I’m loving the information that we can get from CEAC with the new DoS strategy of putting all the cases in the system.
As some of you will know in previous years we had only seen cases in the CEAC system once their case was scheduled. This year, as soon as I extracted the first file I could see we were getting all cases. We saw many thousands of cases marked as “at NVC” and in the first extract I also noticed cases marked as “in Transit”. I speculated that these latter cases were cases that were on the way to the embassy – in other words cases that had just received their 2NL and the embassy had not yet “acknowledged” the cases in the CEAC system by updating the case information.
So – since 2NLs expected and were finally sent today, I have been “watching” CEAC data for a few days expecting to see some cases that were previously “at NVC” turn into “in Transit”. Sure enough, that happened this evening at a time which would be late evening on the East coast. I work in IT – so I suspected that would be a likely time for a mass update.
So – I have captured the global data up to the March cutoff numbers. By looking at the data we can see how many cases that went current in March got their 2NLs. We can also see how many cases got their 2NLs which were already current – but had waited because of late submission of their DS260. The numbers (summary shown below) are very revealing.
Look at Africa region in detail
We can see that 2018 cases (which would be about 3200/3300 selectees) have been sent their 2NLs today. That is nearly 35% of all the cases that have been scheduled so far for AF – so this was a BIG month.
We know that AF region will typically get around 10 to 12% of its annual quota each month. KCC will adjust the pace of the VB to achieve that – and actually that was about the only thing they seemed to do right last year. They are good at controlling the pace. The first 3 months is always slow, but the pace allows the finish line to be met at around September.
Now – that means that KCC will try and get to around 2200 to 2400 visas issued per month (a bit less in the early months to allow for the completing AP cases in later months. How many selectees does that take? Well the average success rate is around 65% for AF region – so they need around 3500 selectees – which is around 2100/2200 cases (allowing for a few marriages and babies).
So now we can see why the AF visa bulletin jump was so low (only 1800 increase). At the time they release the VB they already know how many cases are processed and ready to be scheduled. That is why if your case is not completed by the first day or two of the month, you will get pushed into the following month. So – look below at the data. The increase of 1800 cases from 26000 to 27800 yielded 220 cases. However 1798 cases from previous months were completed at that time getting them to just over 2000 cases. So, as I had explained several times before, they did not need to increase the VB very much because the already current cases were yielding enough new schedulable cases anyway.
Now – what can we infer for the next VB. Well take a look at the cases under the 27800 that are at NVC. There are 13173 cases out of the total 19008 cases contained within the 27800. Of the 19008 cases I would expect about 30% to never respond. The remainder (about 13300) will return their DS260s. 5835 have already been scheduled – so that means there will be about 7500 active cases carrying forward. It would not surprise me at all if that group were able to yield another 1700/1800 cases – meaning they might only need a small increase in the AF number next month to yield 400/500 cases. So – although I keep saying I won’t do VB predictions anymore, I would guess that AF will only increase to between 31k and 33k. That also fits in with my longer term prediction for the year end cutoff.
EU has a similar backlog of “at NVC” cases as Africa – so we could apply similar math to EU. However, the split between already current and March numbers was not so dramatic. So – EU could have a reasonable increase this month – within the range I have already discussed – so I expect around 27 to 28k.
AS region has a much smaller backlog problem. It has already experienced slow VB progress (because of Nepal capacity), so I would expect a jump of around 1000 this month.
OC and SA should move in line with expectations.
The DS260 backlog – comment on ongoing impact.
I am increasingly seeing the backlog as a larger problem. The 2NLs today show they have barely processed into September submissions at all. I really expected the pace of processing to have sped up by now, but it hasn’t yet. It is hard to imagine a factor this large NOT having an impact on the processing. If the processing speed does not improve then all cases will need to have been submitted some time in March in order that they are completed by early July which is when the September interviews will be scheduled. There are always late submissions, so this year we will hear from people who submit their forms in April onward, only to find they cannot be processed in time. That will help some of the high case numbers for people that have submitted by March.
The datafile is here if you would like to see it yourself.