March 2023 Visa Bulletin Predictions

The March 2023 Visa Bulletin is likely to be released around February 15th and the buzz around visa bulletins and their results has all but diminished over the past 4 months following the major retrogression of India EB2 in October 2022. As we predict what the results may be for the March bulletin, only one thing is for certain – the demand for employment-based and family-based visas continues to grow exponentially, far beyond what the USCIS can currently handle. 

As expected, the January and February visa bulletins saw little to no movement across the board in both family and employment preferences. India EB2 and EB3 have been at a complete standstill. The USCIS did note in a September 2022 filed court case that they were expecting India EB2 to retrogress – which it did in October – but they also mentioned that India EB3 would advance. We have yet to see that advancement in the new year. Will the disappointment continue?

Expected Changes in the March 2023 Visa Bulletin

As stated by the USCIS in the February 2023 visa bulletin, we can likely expect the following adjustments to be made in the March visa bulletin: 

  • A F2A Final Action Date will be established for all countries
  • All countries, except for China and India, will continue to have a Final Action Date of January 1, 2020 and an Application Filing Date of February 1, 2020 in the Employment Third Preference “Other Workers” (EW)

The higher than anticipated demand in the EB3 “Other Workers” category may also continue to have an effect on the advancement progress of India EB3.

March 2023 Visa Bulletin Predictions

Here are our predictions for the March 2023 visa bulletin:

  • India EB2 will remain the same
  • India EB3 will advance by 1 month
  • Family-based preference categories will begin advancing again, possibly by 1 month for some countries

Will India EB2 Receive Spillover Numbers?

The USCIS reported that there were 60,000 spillover visas from the family-based category for fiscal year 2023. However, only about 4,000 of those will be utilized for India EB2 based on the current demand for employment-based categories in all countries and the 7% country cap they are enforcing. An increase of only 4,000 additional green cards will likely not have a huge impact on the advancement of India EB2. Here are the current backlog numbers for pending Form I-485 from 2010 to 2014:

  • ~ 40,000 for India EB2
  • ~ 25,000 for India EB3

Overall, not much movement is expected across all categories and preferences. We should probably see more advancements around May or June 2023.

The USCIS also has a new resource on their website to better understand when to file your adjustment of status based on the visa bulletin charts. It further explains how to read the visa bulletin and understand when it is your time to file. They are updating this as the visa bulletins are released. 

Check back for our full analysis of the March 2023 Visa Bulletin upon its release!