Check-in with DOS's Charlie Oppenheim

Check-in with DOS's Charl…

AILA's Department of State (DOS) Liaison Committee checks in each month with Charlie Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at DOS for updates about Visa Bulletin progress. Oppenheim also provides analysis of current trends and predicts future visa availability. His predictions of Final Action Date movement are based on his analysis of movement in each category over recent months and cases that are currently pending at the USCIS National Benefits Center. AILA posted about the most recent check-in about the August Visa Bulletin on July 18, 2019. First, he answered some member questions. Then, he discussed his predictions for movement in family-based and employment-based preference categories.

Family-Based Preference Categories

The August F-2A Final Action Date remains current across all categories, and the Dates for Filing for the F-2A applications advanced. Oppenheim predicts that as long as there is not a significant, unexpected surge in demand, this category will remain current through September. However, if there is a sharp increase in demand, Oppenheim expects a Final Action Date to be imposed sometime in 2017 or 2018.

There are currently very high levels of demand from the FB-Mexico preference categories, which impacts movement in those categories. Conversely, there is continued low demand from many of the FB-Philippines categories.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

Employment-based demand has increased steadily since May 2019 in the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories. In past years, Oppenheim has expected preference categories that retrogressed at the end of the year to make a full recovery in October, the beginning of the next fiscal year. However, this year he is not so sure due to high and unpredictable demand. In Section D of the Visa Bulletin, USCIS promises that "every effort will be made to return these final action dates to those which applied for July," but there is no guarantee. Oppenheim does not expect forward movement in the EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 categories for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Final Action Date for EB-1 Worldwide retrogressed almost two years to July 1, 2016 in August. The date for EB-1 China retrogressed approximately one year to July 1, 2016 as well. The Final Action Date for EB-1 India remains at January 1, 2015.

Due to extraordinarily high demand in the EB-2 category, all countries are subject to a Final Action Date in August. EB-2 Worldwide (including EB-2 China and all countries except India) now has a Final Action Date of January 1, 2017. EB-2 India advanced one week to May 2, 2009. Oppenheim warns that a cut-off in visa usage in the EB-1 and EB-2 categories is possible if demand remains high.

Like demand for the EB-1 and EB-2 preference categories, EB-3 demand has increased at an unusually high rate over the past few months. Between May and June, for example, demand increased by over 45%. Because of this excess in demand, Final Action Dates for EB-3 Worldwide, EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-3 Mexico, EB-3 Philippines, and EB-3 Vietnam remain at July 1, 2016. The Final Action Date for EB-3 India retrogressed to January 1, 2006.

In the EB-4 category, all countries remain current except EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and EB-4 Mexico. The Final Action Date for these countries is at July 1, 2016. According to Oppenheim, movement in this category is unlikely.

Final Action Dates for EB-5 India and EB-5 Vietnam retrogressed to October 15, 2014 in August. Oppenheim expects Final Action Dates for these preference categories for the foreseeable future. He warns not to expect EB-5 India or EB-5 Vietnam to return to current at the start of the new fiscal year.

For More Information:

Read the August 2019 Visa Bulletin here and our blog post about it here.

This blog post does not serve as legal advice and does not establish any client-attorney privilege. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.

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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 14071401).