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EB-2 EB-3 Visa: Trends & Predictions

Each month, Charlie Oppenheim, the United States Department of State’s Chief of Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting offers insights and forecasts on visa processing and how the visa bulletin may be updated to reflect processing time frames for family-based and employment-based visas.  

In this article, we synthesize Charlie’s major predictions and explanations about employment-based visas, EB-2 and EB-3, and discuss some ongoing consequences of pandemic-related delays and backlogs in visa processing. 

What is the current status of Employment-Based Visas in 2024? 

For the fiscal year 2024, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has estimated the employment-based visa limit at approximately 161,000, incorporating unused family-sponsored visas from FY 2023 into the employment-based category.

Additionally, there are 10,874 visas from the EB-5 category carried over from previous fiscal years. This effort is part of USCIS and DOS commitment to use all available employment-based visas, with proactive steps being taken to ensure maximum usage of these visas.

The goal is to address the backlog and efficiently process the significant volume of adjustment of status and immigrant visa applications​​.

The January 2024 Visa Bulletin indicated progress, especially for EB-1 categories from China and India, with USCIS using the Dates for Filing chart for I-485 filings.

This development reflects USCIS’s strategy to manage the extensive backlog of applications and streamline the visa allocation process. USCIS has confirmed that an estimated 165,000 employment-based visa numbers are available for FY 2024, showing a positive trend across most employment-based categories.

This approach aims to mitigate the supply constraints imposed by the existing backlog of visa applications and to facilitate a more efficient processing framework for employment-based visas​​​.

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Will there be a large amount of unused visas in 2024 as well? 

For the fiscal year 2024, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) alongside the Department of State (DOS) anticipates the employment-based visa limit to be around 161,000, supplemented by an additional 10,874 visas from the EB-5 category carried over from previous years.

This projection reflects efforts to maximize the use of available visas despite the existing backlog challenges.

However, significant volumes of pending adjustment of status and immigrant visa applications are affecting the supply of available immigrant visas, indicating that while the number of visas allocated is substantial, actual visa issuance could be constrained by processing capacities and the backlog​​.

Moreover, certain categories, such as EB-2 and EB-3 for applicants chargeable to India, have received enough applications to utilize all available visas for FY 2024 and potentially beyond, underscoring the high demand and limited supply issue.

USCIS has implemented measures to mitigate these challenges, including extending the validity period for employment authorization documents (EADs) for individuals with pending adjustment of status applications to five years, aiming to alleviate some of the strain on applicants affected by processing delays​​​​.

What will the EB visa limit for 2024? 

For the fiscal year 2024, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that there will be an estimated 165,000 employment-based visa numbers available. This figure marks a significant allocation aimed at addressing the demands within the employment-based visa categories​​.

Will EB2, EB3 Visa dates move forward faster? 

According to Charlie, processing for all EB categories advanced rapidly throughout July.  Charlie says that the numbers available for use each month are met by a high demand of applicants in the India EB-2 category, and this demand is in weekly groupings, which can prevent the dates from moving forward too fast. 

Will final action dates move forward in the new fiscal year? 

For the fiscal year 2024, the Visa Bulletin has shown limited forward movement in final action dates across various categories, with some categories like EB-1 for China and India experiencing slight advancements. However, significant backlogs, especially for EB-2 and EB-3 categories for India, indicate slow movement due to the high volume of pending applications. The Department of State and USCIS have highlighted constraints in advancing cutoff dates further, based on visa availability and legal requirements, suggesting that applicants may see limited progress in the foreseeable future

What is the status of EB-3 Visa filing dates for India? 


Status of EB 3 Visa


As of January 2024, the EB-3 India filing date is set before August 1, 2012, indicating no change from its previous position. This suggests a stable yet slow movement for EB-3 India applicants, reflecting the significant backlog and high demand for this visa category.

Why are dates not moving when there are so many unused visas? 

The movement of dates is occurring exactly as it would despite the pandemic as applications move through the system.  However, the number of visas available, determined by annual limits, are not being fully used due to issues related to the pandemic, such as complications with processing by the USCIS. 

What is causing delays in visa interviews? 

The delays in visa interviews are largely a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a significant backlog across U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

As of January 2024, efforts to address these backlogs are ongoing, with the U.S. Department of State scheduling interviews for thousands of applicants and implementing measures to streamline processing.

However, challenges such as reduced staffing, increased application volumes, and the necessity of adhering to health and safety protocols continue to impact visa processing times.

Various U.S. missions have resumed or are offering limited visa services, with some adjustments including interview waivers and expedited processing for emergencies, reflecting a concerted effort to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on visa issuance​​​​​​.

How to check interview status?


Visa interview status


If an applicant has submitted all necessary documents and paid all fees, he or she is eligible to be scheduled for an interview.  However, there may be a delay in scheduling the interview due to the pandemic’s impact on logistics and operational capacity. 

Applicants should receive an email informing them when all necessary documents and fees have been submitted. 

An applicant may also check the status of his or her application online, and determine whether all of their necessary documents have been submitted by logging onto the NVC Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), where the summary page should show “Paid and Accepted” when the applicant has completed all the steps. 

NVC will work with the Consulate or Embassy where the applicant submitted his or her application in order to get an interview scheduled.

Just like how applications are processed, interviews are scheduled on a first-in, first-out basis and available appointment slots are filled in accordance with the capacity at each individual Consulate or Embassy.  

The capacity of each Consulate or Embassy can vary depending on the country and the severity of COVID-19 restrictions there. 

The NVC has been publishing its Immigrant Visa Backlog Report each month since April 201, where it records the amount of applicants who have been processed by the NVC and those who are currently pending in documentarily qualified complete status. 

In particular, this tool provides a perspective on backlogs caused by the pandemic. 

Will Employment-Based visas be retrogressed in 2024? 

For the fiscal year 2024, the U.S. Department of State released the October 2023 Visa Bulletin, indicating an allocation of approximately 165,000 employment-based visa numbers.

This release showcased progression in the majority of employment-based categories, with USCIS confirming the use of the Dates for Filing chart for October. Notably, there was a retrogression in the filing date for EB-3 worldwide by four months.

This information suggests that while there is significant availability of employment-based visas, specific categories may experience retrogression, affecting applicants’ timelines for obtaining visas​

How to know more about EB-2, EB-3 Visa trends and predictions? 

Along with Charlie Oppenheim, the USCIS Ombudsman provides information to applicants regarding delays and backlogs, including by checking case processing times within the USCIS, checking an applicant’s case status with the USCIS. 

The USCIS Ombudsman can also help with typographic errors, mailing issues, lost files, emergencies or hardships, U.S. military and their families, and more. 

Charlie regularly communicates with the USCIS Ombudsman, the NVC, and USCIS officials to coordinate logistics, projections, and adjustments to the visa bulletin. 


The landscape of employment-based visas, particularly EB-2 and EB-3, remains dynamic as the U.S. navigates through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charlie Oppenheim’s insights highlight a cautious optimism, with efforts to maximize visa allocations and address backlogs. As we move forward, applicants should stay informed on trends and predictions, leveraging available resources like the USCIS Ombudsman and monitoring the Visa Bulletin for updates.

The commitment to using all available visas signals a positive direction, yet underscores the importance of preparation and patience for those navigating the path to U.S. employment-based residency.

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

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