How to read the Visa Bulletin for DV selectees

This question comes up surprisingly often – people get confused with how to read the visa bulletin. Once you know, it seems very obvious, but let’s just run through it.

If you prefer, you can watch a video explaining this topic – shown at the bottom of this page. 

Each month (around the early to middle of the month) the visa bulletin is released. The bulletin covers more than just the DV lottery information, but the numbers we care about are in there. The link for the main visa bulletin index is here.

You will see a page as shown below – the current and the upcoming visa bulletin. The upcoming VB is the one we are interested in. It provides information on what cases will be interviewed in the upcoming months. For example, as I write this it is late November. The VB that was released a couple of weeks ago is the December visa bulletin and it gives numbers on January interviews. So – click the Upcoming visa bulletin link.

visa bulletin

In the VB itself there is some information on other types of immigration. However, if you scroll down the page you will see there are two sections of numbers regarding the DV lottery. We want to look at the second set of numbers, lower down the page as I am showing below.

visa bulletin2

You can see I highlighted the fact that the second section (section C) covers the following month (6/7 weeks after the release of the VB). If you look at the section where I have highlighted Africa you can see there are numbers by each region. Africa shows 21000. That means that if your case number is 2015AF20999 of lower you are eligible to be interviewed in January (assuming your DS260 has completed processing when KCC need to schedule the interviews). The number will increase a little each month so every month a few more cases “become current”. So let us assume that a month later this number says 27000. In that case any African case number under 27000 (i.e. 26999 and below) is now current and may be scheduled for interview. It does NOT mean the 21000 and the 27000 are somehow added together. It also does not mean that numbers under 21000 have missed their chance. It simply means your CN must be less than the number shown for your region.

You can see I also highlighted two countries (Egypt and Ethiopia). This means that selectees chargeable to those two countries (regardless of where they will interview) are subject to a lower limit. This is done to slow down processing for countries with a high number of selectees to spread out the workload over a longer time. Typically these countries have been limited during the draw as I explain in my post about the draw process.

In previous years we have seen various regions going “CURRENT”. This means that KCC have calculated remaining likely demand and believe they have enough visas remaining to satisfy all remaining demand. Between 2009 and 2013, that was “normal”. However, the over selection of winners  in DV2014 meant that the big 5 regions did not go current, and I expect the same thing to happen in DV2015. That means the final VB of the year (the August VB, released in July) will have a region cutoff that is lower than the highest case numbers and that will mean that some selectees will never be invited for interview. That was the case for many thousands of people in DV2014, in all regions. You can check previous years VB numbers for the 5 main regions in this post about historical VB data.

I hope that helps explain things….

Here is a video explaining this same topic.

How to read the Visa Bulletin