July 2020 Visa Bulletin Check-In

Most months, Charles Oppenheim, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, provides visa bulletin explanations and predictions. Following the release of the July 2020 Visa Bulletin, Mr. Oppenheim provided some information regarding the use of immigrant visa numbers this fiscal year, and how that will impact cases during fiscal year 2021 (FY21), which begins October 1, 2020.

Question About Fiscal Limit Not Being Reached

Last month, Mr. Oppenheim noted that the annual limit on employment-based green cards is unlikely to be reached this fiscal year. This prompted a follow-up question from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), asking why Mr. Oppenheim does not therefore accelerate the cutoff dates in the monthly visa bulletin to increase usage. Mr. Oppenheim responded as follows:

“That is exactly what I am doing, but I have to do so within reason based on processing capacity, and not strictly for the sake of movement with no reasonable expectation of actual number use. Processing capacity at both consular posts and USCIS [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] is diminished due to the pandemic … The premise that dramatically advancing the Final Action Dates will result in full (or closer to full) number usage is flawed. The agencies’ (and State’s) [the USCIS’s (and DOS’s)] diminished processing capacity makes it unreasonable to expect that an even more accelerated advancement in the Final Action Dates would increase actual number usage this fiscal year. Additionally, such abrupt movements would likely result in corrective action in the form of retrogression, which should be avoided.”

Possible Positive Impact on EB1 India and China, and EB5 China

Mr. Oppenheim went on to point out one piece of good news related to the slowdown of immigrant visa processing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As he explained, all of the unused family-based immigrant visa numbers for the current fiscal year will be added to the total number of employment-based immigrant visa numbers that can be used during FY21. This could result in tens of thousands of additional visa numbers next year. Per Mr. Oppenheim, this has the possibility of allowing “significant advancement” for EB1 China, EB1 India, and EB5 China during FY21. He further indicated that EB5 India would remain current for at least the remainder of this fiscal year.


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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