January 2018 Visa Bulletin

Britsimon

Super Moderator
#21
I have a case number of OC2109 for 2018 visa and lodged my DS-260 back in May ... Due to the information, I have read my chances are slim to none in getting a visa allocated? Unless there is a miracle of some sorts of course. Not sure you will even be able to say if OC will go current for this year... Was on such a high until I learned what having such a high case number meant ... :(

Any response is appreciated.
OC can't go current. I have written a pretty detailed explanation in the forum somewhere. I'll look it up. Bottom line - this won't be your DV year.
 
#23
Hi Simon and all,
Do you have any thoughts about a possible influence of the new policies implemented by the new administration, dramatically increasing scrutiny? (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/...column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news)
One might think that more AP would lead to a higher denial rate, and to higher case numbers being reached, as long as the clock doesn't run out...
Was there any change in the AP/denial rate at the end of the 2017FY?
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#24
The introduction of form DS-5535 has already delayed some DV applicants. As the form is pretty new there is no real precedent for determining how long those DV applicants on AP due to needing to respond to this form, will take.
 

Britsimon

Super Moderator
#25
Hi Simon and all,
Do you have any thoughts about a possible influence of the new policies implemented by the new administration, dramatically increasing scrutiny? (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/...column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news)
One might think that more AP would lead to a higher denial rate, and to higher case numbers being reached, as long as the clock doesn't run out...
Was there any change in the AP/denial rate at the end of the 2017FY?
You are assuming that more scrutiny leads to more refusals. That is not necessarily the case. More/longer AP might affect the applicants with higher case numbers, but because of the lead time before interview , that typically just means more cases that time out (remain in AP on September 30). But the system is not agile enough to turn that into more interviews. So - if there is an impact, it won't be significant enough to dramatically alter case number progression.

The other factor that people wonder about is the travel ban. If KCC were to know **for sure** that all or most or the selectees from the banned countries could not get their visas, they could ignore those cases, and VB progression could be faster in certain regions (Asia in particular). However, they don't know **for sure**. The ban could change, the selectees might qualify for waivers and so on. So - they are continuing to schedule banned cases and the VB is progressing as normal. It remains to be seen whether KCC switch gears later in the process or not. For now, we can only speculate - and that is as arbitrary as tossing a coin.

Lastly, in general I think we (outside of KCC) assume there is more focus on "filling the quota" than actually exists. Some people even suggest that KCC are somehow going to be punished if they don't give away all the visas. That is nonsense. KCC apply their procedures and are probably happy to see the quota filled, but I think they are just as happy if the quota is not filled. So - apply that mentality to the process and VB progression becomes more about embassy capacity and not exceeding the quota, rather than all the factors we would like to think are included to squeeze every last GC out of the quota. When I apply that mentality (and have access to the CEAC data) I have become quite accurate in predicting VB progression. I make mistakes (like missing the 50k AF cutoff in DV2015) when I forget the simple mentality and assume they must be wanting to give away all the visas possible.
 
#26
Lastly, in general I think we (outside of KCC) assume there is more focus on "filling the quota" than actually exists. Some people even suggest that KCC are somehow going to be punished if they don't give away all the visas. That is nonsense. KCC apply their procedures and are probably happy to see the quota filled, but I think they are just as happy if the quota is not filled. So - apply that mentality to the process and VB progression becomes more about embassy capacity and not exceeding the quota, rather than all the factors we would like to think are included to squeeze every last GC out of the quota. When I apply that mentality (and have access to the CEAC data) I have become quite accurate in predicting VB progression. I make mistakes (like missing the 50k AF cutoff in DV2015) when I forget the simple mentality and assume they must be wanting to give away all the visas possible.[/QUOTE]

That does make a lot of sense, but if you assume (correctly, I think) that the bulletin numbers are motivated primarily by the desire to regulate embassy capacity, why on earth would KCC decide to go current, especially early on like last year, instead of just doling out case numbers until the end of the year? If they have the capacity to go current in May, embassy capacity wise, as they did last year (even if this eventually turned out to be TOO early), and have a buildup of unused visas due to more cases going to AP, it would seem rather callus of them to ignore that and end up with an unfulfilled quota.

For my own case (Asian high case number), I wonder if this might tip the scale more towards doing AOJ instead of CP. The way things are going, it is either that the pace of visa progression will pick up, OR they will have an unused quota towards the end of the year, either of which seems to favor AOJ, no? On the other hand, things at the USCIS seem to be going from bad to worse...
 
#27
You are assuming that more scrutiny leads to more refusals. That is not necessarily the case. More/longer AP might affect the applicants with higher case numbers, but because of the lead time before interview , that typically just means more cases that time out (remain in AP on September 30). But the system is not agile enough to turn that into more interviews. So - if there is an impact, it won't be significant enough to dramatically alter case number progression.

Also - from what I understood from things you and others wrote elsewhere, there shouldn't be much of a difference between a rejection and AP, since in either case at the end of the month the unused visas return to the pool. Is there any other difference? would it affect CP and AOJ differently?
 

Britsimon

Super Moderator
#28
Lastly, in general I think we (outside of KCC) assume there is more focus on "filling the quota" than actually exists. Some people even suggest that KCC are somehow going to be punished if they don't give away all the visas. That is nonsense. KCC apply their procedures and are probably happy to see the quota filled, but I think they are just as happy if the quota is not filled. So - apply that mentality to the process and VB progression becomes more about embassy capacity and not exceeding the quota, rather than all the factors we would like to think are included to squeeze every last GC out of the quota. When I apply that mentality (and have access to the CEAC data) I have become quite accurate in predicting VB progression. I make mistakes (like missing the 50k AF cutoff in DV2015) when I forget the simple mentality and assume they must be wanting to give away all the visas possible.
That does make a lot of sense, but if you assume (correctly, I think) that the bulletin numbers are motivated primarily by the desire to regulate embassy capacity, why on earth would KCC decide to go current, especially early on like last year, instead of just doling out case numbers until the end of the year? If they have the capacity to go current in May, embassy capacity wise, as they did last year (even if this eventually turned out to be TOO early), and have a buildup of unused visas due to more cases going to AP, it would seem rather callus of them to ignore that and end up with an unfulfilled quota.

For my own case (Asian high case number), I wonder if this might tip the scale more towards doing AOJ instead of CP. The way things are going, it is either that the pace of visa progression will pick up, OR they will have an unused quota towards the end of the year, either of which seems to favor AOJ, no? On the other hand, things at the USCIS seem to be going from bad to worse...[/QUOTE]

I's hard to say why they went current so early. There is a natural pace enforced by the DS260 submission/processing, but they clearly made a mistake in going current too early and losing control of the pace. I think part of that might have been uncertainty about needed processing times due to the new loose canon sitting in the WH. They would have been unsure of the next stunt he was going to pull and they probably judged that they needed to give some cases post interview additional time by interviewing as early as possible. However, when they pulled that trigger, DS260s were still being submitted and they got caught with additional caseloads they didn't expect.

By AOJ I assume you mean AOS. No - I think AOS is a riskier option for high number cases. If you look at AOS cases from last year, there were a number of people that found visas were not available to them, because visas had effectively been exhausted. That is because AOS cases are not allocated a visa in advance of the interview, as IS the case in CP. So - CP is arguably a safer route for high case numbers. If you get current and get scheduled, at least you know there is a visa for you (as long as you don't get AP or reschedule your appointment).
 
#29
Right, AOS. I guess I'll just have to "wait and see" which way the wind is blowing. One thing I couldn't figure out though - if they go current, does that mean that they assign interview dates for all of the people whose DS has been processed? Clearly that can't be the case, I guess.

So if for some reason AS somehow reaches high numbers towards the end of the year, there is a chance that CP would be lagging behind, unfulfilling its quotas, while AOS gets a windfall in the form of many unused visas, or something like that, no?

(something very weird is happening to the quote thingy in my post)
 
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Britsimon

Super Moderator
#30
Right, AOS. I guess I'll just have to "wait and see" which way the wind is blowing. One thing I couldn't figure out though - if they go current, does that mean that they assign interview dates for all of the people whose DS has been processed? Clearly that can't be the case, I guess.

So if for some reason AS somehow reaches high numbers towards the end of the year, there is a chance that CP would be lagging behind, unfulfilling its quotas, while AOS gets a windfall in the form of many unused visas, or something like that, no?

(something very weird is happening to the quote thingy in my post)
I edited your post for the quote issue.

This year won't go current.
AOS doesn't get a windfall.
You need to make sure you have decided between AOS and CP - and stick with it.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#31
Right, AOS. I guess I'll just have to "wait and see" which way the wind is blowing. One thing I couldn't figure out though - if they go current, does that mean that they assign interview dates for all of the people whose DS has been processed? Clearly that can't be the case, I guess.

So if for some reason AS somehow reaches high numbers towards the end of the year, there is a chance that CP would be lagging behind, unfulfilling its quotas, while AOS gets a windfall in the form of many unused visas, or something like that, no?

(something very weird is happening to the quote thingy in my post)
Yes, current means they assign interview dates for everyone whose DS has been processed. I don't understand why you say that "clearly can't be the case" - what else do you think it could mean??

And no, CP wouldn't lag behind, remember they schedule CP 2 months in advance. If it looks like they have capacity to fill all the numbers, they will - drum roll!! - announce the numbers as current in the last couple of VBs. Lot less nerve-wracking than having a high CN and doing AOS - it's true that most manage it successfully but if you look back at past AOS threads there is always a lot of stress involved, because it's up to the FOs to schedule their own interviews and some are, um, a bit more ...relaxed.... about that than others.
 
#32
Yes, current means they assign interview dates for everyone whose DS has been processed. I don't understand why you say that "clearly can't be the case" - what else do you think it could mean??

And no, CP wouldn't lag behind, remember they schedule CP 2 months in advance. If it looks like they have capacity to fill all the numbers, they will - drum roll!! - announce the numbers as current in the last couple of VBs. Lot less nerve-wracking than having a high CN and doing AOS - it's true that most manage it successfully but if you look back at past AOS threads there is always a lot of stress involved, because it's up to the FOs to schedule their own interviews and some are, um, a bit more ...relaxed.... about that than others.
So that's the thing I'm not getting - when they went current at May last year, they must have had a pretty large number of processed DSs at hand - were ALL of them immediately scheduled an interview in the following month? If there is indeed a limit to embassy capacity, and I understand Simon as saying that this is not only the case but is in fact the primary factor in visa progress, then it seems impossible for them to fit several month's worth in one month. So how exactly does that work?

Also, I understand Simon to be saying that KCC will not necessarily go current, EVEN if they believe that they have the ability to fill all the numbers (which might actually happen, due to the travel ban and an increase in the effects of AP), since they are guided more by the question of embassy capacity than by wanting to fulfill the quota, meaning that they will basically under-perform. If people do get AP/denied at a higher rate this year, and this seems to be the case, giving out the same number of visas will naturally require more interviews, and, as Simon says, CP doesn't seem to have the sufficient agility for doing so. Not sure what the question here is, though, just a puzzle.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#33
So that's the thing I'm not getting - when they went current at May last year, they must have had a pretty large number of processed DSs at hand - were ALL of them immediately scheduled an interview in the following month? If there is indeed a limit to embassy capacity, and I understand Simon as saying that this is not only the case but is in fact the primary factor in visa progress, then it seems impossible for them to fit several month's worth in one month. So how exactly does that work?

Also, I understand Simon to be saying that KCC will not necessarily go current, EVEN if they believe that they have the ability to fill all the numbers (which might actually happen, due to the travel ban and an increase in the effects of AP), since they are guided more by the question of embassy capacity than by wanting to fulfill the quota, meaning that they will basically under-perform. If people do get AP/denied at a higher rate this year, and this seems to be the case, giving out the same number of visas will naturally require more interviews, and, as Simon says, CP doesn't seem to have the sufficient agility for doing so. Not sure what the question here is, though, just a puzzle.
The embassies with capacity issues get different cut-off numbers. (They do it by country but it’s really determined by the embassy capacity that will process most of those.)

In DV2012, when the error led to low issuance, a couple of months after current was declared, they actually started contacting people who’d been selected but not submitted DS forms yet to ensure that they knew they had the option.
 
#34
Progression is exactly as expected.

Here are my expectations (which will be refined once we start seeing the CEAC data):

EU has another month or two of similar increases, then will accelerate for the May interviews.
AF is probably about to reach the first density change, so will start accelerating slightly in March, but moreso for April interviews.
AS is all about Nepal at the moment and Nepal will increase at around 600 per month until the max number is hit. For the rest of Asia, the travel ban could mean a higher number is possible BUT there is nothing forcing KCC to assume Iranians will not get visas. The travel ban may be reversed - no one knows. So - I cannot be sure how AS region will progress.
OC and SA are progressing at expected pace and there is no reason for that pace to change by much.
Hello Simon,

My EU # is at 25***.. Do you think that my number might be current in 2 month? I know it is not for sure and you only give predictions based on previous years and of course anything can change at anytime, but what would you think of my EU 25*** number?

I would really appreciate your thoughts :)

Thanks,
 

Britsimon

Super Moderator
#36
So that's the thing I'm not getting - when they went current at May last year, they must have had a pretty large number of processed DSs at hand - were ALL of them immediately scheduled an interview in the following month? If there is indeed a limit to embassy capacity, and I understand Simon as saying that this is not only the case but is in fact the primary factor in visa progress, then it seems impossible for them to fit several month's worth in one month. So how exactly does that work?

Also, I understand Simon to be saying that KCC will not necessarily go current, EVEN if they believe that they have the ability to fill all the numbers (which might actually happen, due to the travel ban and an increase in the effects of AP), since they are guided more by the question of embassy capacity than by wanting to fulfill the quota, meaning that they will basically under-perform. If people do get AP/denied at a higher rate this year, and this seems to be the case, giving out the same number of visas will naturally require more interviews, and, as Simon says, CP doesn't seem to have the sufficient agility for doing so. Not sure what the question here is, though, just a puzzle.

When they go current towards the end, they would presumably have dealth with the majority of cases. This all makes perfect sense really - I think you are overthinking it, and somehow not understanding it. And to be honest - this year will be different anyway - so why worry about understanding last year.
 
#37
When they go current towards the end, they would presumably have dealth with the majority of cases. This all makes perfect sense really - I think you are overthinking it, and somehow not understanding it. And to be honest - this year will be different anyway - so why worry about understanding last year.
Worrying about my inability to make sense of the past is what I do best!

Looking at Xarthisius' presentation does show a spike in visa issuance following the decision to go current - in some regions visa numbers almost triple during June, which seems to show that, unless their estimates were gravely miscalculated, that embassy capacity isn't THAT much of a concern, and that they are able to successfully accommodate a much larger number of cases per month, if need be.

Totally unsure why this is at all of interest to me, since, as you say, this has very little bearing on this year, but still, there are worse ways to waste one's time.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
#38
Looking at Xarthisius' presentation does show a spike in visa issuance following the decision to go current - in some regions visa numbers almost triple during June, which seems to show that, unless their estimates were gravely miscalculated, that embassy capacity isn't THAT much of a concern, and that they are able to successfully accommodate a much larger number of cases per month, if need be.

.
“Visa numbers almost triple” is meaningless without absolute numbers if you’re talking about capacity. The embassy I interviewed at could probably handle a 20x or even more increase in issuance. Cairo can barely handle any increases at all. You need actual numbers to make sense of capacity issues.
 

Britsimon

Super Moderator
#39
Worrying about my inability to make sense of the past is what I do best!

Looking at Xarthisius' presentation does show a spike in visa issuance following the decision to go current - in some regions visa numbers almost triple during June, which seems to show that, unless their estimates were gravely miscalculated, that embassy capacity isn't THAT much of a concern, and that they are able to successfully accommodate a much larger number of cases per month, if need be.

Totally unsure why this is at all of interest to me, since, as you say, this has very little bearing on this year, but still, there are worse ways to waste one's time.
When you say "some regions" you are talking about OC and SA - not the big 3. So OC going from 40 issued visas to 120 (which is about 75 interviews), hardly gives reason to make a statement such as "embassy capacity isn't THAT much of a concern". Just to be clear, that is 75 OC interviews spread over a month, mainly in OC region, but also among all the embassies in the world. So - take a look at AF, EU and AS.
 
#40
I was actually referring to AS, that went from 487 to 1306, more than doubling the amount. But it is all just my ramblings - I agree both with you and with Susie that looking at the overall trend doesn't tell us all that much. But what else can one do except drive oneself mad with projections when trying to make a decision with so many moving parts? I still need to decide whether to go ahead and file the DS, risking my current NI visa, especially since I have to leave the US for a few days, entangling me with the new and improved 90 day rule.

On that note - given all that has changed with the visa processing and progression, do you still believe it is safe (for AS11xxx) to wait until April before filing? I guess then I will know whether there is any sense in going through with any of this, and also move beyond the 90 day period (I'm reentering late December). Thanks!
 
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