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Who is Charlie Oppenheim and What Does He Have to Do With My Immigration Case?

Posted on in Immigration

DuPage County immigration visa attorney

If you are the beneficiary of a family-based or employment-based visa petition that is subject to the preference categories (mostly everyone who is not an immediate relative—spouse, parent, or unmarried child under the age of 21 of a U.S. citizen), then you should know that Charlie Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division. He is responsible for issuing the monthly Visa Bulletin. The monthly Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability for any given month.

Understanding Visa Availability

In the immigration process, visa availability is important because you cannot receive an immigrant visa (outside the United States) or get your green card (inside the United States) unless a visa number is available to you. When your petitioner files the I-130 or Labor Certification for you, the date the government receives the filing becomes your Priority Date—your place in line for a visa. The Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability by Priority Date.

For example, on September 5, 2006, Dad, a U.S. citizen, filed an I-130 for his 25-year-old, unmarried Son who was born in Mexico. The Son’s Priority Date is September 5, 2006, and his category is FB1—family-based, first preference, unmarried children over the age of 21 of U.S. citizens. By checking the Visa Bulletin each month, we can see when a visa will be available for him. In November of 2019, the FB1 category is at August 8, 1997, meaning that only those beneficiaries who have a Priority Date of August 7, 1997, or before have available visas (August 8, 1997 is the first Priority Date for which a visa is not available). The Son in this case still has a long wait because each month the dates in the Visa Bulletin can move forward but they can also move backward, which is called retrogressing.

Back to Charlie—he issues the Visa Bulletin each month around the 10th of the month for the next month and fixes the dates on the bulletin based on demand for visas. Since these visa categories are numerically limited, meaning that only a set number of visas are available each fiscal year, the more demand, the more the dates will move backward or stay the same. If there is less demand, the dates move forward.

Although no one can know exactly how the Visa Bulletin will move in a future month, Charlie does give insight into trends he sees. We will publish those trends when available. See our Blog, November 2019 Visa Bulletin Trends—Where are the numbers headed? for more information.

Note that Immediate Relatives of U.S. citizens—spouses, unmarried children under the age of 21, and parents—are not subject to the annual visa limits and therefore do not have to wait for a visa to become available.

Contact a DuPage County Immigration Lawyer

Immigrating to the United States can be life-changing for people who face persecution in their native lands. The legal process can seem intimidating at first, but following the proper steps is necessary to obtain citizenship status. It is important to understand that there are only a certain number of visas available for issue to immigrants. The monthly U.S. Visa Bulletin indicates visa availability for each month. If you or your loved one is considering entering the United States, it is important to seek the skilled legal guidance of an Itasca immigrant visa attorney. We can assist you in filing the required paperwork to achieve your dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. Call our office today at 630-875-1700 for a confidential consultation. 

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