On Dec. 14, 2015, USCIS released the Visa Bulletin Charts for January 2016, in conjunction with the Visa Bulletin, USCIS announced that Family-sponsored immigrant visa applicants may use the“Dates of Filing” chart for January 2016 for filing adjustment of status applications, but Employment-based applicants must use the “Final Action Dates” chart for January 2016.

Mr. Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State (DOS) provided his analysis of the current and future trends for different visa categories to AILA. We summarize the following from Mr. Oppenheim’s analysis and projections: 

Employment Based: 

EB-2 India:

The final action dates for EB-2 India will advance eight months to Feb. 1, 2008.  Charlie indicated that the eight month advancement will continue to be the best case scenario, but the actual advancement may be around four to six months at a time. He also expects an increase in petitions seeking an upgrade from EB-3 to EB-2, which may impact demand and slow the advancement of the EB-2 India category, in early to mid-2016. 

EB-3 Worldwide:

In January 2016, the final action date for EB-3 Worldwide will advance by one month to October 2015. Charlie pointed that there has been more demand in this category than was reported to him by USCIS. He does not anticipate this category advancing very much in the coming month. 

Religious Workers and EB-5:

On Dec. 16, 2015, another continuing resolution was signed by the President, keeping the Federal government open and both the EB-5 and religious worker programs operating until Dec. 22, 2015. If the 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill is passed and signed prior to Dec. 22, 2015, the EB-5 and Religious Worker Programs will be extended through September 2016. Charlie indicated appointments for these two categories are continuing to be scheduled.