The U.S. Department of State has just released the December Visa Bulletin which contains the following updated guidance on visa availability.
F. VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS
Family-sponsored: From early 2009 through September 2010, the level of demand for numbers in the Family-sponsored preference categories was very low. As a result, the cut-off dates for most Family preference categories were advanced at a very rapid pace, in an attempt to generate demand so that the annual numerical limits could be fully utilized. As readers were advised in previous Visa Bulletins providing projections of visa availability (e.g., April 2009, January 2010, May 2010, July 2010), such cut-off date advances could not continue indefinitely, and at some point they could slow, stop, or in some cases retrogress.
The level of demand which has been experienced during FY-2011 has resulted in most of the worldwide cut-off dates being held for the month of December. At this time it is not possible to predict when or if these dates may advance further, and there is a distinct possibility that retrogressions could occur as early as January if demand within the established cut-off dates does not appear to be subsiding.
Employment-based: At this time it is unlikely that there will be any cut-off dates in the Employment First preference during the coming months. It also appears unlikely that it will be necessary to establish a cut-off date other than those already in effect for the Second preference category. Cut-off dates continue to apply to the China and India Second preference categories due to heavy demand.
Based on current indications of demand, the best case scenarios for cut-off date movement each month during the coming months are as follows:
China: none to two weeks
India: no movement
Worldwide: three to six weeks
China: one to three weeks
India: none to two weeks
Mexico: although continued forward movement is expected, no specific projections are possible at this time.
Philippines: three to six weeks
Please be advised that the above ranges are estimates based upon the current demand patterns, and are subject to fluctuations during the coming months. The cut-off dates for upcoming months cannot be guaranteed, and no assumptions should be made until the formal dates are announced.