17 Mar Department of State Announces EB-5 Waiting List Expected by June 2015 for Mainland China
In its Visa Bulletin for April 2015, the Department of State announced that it expects to set a cut-off date for mainland Chinese born EB-5 visa petitioners “no later than June”. This means that by June 2015, persons born in Mainland China will become subject to a waiting list to obtain an EB-5 visa.
At present, there is no waiting list in the EB-5 program for visas. This would be the first time that a waiting list has arisen for any country in the EB-5 visa program.
The popularity of the EB-5 investment green card program has grown by leaps and bounds in the last five years, taking visa usage from a mere 1,000 visas per year, to the maximum limit of approximately 10,000 visas per year in 2015.
When a cut-off date is set, Mainland Chinese investors with an approved EB-5 petition will not be eligible for visa processing until his or her priority date falls earlier than the cut-off date. The priority date is determined by the date on which an I-526 visa petition is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and appears written on the official Receipt Notice for the investor’s I-526 visa petition.
It is expected that the Department of State will establish a 2-year waiting list for new EB-5 visas for persons born in Mainland China. Department of State officials expect that a 2-year waiting period will be sufficient to permit processing of a large body of I-526 visa petitions that have been filed in the last 3 years and which remain pending.
The Department of State’s cut-off dates are reviewed every month, and may be adjusted during these reviews. Mainland Chinese EB5 petitioners whose priority dates fall after the cut-off date are not yet eligible to file for visa processing. They must wait until the cut-off dates are adjusted such that their priority dates fall earlier than the cut-off date.
Please note that this cut-off date is projected to apply only to Mainland-Chinese-born investors, owing to very subscription numbers from Mainland China. The cut-off will not apply to EB-5 investors born in all other states and territories (including Hong Kong and Taiwan).
For more information, please contact I.A. Donoso & Associates.