By: Chris Musillo

The Department of State expects that there will be “significant advancement” in many categories, including all EB-1s and EB-5s, as well as EB-3 Worldwide and Philippines, starting in FY 2021 (October 2020 Visa Bulletin). This is terrific news for all EB IV applicants.

The news come from the Department of State’s Charlie Oppenhiem, who is always gracious with his time. Charlie’s monthly AILA Q&As, Check In With Charlie, are always informative. This month’s Check In contained many interesting answers, including answers to questions posed by MU attorneys.

Charlie expects that the Family-Based Immigrant Visa category will be underused by about 60,000 visas, as a result of slowdowns in processing related to COVID-19. US law says that when the FB IV does not meet its quota, all of those visa flow into the Employment-Based category in the next fiscal year. Therefore, Charlie expects the EB category to increase from 140,000 to about 200,000 visas in FY 2021.

This means that the per country quotas, which are normally about 10,000 IVs, will increase to approximately 14,000 IVs per country. It is this increase in EB visas that will lead to the dramatic progressions in October 2020.

Charlie also helpfully explained that while he could have progressed the Visa Bulletin more aggressively in June and July, he did not do so because “processing capacity at both consular posts and USCIS is diminished due to the pandemic.” Therefore, Visa Bulletin progressions would not have meant increased visa umber usage and may have resulted in a future retrogression, which he tries to avoid.