DOS Comments on Visa Bulletin Trends

Alexander J. Segal's picture

Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State (DOS) provided his analysis of trends in the movement of filing dates and final action dates for filing for immigrant visas in the various preference categories. I will recap his analysis in this post.

Note for the January Visa Bulletin

For the January Visa bulletin persons seeking to apply for employment-based immigrant visas must use the application final action date. Persons filing for family-sponsored immigrant visas may use the filing date (see [PDF version] of USCIS news release).1 This information is reflected in my blog post about the January 2016 visa bulletin [see blog].

EB2 for India:

The final action date for nationals of India seeking visas under the EB2 category [see article] will advance eight months on the January 2016 visa bulletin. This continues a trend of significant advances in the EB2 final action dates for nationals of India.

Oppenheim suggested that monthly advances of eight months in the EB2 final action dates for nationals of India would be the best-case scenario. However, he cautioned that the pace of advancement may slow to four to six months at a time. Oppenheim explained that this will be tied to upgrades in the EB3 category, which would consequently slow advancement in the EB2 category.

EB3 Worldwide:

The final action date for the EB3 category [see article] will advance by one month to October 2015. Oppenheim explained that he anticipated more demand for the EB3 category than USCIS has reported. He indicated that the final action date in the EB3 category will not be advanced too rapidly in order to avoid future retrogression.

Special Religious Workers and EB5 Regional Center Programs:

Provided that the President signs the Congressional omnibus bill by December 22 (which is all but certain), the special religious workers and EB5 regional center programs will continue running without interruption (see an older post I wrote about their potential expiration [see blog]). The charts on my January 2016 visa bulletin blog post [see blog] uses the dates that will be effective once the President signs the omnibus bill into law.

Visa Waiting List for the February Visa Bulletin:

Oppenheim and his team are compiling a “Visa Waiting List” which will be ready for inclusion as a part of the February 2016 visa bulletin. It will provide information regarding the waiting list at the National Visa Center as of November 1, 2015.


  1. “Adjustment of Status Filing Charts from the Visa Bulletin,” USCIS, (December 11, 2015), available at [PDF version]

Resources and Materials:

“Check-in with DOS's Charlie Oppenheim,” (Dec. 14, 2015), published on AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14071401

DOS Comments on Visa Bulletin Trends