Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What Is Demand Data?

Every month Department Of State releases demand data which is used to set visa bulletin cut off dates. This blog post gives more details about this document.

Q. What is Demand Data?
A. Demand Data is monthly data released by Department Of State (DOS) which includes preadjudicated cases from USCIS and some Consular Processing cases which have been "documentarily qualified".

Q.  Um...what does this mean?
A. The last stage of GC process is either (a) filing I-485 document (b) consular processing interview.  When the application has been processed successfully, GC is immediately assigned. However if visa number is not available, these cases in USCIS are called "preadjudicated" cases and in US Embassy are called "documentarily qualified" cases.

Demand data includes these preadjudicated and documentarily qualified cases.

Q. Why is visa number not available?
A. Visa allocation is based on supply and demand. Every year each EB and FB category have a fixed supply. However if demand is higher than supply, dates could retrogress. Hence by the time I-485 application is processed (which could take 4-8 months), VB date could retrogress. If it retrogress, then visa number is considered to be not available.

Q. Is Demand Data available for both EB and FB category?
A. Currently DOS publishes Demand  Data for EB categories only. They had planned to release it for FB categories also (but they havent done it yet).

Q. How to read Demand Data?
A.  Please see below July 2013 Demand data for EB3 category.

Let us use EB3 India category. EB3 India gets an annual quota of about 2802 visas per year. If demand is higher than 2802 visas, than a cut off date is established in Visa bulletin so that no more than 2802 visas are allocated per year.

In chart above, there are 9,725 (preadjudicated + consular processing) cases waiting for visa numbers till date prior to Jan 1, 2004.

This means that if the VB dates for EB3 India is Jan 2003 (per July VB), it could take around 3.4 years to reach Jan 2004 VB date (9725/2802 = 3.4). It also means that if your PD is January 1, 2004, there are around 9,725 people in front of you.

Similarly the cumulative demand till Jan 1, 2005 is 20,975. This means it could take 7.48 years for EB3 India to reach Jan 2005 in Visa Bulletin (20975/2802 = 7.48).

Hopefully this gives a clear idea on how to understand the numbers in Demand Data. The numbers in demand data helps in establishing the visa bulletin cut off date.

There are few important things to note:

 1. If EB category gets spillovers from FB category, the supply will be little higher than 2802 visas. In FY 2013, EB3 India will get additional 361 visas from FB category. This is because there were 18,000 visas unused in FB category in FY 2012.

2. If any of the retrogressed EB categories gets spillovers from other EB categories, the supply quota would again be higher than 2802 visas. EB3 categories could get spillovers from EB2 category if there are any unused visas in EB2 category. Please see article.

3. Demand in each category could reduce due to "demand destruction".

Tip: Demand destruction could be due to multiple things: People changing jobs and filing the PERM again (not porting but starting the entire process again), people getting laid off and going back home, people abandoning their GC process because of frustration, people going back home due to better opportunities, multiple PERMs like husband and wife both have PERMs filed, people updating to EB1, people getting married to EB2ROW candidates (or GC holders, US citizens etc). 

4. Demand can also reduce due to porting to a different category (EB3 to EB2, etc). According to Charles Oppenheim, when an applicant ports from EB3 to EB2, they are counted twice. Only when the green card is approved does the duplicate file number go away. At that time, Mr. Oppenheim’s office is told by USCIS to cancel a pending EB-3 case. Please see article.

5. Demand Data includes primary applicants and all dependents.

6. USCIS/DOS could move dates faster in Visa Bulletin to create a pipeline of cases. This helps them understand the current/future demand.

6. The demand in table above only includes preadjudicated cases. This means it does not include cases where (a) I-140 is approved and I-485 application havent been filed yet or (b) I-485 application have been filed but has not been preadjudicated. Thus actual demand could be (much) higher than the table above.

Based on all these notes, the visa bulletin dates could move faster or slower than the data published in demand data.

You can find the latest demand data here:

You can find previous demand data here:

Recommended Reading:

Please click here for latest immigration news or see the right side menu for the latest analysis, news stories and other useful FAQ or USCIS links --> 


  1. Hi There, I am EB3 (ROW) and my priority date is FEB2012 .. this means the number of people ahead of me in the queue is somewhere between 225 and 400, correct? there is something I don't get here, If the yearly quota is 2802 visas, does this mean all the 400 will definitely get the visa in a year?!

    1. Since EB3 ROW dates did not move beyond 2010, it only shows preadjudicated cases till 2010. You would have to look at the I-485 pending report to get a good idea of how many applicants in EB3ROW are before a particular date. There are lots of links on right side that would be helpful.


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