term prediction for the EB2 India category. Based on the number of pending I-485s in this category, he expects it to take about five years to process all of the EB2 India cases with priority dates that are earlier than January 2011. Therefore, regardless of how quickly the EB2 India category advances in the short-term, it appears that Indians with priority dates of January 2011 and later have quite a wait ahead of them.

Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)

Presently, the EB5 category is current for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of China and Vietnam. However, there has been a spike in EB5 filings in recent years, largely from countries like India and South Korea. This eventually will lead to retrogression in the EB5 category for these countries. The average processing time for an immigrant petition filed for an EB5 case (form I-526), is close to two years. So, even if the priority date is current at the time of filing, the retrogression for these countries is expected to hit while many of these cases are still pending.

Mr. Oppenheim predicts that, for those who filed an I-526 petition on October 30, 2018, the amount of time it will take for an immigrant visa to become available is as follows:

  • China (Mainland): 14 Years
  • India: 5.7 Years
  • South Korea: 2.2 Years
  • Vietnam: 7.2 Years


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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