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 the most recent check-in about the October Visa Bulletin on September 18, 2019. Oppenheim discussed his predictions for movement in family-based and employment-based preference categories.

Family-based Preference Categories:

Oppenheim anticipates that movement in family-based preference categories will continue at the same pace it has over the past few months. For worldwide family dates, he predicts the following monthly movement:

  • F1: up to two months
  • F2A: current because demand remains low, but corrective action should be expected before February
  • F2B: up to six weeks
  • F3: up to one month
  • F4: up to six weeks

He notes the high demand in the FB Mexico preference categories and the lack of demand in the FB Philippines preference categories. The ongoing low demand in FB Philippines resulted in artificially fast movement in family based Final Action Dates. Oppenheim cautions that if/when demand rises, corrective action might be necessary.

Employment-based Preference Categories:


Historically, there is typically a full or almost full recovery of Final Action Dates from the previous year. Oppenheim usually expects unused EB-4 and EB-5 numbers to become available in the EB-1 category. However, this year EB-1 India and EB-1 China have actually retrogressed and Oppenheim does not expect any unused numbers to become available. He anticipates EB-1 India and EB-1 China will be subject to their minimum statutory limits of around 2,803 visa numbers for the first half of FY2020.

According to AILA, the EB-1 categories in F2020 will likely be split up into three different Final Action Dates. One for EB-1 Worldwide (which includes EB-1 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, EB-1 Mexico, EB-1 Philippines, and EB-1 Vietnam), one for EB-1 China, and one for EB-1 India. Oppenheim predicts that there will not be movement for EB-1 India until January, 2020 at the earliest. He expects EB-1 India to be backlogged for years, and warns that they may even become worse due to potential upgrades from EB-2 India. Oppenheim cautioned AILA members not to expect any EB-1 categories to become current any time soon. He predicts the following movement:

  • Worldwide: up to three months
  • China: up to three months
  • India: little if any movement

EB-2 India and EB-2 China will continue to have limited forward movement in the foreseeable future. Oppenheim does not expect a full recovery of EB-2 China in FY2020. He predicts the following movement:

  • Worldwide: current
  • China: up to two months
  • India: up to one week

EB-3 returned to 'current' status this month for Worldwide, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and Vietnam. In addition, EB-3 India, EB-3 China, and EB-3 Philippines had a partial recovery. However, Oppenheim foresees very little forward movement for EB-3 India until January 2020.

Oppenheim notes the increasing demand for EB-3 Other Workers, especially for EB-3 Other Workers from Mexico. The Final Action Date is the same for EB-3 and EB-3 Other Workers for now, but separate dates may need to be imposed later in the fiscal year.

He predicts the following movement:

  • Worldwide: current
  • China: little if any movement
  • India: little if any movement
  • Mexico: current, will remain at the worldwide date
  • Philippines: up to several months

In the past, many EB-4 numbers remain unused. However, Special Immigrant Juvenile classifications have used a lot of numbers in the EB-4 category this year. This caused the imposition of a Final Action Date for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Oppenheim predicts the following movement:

  • Most Countries: current
  • El Salvador: little if any movement
  • Guatemala: little if any movement
  • Honduras: little if any movement
  • Mexico: up to four months

According to Oppenhiem, it is still too early to know how much movement there will be in the EB-5 category. EB-5 China, EB-5 India, and EB-5 Vietnam will continue to have Final Action Dates. Oppenheim expects to have more information about the movement in this category in late October.

For More Information:

Read the October 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).