Visa bulletin predictions are released on a monthly basis by Charlie Oppenheim of the State Department to show how rapidly or slowly he expects the priority dates in the employment-based and family-based categories to move forward, or to retrogress.

For the millions of people waiting in line in the employment-based and family-based categories, the visa bulletin predictions give them an idea of when they will be able to become lawful permanent residents.

You can stay up-to-date with the waiting times in the Visa Bulletin and the visa bulletin predictions by subscribing to our Free E-Mail Newsletter.

Visa Bulletin Predictions by DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim (11-19-19)

Important News Concerning EB-2 Worldwide & EB-3 Worldwide:

For December 2019, both EB-2 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam) and EB-3 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam) remain current. Section E of the December 2019 Visa Bulletin warns that “a steadily increasing level of Employment-based demand for adjustment of status cases” at USCIS could require establishment of Final Action Dates in the EB-2, EB-3, and EB-3 Other Worker categories as early as January 2020.

Final Action Dates may be established for one or more categories as early as January 2020 due to unusually heavy demand totaling over 11,000 EB-2 applicants and over 13,000 EB-3 applicants. Charlie noted that if instead the level of demand shows signs that it is subsiding, such that these high numbers merely represent pent up demand from the recent summer retrogressions, these categories could remain current. However, in an abundance of caution, and because Charlie does not yet have data to indicate that this demand trend will slow down, he wants the public to be prepared for possible implementation of Final Action Dates as early as January 2020. In light of the possible retrogression, AILA advises members to consider filing any eligible EB-2 Worldwide and EB-3 Worldwide adjustment of status applications prior to the end of the calendar year.
Scheduled Expiration of EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR) and EB-5 Regional Centers (I5 & R5):

The December 2019 Visa Bulletin lists all EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR) and all EB-5 Regional Centers (I5 & R5) as unavailable or “U” for December since these categories were set to expire on November 21, 2019 unless reauthorized by Congress. On November 21, 2019 President Trump signed a short-term continuing resolution through December 20, 2019.

As Congress has taken action to reauthorize these programs, the Final Action Dates for December will be as follows:

EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR)
  • July 1, 2016 for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
  • July 22, 2017 for Mexico
  • Current for all other countries
EB-5 Regional Centers (I5 & R5)
  • November 15, 2014 for China
  • January 1, 2018 for India
  • December 1, 2016 for Vietnam
  • Current for all other countries

Visa Bulletin Predictions – Family-based Preference Categories

The F2A Final Action Date, which has been current since July 2019, remains current across all countries through December. Charlie remains baffled by the excessively low demand in this category so long after it became “Current”. The data available at this time indicates that F2A should remain current for the foreseeable future.

Movements in the remaining family-based categories remain as predicted. Last month, Charlie mentioned that as a result of low demand, family-based Final Action Dates may move forward at a faster rate than reported in the October 2019 Visa Bulletin. Also, as mentioned in last month’s Check-in with Charlie, due to a high-level demand for family-based categories for Mexico (outside of F2A), limited movement should be expected for the foreseeable future. There is significant USCIS demand across the family-based preference categories for Mexico.

There has been a significant increase in demand for F4 visas across the board since October 2019. It is too early for Charlie to be sure if this is a new trend or if the demand will start to slow down. For now, he expects that movement may slow, but does not anticipate any need for retrogression in the near future.

Charlie also reports that applicants are still failing to become documentarily qualified as quickly as they could be. As long as this continues, expect continued forward movement of the applicable final action dates.

When additional demand ultimately starts to materialize in the family-based categories, Charlie cautions that the relatively rapid advancement in many of the these categories over the past fifteen months could slow down due to a need for corrective actions. Based on current demand trends, Charlie stands by his most recent predictions.

Visa Bulletin Predictions – Employment-based Preference Categories


In December 2019 Final Action Dates for EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) advances 6 weeks to July 15, 2018. EB-1 China advances 10 weeks to May 15, 2017, and EB-1 India’s Final Action Date holds at January 1, 2015. All of these movements are consistent with Charlie’s projections which were provided in the October 2019 Visa Bulletin.

In contrast to the unexpected and excessively high demand in EB-2 and EB-3, Charlie continues to see a normal, if not somewhat low, demand level in the EB-1 Worldwide category. Therefore, he maintains his prediction that EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) will continue to advance at a pace of up to 3 months for the foreseeable future.


As noted above, EB-2 Worldwide (including EB-2 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-2 Mexico, EB-2 Philippines, and EB-2 Vietnam) remains current for December, but could retrogress as early as January 2020.

Consistent with Charlie’s predictions, in December the Final Action Date for EB-2 India advances 2 days from May 13, 2009 to May 15, 2009.

EB-2 China advances about 2 months in December to June 22, 2015, with the gap between the final action dates for EB-3 China (November 1, 2015) and EB-2 China, narrowing to just over 4 months.


As noted above, although EB-3 Worldwide (including EB-3 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, EB-3 Mexico, and EB-3 Vietnam) will remain current in December, there is a real possibility that this category could have a final action date imposed as early as January 2020.

EB-3 China continues to hold at November 1, 2015 for December, while EB-3 China Other Workers advances 1 month to March 1, 2008.

Both EB-3 India and EB-3 Other Workers India hold at January 1, 2009 for December.

EB-3 Philippines and EB-3 Other Workers Philippines advance 1 month to March 1, 2018 for December. These categories used a significant amount of numbers thus far this fiscal year but not so much as to cause a change to Charlie’s predictions just yet. In the foreseeable future, it is more likely that there will be a slowing of advancement in this category in an attempt to prevent the need for a future retrogression of the Final Action Date.

Charlie notes that EB-3 Mexico and EB-3 Other Workers Mexico demand is extremely high, having already used since October 2019 about 75% of the volume of numbers used by Mexico in all of FY19. While this may represent a recovery, the volume seems excessive for this to represent only pent up demand. Charlie will watch these categories closely.


As expected, the Final Action Date for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras continues to hold at July 1, 2016 for December, and EB-4 Mexico will also hold at July 22, 2017. All other countries (EB-4 Worldwide, including China, India, Philippines and Vietnam) remain current.

Please see above for information regarding EB-4 Certain Religious Workers (SR). EB-5:

In December EB-5 China (C5 & T5) advances 2 weeks to November 15, 2014, EB-5 India (C5 & T5) advances to about 3 weeks to January 1, 2018, and EB-5 Vietnam (C5 & T5) advances 2 weeks to December 1, 2016.
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