Charlie Oppenheim's last visa bulletin prediction for FY 2022 - Charlie is retiring!


In the latest 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.  This will be the last sharing by Charlie as he will be retiring from his job. The key information shared is as follows: 

  • EB-2 India and China will likely advance for December for a few months, benefiting from spillover from EB-1.  However, EB-2 may retrogress if there is a large number of  cases "upgrading" from EB-3 in the future.
  • EB-3 India and China will likely stay retrogressed for the near future.
  • The annual visa cap for family immigration will remain at 226,000.   The annual visa cap for employment immigration will be about 280,000, which is a combination of the regular annual cap of 140,000 plus the 140,000 leftover visa numbers from family categories of FY 2021.
  • EB-1 will likely stay current for all countries.
  • Most family immigration categories will not likely advance due to the huge backlog of family cases in overseas consulate posts.  However, Charlie predicted that some family visa categories for Philippines and Mexico may advance in the coming months.  
  • Family 2A (spouses and unmarried minor children of lawful residents) will remain current. 
  • Charlie explained that there were 62K unused employment visa numbers from FY 2021, despite the efforts by USCIS trying to use them up.  Currently there is no legal requirement to deploy unused fiscal year employment visa numbers. 
  •  When asked about why EB-3 retrogressed for India and China, Charlie explained that he had expected and predicted that there would be no retrogression initially. However, in late September and early October, Charlie was advised that USCIS was able to sustain the beefed up processing efforts after reopening. Consequently USCIS was able to process a larger number of EB-3 cases for other countries, resulting in additional demand for EB-3 visa numbers, Hence, he must set back the dates for India and China.  
  • EB-3 India:  Overall, there are already a total of 44,751 EB-3 India cases with current priority date pending for FY 2022.  Because the per country cap is only 5,605, it will take time for the system to "digest" these pending cases.  This is why EB-3 India has to be retrogressed.
  • Charlie also provided his estimates in general for EB-3 allocation in FY 2022.  Charlie estimated a total of 80,080 visa numbers for EB-3 category, 5,605 each to be allocated to India and China respectively, and about 55K to be allocated for all other countries.  The remaining 13,870 visa numbers will then be allocated to other Indian and Chinese EB-3 applicants purely based on priority dates. 
  • Congress is actively debating immigration reform. New laws may completely overhaul the current immigration system. Stay tuned for updates!

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


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