OK – since the Visa Bulletin was released I have had a lot of questions about the pace of the visa bulletin – many of those questions from Nepal which was 2400 for October and 2450 for November – an increase of only 50. So – this post will explain why that happens which will help Nepalese selectees, but also explain to others so they will understand when their regions go so.

So – the objective of KCC is NOT to schedule every case number and make people happy. Their job is to organize the work of all the interviews, spreading that load over the year and trying to get as close as possible to the target quotas for each region. They DON’T CARE whether a person is from one country or another within any given region. They are filling the quotas by region, not by country.

OK – I said they spread the workload over the year. Why is that? Well they don’t want to have the embassies working at a furious rate in the first 3 months and then have no DV work in the final 9 months – that would not be a sensible way to manage the workload. They also like to pace the process to give all selectees a chance to process their forms.

So – in order to give out the visas they know they have to keep within embassy capacity (how many DV cases each embassy can process) and consider the pace they want to achieve. So they roughly divide the number of interviews they will need by about 10. Using 10 rather than 12 months will allow for some adjustment and for September to be a “clearing up” month (for AP cases mainly). By the way – they got this wrong in DV2015 – so this is not a perfect science.

So now they know how many interviews are needed in one region per month. If we take Nepal embassy as an example it will help explain the process – but the process is applied to a region just like this.

Let us imagine they expect to issue 3500 visas in Nepal. That means they need to approve 350 per month (dividing by 10). In reality, early months will see less approved than 350, and later months will see more per month – because AP cases will be delayed approvals from the beginning and will count in later months. So – to approve 350 visas they might interview 380 (this depends on the success rate which in Nepal is very high). 380 people will come from about 230 cases (each case representing about 1.65 people with family members – again, varies by country).

Right – so in October KCC would have looked at their Nepalese cases and said how many cases do we need to make current to yield 230 interviews. They could ONLY pick cases that were fully processed (the DS260 forms were processed) so they had to make numbers up to  2400 current for October. In reality there were other Nepalese cases within that 2400 that had already submitted their forms but the processing was not completed. Nepal probably has around 300 cases per 1000 case numbers – so less than half of the cases had been processed in time for October interviews. Roughly speaking it seems that DS260s had been processed if submitted by late May.

OK – so then time moved on and they were looking at November interviews. Now more DS260 forms have been processed – probably (and this is a guess which we will only be able to confirm when we see 2NLs go out) up to about mid to late June. Many of those cases were under 2400 – so even if they had not increased the Nepal number at all they probably could have got close to their target of 230 interviews. In fact they decided they needed 50 more case numbers which would have been a handful of additional Nepalese cases.

Since Nepalese selectees typically submit their cases early in the process (based on what I saw last year), I suspect that this slow VB progress for Nepal will continue next month also – maybe increasing by another 200/300 at most. Later, as the backlog is less of an impact for Nepal, numbers will begin to increase as the backlog will be less of a factor.

Now for other regions and countries – there is a lesson to  be learned from this. Other regions (AF region and EU for instance) have had large starting numbers also. Looking at EU for instance almost one third of all the case numbers for EU are already current in month 2. That can only indicate that many DS260s were submitted “late” (June/July/August) and there will be a slow down later in the process. So – EU may see one more good increase next month and then backlog cases will start to absorb most of the available interview slots. AF region will have the same issue.

In Dv2015 this backlog effect continued right up to the last VB. There will always be late submissions. and it is somewhat predictable by country/region. So – I know that Nepalese will have responded faster than the rest of Asia for instance. Africa is slow to submit and therefore backlog will be a drag on interviews until the end of the year.

The point is, you cannot look at one visa bulletin and assume every month will have the same pace. Once I have the CEAC data I can predict the visa bulletin increases quite reliably, but that won’t be possible for months yet as the DV2016 data is not in the CEAC system yet.

Anyway – I hope this helps explain what is going on….

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Backlog effect on visa bulletin explained