This post should probably come with a “warning”. In order to understand the points I make in this post you are going to have to exercise your brain. I can’t give nice clean answers to the questions I am being asked and I want to explain why. In my mind I can see reasons why the final number could be anywhere between 55000 and 70000. There are too many factors to be precise – especially as I am trying to predict something that is still over 4.5 months away. No one knows for sure – not even KCC.
So – if you are looking for a nice clear answer – I don’t have one – and you won’t find it in this post. If you are wondering if your AF42XXX number is safe – you don’t need to worry. Likewise, if you still think the number will get to 81000 “because it did last year”, you have not been paying attention to the differences this year. However, there is a big gap in the range I consider to be possible – so let me try and explain why.
After the last VB there are a lot of people wondering what will happen and whether their number is safe. KCC issued a number that was 500 case numbers below my predicted range. That is really a very small number (only 192 cases because of the holes), but still it shows that they either have more backlog cases than I expected OR they did not have enough capacity at the embassy to schedule the 1800 interviews I used in my calculations. To be perfectly honest – I think they were wrong to assign so few cases – if I worked at KCC (as some people suspect I do!) then I would have pushed the number higher – to avoid under allocating or undershooting the monthly issued pace they should be maintaining.
In reality the AF issued number is slightly behind where it should be and the monthly pace is slightly low). They should be issuing about 10% of the annual quota of visas per month at this point – so that would be 2000. They are just slightly under that number. I suspect there are more no shows than they expect due to the DS260 form. They have stated their is more response than they expected but the ability to fill in a form online with no cost for postage has probably made some people submit the form that would not have submitted in previous years. However, someone in that position is likely to not even show up for their interview given the expenses involved. So – with that in mind I would have encouraged KCC to schedule a few extra interviews.
OK so back to the estimate. In my earlier estimate post I explained the position as I saw things then and explained the pace. I reasoned that the issued number at the end of June should be 13000. However, since KCC seem to be under issuing below the 2000/month case the numbers are tracking a bit lower than that. They issued 1842 in April and unless they have an amazing 2 weeks they will undershoot in May too. Apply that assumption to June and we could be just over 12000 at the end of June instead of the 13000 I predicted.
Now, once we see the 2NLs we will know that the July interview numbers will be. If they are much less than 1800 I would start to suspect that July will undershoot too – to let’s assume we get to 14000 by the end of July (which equates to the 36500 VB number). The highest quota we can predict for AF region is 22000. That quota is based on a global quota of over 52000 – which is an optimistic view given the number is supposed to end at 50000. But some of those 22000 will be taken by AoS cases (which do not show in CEAC) – so in CEAC we will only see a max of 21000, possibly 20500. For a bit of wiggle room – let’s work on 20500. That would mean at the end of July we will have 6500 visas remaining. Remember they don’t HAVE to hit that target – they would consider their job was successful if the global number only hit 50000 – so we might see less than 20000 in CEAC.
OK – so how can we estimate how many cases are needed to fill that 6500 remaining visas.
First not every case responds, or might have responded but their DS260 is not processed. So – if the VB went up by 1000 (FOR EXAMPLE) you had the next 1000 cases only 530 of those would be ready for scheduling.
Then there is the approval rate. Approval rates vary greatly by embassy – but we could assume an average rate of around 65%.
Then you have to know the derivative rate. The number of family members per case has risen dramatically during the DV year (which has been a large factor in reducing the high number. To explain – AF had 58000 selectees and there were 39266 cases in CEAC. That means there were 1.51 people per case. If you check the CEAC data now for scheduled cases there are 1.86 family members per case in AF region – a 23% increase. That is people who married after their win, babies being born etc. This is a HUGE factor that we have never been able to measure before. It is like saying the 58000 became more than 71000!
So anyway – let us assume they had 6500 visas left at the end of July (36500).
OK, 6500 divided by the new derivative rate (1.86) is 3495 cases.
Those cases must be approved so divide those by the approval rate of 65% – you get 5376.
Those 5376 cases have to have responded and that rate is growing but let us assume it is the current 53% so you divide by that number 5376/.53 = 10143.
So then you need to count 10143 cases above 36500 and if you check the link below that CEAC extract has every case number up to 89799. 10143 cases comes out to number 66958. That is (in my mind) a THEORETICAL MAXIMUM case number that could be reached and I increase that in my own mind for a bit of wiggle room. However, it is unlikely to be reached. Why?
Some of the visas in August and July WILL go to backlog cases (cases under 36500 that were late submissions) and also AP cases that resolve at that time. So – even though there might be 6500 visas available – they really are not all available for cases above 36500. Based on what we have seen so far, we could see 1000 to 2000 of those 6500 go to backlog/AP cases. So – our number is likely to be lower than the 66958 number – and that is one reason for my uncertainty in my answers when people ask if they are safe. There could be a big drop lower than the 66958. For this reason when someone at 75XXX asks me I am now starting to say I think their number is too high. If they ask at 65XXX all I can say is what many have seen from me recently – “wait and see”. If your number is in the 60’s you really can’t give up – you just have to wait until the VB published in July.
Now there is another problem. My numbers do not take in to account embassy capacity. If KCC keep on their conservative VB for August, they will be leaving a lot of interviews to be scheduled in September. The embassies do not unlimited capacity for DV cases so it won’t be possible to get to the highest numbers – no matter what the theoretical maximum says. In that case, the final VB will be limited by embassy capacity and the AF quota would not all be used. So – when the last VB was released at 500 less than my minimum it was a disappointment because it shows they are not doing what they need to do to avoid leaving too much work until the last minute. So for me, while I can still make a mathematical case that 60000 should be safe, capacity issues could threaten even that number – which is why my wait and see response starts at around 55000.
Now I know this post will prompt a lot of questions of “what about my number”. I am hoping people will read this article properly and not swamp me with those questions – and if your number is 55XXX to 69XXX you are going to get this exact response – “wait and see”.
I am getting lots of questions of how many cases between 36500 and XXX number. The complete set of numbers can be seen through this post
– please check that yourselves to avoid me doing all that extra work and you waiting for me….
Once the 2NLs are released I will post a prediction for numbers for the next VB. The CEAC data just after the 2NLs has some data we need to plug in to these estimates – so look out for that in about 1 week from now.
Africa estimate update