November 2016 Visa Bulletin Published

The Visa Bulletin has been released by the U.S. Department of State for November 2016. View the November Visa Bulletin here. The visa bulletin is published monthly, usually about 2 weeks in advance of the next month. The dates listed in the bulletin are current priority dates for the various visa categories. The individual priority date can be found on the receipt notices and the approval notice for the visa petition.

Why is there a backlog of employment-based permanent resident visas in the visa bulletin?

There are a limited number of employment-based immigrant visas (“green cards”) available each year, and they are divided between several different preference categories. The worldwide level for employment-based preference immigrants each year is 140,000. Further, each sending country can account for no more than 7% of that 140,000.

The backlog occurs when there are more qualified applications for a preference category than there are available visa numbers. Therefore, the backlog results in a long, unpredictable wait for permanent resident status for many individuals.

According to the American Immigration Lawyers Association Department of State Liaison Committee, the predictions of Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, were correct.

He predicted that EB-1 China, EB-1 India, and EB-1 Worldwide would remain current in November and for the foreseeable future. The pent up demand caused by the retrogression of EB-1 China and India at the end of last fiscal year manifested itself with more than 3,000 numbers used as of October 1st. That number is expected to increase throughout the month. Though this is strong demand, it did not reach the initial EB-1 total in October 2015 of 3,800 visas. While number usage is high, a retrogression of the EB-1 category is not expected for the first half of the fiscal year.

He also predicted that EB-2 Worldwide would remain current in November. Although Oppenheim anticipated that EB-2 India would advance at a four month pace, in November, EB-2 India will advance nine months to November 1, 2007. While it remains to be seen whether EB-2 India will continue to advance at this aggressive pace or average out to the four month projection over a period of time, members can expect only forward movement in this category for the foreseeable future. Charlie's goal is to recover to the November 2008 date which was reached last spring as quickly as possible, most likely no later than March 2017.