02 Oct Final Action Dates for EB-5 Visas and the October 2015 Visa Bulletin
President Obama has approved and signed the short-term law, thereby completing the constitutional requirements for enacting the law.
October 1, 2015
On September 30, 2015, the U.S. Congress and the President approved a short-term law named H.R. 719 that funds the U.S. Government’s operations and extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program until December 11, 2015.
The effect of this new law is to extend the EB-5 Regional Center visa program without any changes until December 11, 2015. This is a very fortunate development for EB-5 investors. For example, the minimum investment amount of $500,000 in high unemployment areas remains the same until December 11, 2015.
The October 2015 Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State determines the waiting list for EB-5 visas for persons born in Mainland China. The October 2015 Visa Bulletin was published two times in September 2015. First, an initial October 2015 Visa Bulletin was published on September 9, 2015. Second, the final October 2015 Visa Bulletin was published on September 25, 2015.
Both the initial and the final October 2015 Visa Bulletin stated that the EB-5 visa category for citizens of all countries would be “Unavailable” in October 2015 because the U.S. Government had not approved the extension of the EB-5 Regional Center visa program. The exact text on page 9 of the October 2015 Visa Bulletin stated:
- “The cut-off dates for the categories mentioned above have been listed as “Unavailable” for October. Congress is currently considering an extension of the SR, I5 and R5 visa categories, but there is no certainty when such legislative action may occur. If there is legislative action extending one or both of these categories for FY-2016, those cut-off dates would immediately become “Current” for October for all countries except the China-mainland born I5 and R5 categories which would be subject to an October 8, 2013 cut-off date.” [emphasis added]
Since the U.S. Government approved an extension of the EB-5 Regional Center program until December 11, 2015, the notes to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin expressly state that the EB-5 waiting list for mainland China will allow applicants with visa priority dates earlier than October 8, 2013, to move forward to U.S. Consulate interviews or approval of I-485 Adjustment of Status.
Additionally, the Dates for Filing I-485 Adjustment of Status or issuance of an NVC Fee Bill for the EB-5 category remain at May 1, 2015 for persons born in Mainland China and are “Current” (i.e., with no waiting list) for EB-5 applicants born in all other countries.
The U.S. Congress and the President will again need to pass a new law after December 11, 2015 to continue the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Thus, we can expect that the December 2015 Visa Bulletin will also includes notes explaining how the National Visa Center will treat the EB-5 visa category in December 2015 if the U.S. Government do not pass a law continuing the EB-5 Regional Center Program after December 11, 2015.
After December 11, 2015, it is widely expected that EB-5 Regional Center Program will experience some important changes. Lawmakers will likely raise the minimum investment amount for EB-5 investors, and changes could be made to the requirements for new Regional Center investment projects.
I.A. Donoso & Associates will continue to closely monitor activity on Capitol Hill in order to detect changes in requirements for EB-5 investors.
Please contact I.A. Donoso & Associates should you have any questions.