Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim has provided predictions for movements of visa numbers in the February 2019 Visa Bulletin. The next projections will most likely be published in the July 2019 Visa Bulletin. The following are the projections for the family-based and employment-based preference filings.
Family-Based Worldwide Categories (except oversubscribed countries):
FB-1: Up to 5 weeks FB-2A: Up to 1 month FB-2B: Up to 2 months FB-3: Up to 2 weeks FB-4: Up to 6 weeks
Employment-Based Preference Categories:
Employment First (EB-1): Worldwide: Up to 2 months China and India: Up to 1 month
Employment Second (EB-2): Worldwide: Current for the foreseeable future China: Up to 3 months
Employment Third (EB-3): Worldwide: Current China: Up to 3 weeks India: Up to 3 months Mexico: Current Philippines: Rapid movement to generate demand
Employment Fourth (EB-4): Worldwide: Current El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: Up to 1 week Mexico: Rapid forward movement until per country limit is reached
Employment Fifth (EB-5): Worldwide: Current China-mainland born: Up to 1 week Vietnam: Up to 3 weeks
The preference category EB-2 Worldwide category should remain current through May 2019 and will probably remain current throughout this fiscal year. It is not anticipated that a Final Action Date will be imposed for EB-2 Worldwide through the end of the fiscal year 2019. However, if there is a significant increase in demand for these visa numbers there is always the possibility that a Final Action Date will be imposed in EB-2 Worldwide, as with any category.
The preference categories EB-2 and EB-3 have flipped for India. EB-3 India will have a Final Action Date of April 22, 2009, which is in advance of the ahead of the EB-2 India Final Action Date of April 6, 2009. Ultimately, this will result in more numbers of EB-3 India.
Downgrades from EB-2 to EB-3 should be very carefully considered, since only one change in preference category (downgrading or upgrading) is allowed. If the numbers flip again then the applicant must remain in the last category into which the application was moved. Also, if there is a significant number of downgrades, it would increase EB-3 India demand and could potentially narrow the gap between the Final Action Dates for EB-2 and EB-3. As of now, however, the anticipated forward movement through May 2019 for EB-2 India is “up to one week” in contrast to the “up to three months” movement expected in EB-3 India. Based on current demand trends, the Dates for Filing for EB-2 India is May 22, 2009, in contrast with the EB-3 India Date for Filing of April 1, 2010. We will watch this closely in the coming months.
There is no foreseeable flip in EB-2 and EB-3 China visa numbers. EB-2 China’s EB-2 Final Action Date will advance two months to October 1, 2015, whereas EB-3 China will advance only three weeks to July 1, 2015. No changes in that rate of advance is predicted through at least May 2019, with EB-2 China expected to advance monthly “up to three months” in contrast with “up to three weeks” of movement for EB-3 China. However, that does not rule out a future flip of rates of advance for EB-2 and EB-3 for China, since the February 2019 bulletin notes that the future Dates for Filing for EB-2 China will be November 1, 2015, compared to January 1, 2016 for EB-3 China.
The preference category EB-1 continues to have a Final Action Date for all countries and it appears that this may be the new trend. In February 2019, EB-1 Worldwide will advance two months to December 1, 2017, and EB-1 China and EB-1 India will advance eight weeks to February 8, 2017. It is predicted that the EB-1 dates will advance again, with EB-1 Worldwide advancing up to two months, and EB-1 China and EB-1 India advancing up to one month.