Over the next few months, the Department of State Visa Office estimate that visa bulletin cutoff date movement will be:
The Department of State offered their predictions and explanations of visa number availability for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which ends on September 30. In the May 2011 Visa Bulletin:
Family-sponsored: The extremely high level of demand during the first few months of FY-2011 resulted in the retrogression of most worldwide cut-off dates in January or February. While most of these cut-offs have begun to advance slowly, heavy demand in the Family First preference has caused a further retrogression for May. At this time it is not possible to predict the rate of forward movement, but some movement is anticipated in most categories for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Employment-based: At this time the amount of demand being received in the Employment First preference is extremely low compared with that of recent years. Absent an immediate and dramatic increase in demand, this category will remain "Current" for all countries. It also appears unlikely that a Second preference cut-off date will be imposed for any countries other than China and India, where demand is extremely high. Based on current indications of demand, the best case scenarios for cut-off date movement each month during the coming months are as follows:
Employment Second: Demand by applicants who are "upgrading" their status from Employment Third to Employment Second preference is very high, but the exact amount is not known. Such "upgrades" are in addition to the known demand already reported, and make it very difficult to predict ultimate demand based on forward movement of the China and India cut-off dates. While thousands of "otherwise unused" numbers will be available for potential use without regard to the China and India Employment Second preference per-country annual limits, it is not known how the "upgrades" will ultimately impact the cut-offs for those two countries. (The allocation of "otherwise unused" numbers is discussed below.)
DOS further emphasized that the predictions above are estimates only and no assumptions should be made before official visa bulletins are published.