A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Visa Bulletin Predictions for FY2022: No Advancements Expected for Oct/Nov

 


In a recent Chat with Charlie, DOS Visa Office Chief Mr. Charlie Oppenheim once again shared his insights about the movements of the Visa Bulletin, including his predictions for FY 2022. The key items are as follows:

  • No advancements in Final Action Dates are expected in the October and November Visa Bulletins for both employment-based and family-based immigration categories, except for Mexico and Philippines family categories. 
  • The good news is that no retrogression of priority dates is expected for FY 2022 by Charlie.  If it occurs, it will be in the last quarter of the fiscal year.  
  • Unused visa numbers are expected for fiscal year 2021.  Charlie is very concerned about unused immigrant visa numbers and and has attempted to advance the Action Dates many times starting with EB-1 in the April Visa Bulletin.  However, the staffing and resources limitations have crippled the State Department from processing many overseas cases.  USCIS also reported 65% more immigrant visa cases this year than last as we recover from Covid. 
  • EB-3 India Filing Date will contiue its slow advancement, after a phenomenon 5-year advancement in October last year and a one-year pull back in December.  In the September 2021 Visa Bulletin, the Filing Date for EB-3 India is 03/01/2014. 
  • Charlie has stopped posting estimates of cutoff date movements in the visa bulletin because he wants to provide accurate information to the public.  Charlie is only doing it on a quarterly basis. He notes that some others have provided estimates but they don't have all the information.  Other than Covid-related issues, some bills pending before Congress regarding recapturing of immigrant visa numbers may also affect future cutoff date movements. 
  • Immigrant visa petitions are processed on a FIFO basis in general.  However, different processing procedures, protocols, speed, etc.,  at different  government offices and Service Centers may create different overcomes. 
  •  For October, Charlie expects USCIS will use the Filing Date Charts for both family-based and employment-based petitions.
  • Regarding downgrading of cases from EB-2 to EB-3 category, Charlie commented that these applications have "the best of both worlds."  After their EB-2 case was approved, the case was initially counted against the Second Preference visa category until their EB-3 case is approved and current.  At which point, the case will be switched to the EB-3 category. 
  • Charlie does not rule out the possibility that there will be unused visa numbers for FY 2022.  It depends on the development of the Delta variant, staffing situations, resource limiations and demands for visa numbers, etc. 
  • Overseas and NVC Consulate Processing: Applicants will receive email confirmations once their cases have become documentarily qualified.  They may also check their status on the CEAC system. However, documentarily qualified cases currently may still have to wait for months before their consulate interviews can be scheduled.  This is because of the staffing and resources limitations in different consulate lcoations.  Medical offices in some locations are also not available to perform medical examinations.  Charlie also noted that some visa applicants are actually not willing to travel during the pandemic.  Finally, Charlie does not recommend sending unsolicited documents to Kentucky Consular Center (KCC), which handles the Diversity Visa cases.

(Immigration laws and policies change regularly.  If you have any questions regarding this article, please visit www.1visa1.com to schedule legal consultation.) 





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