On March 8, 2024, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the April 2024 Visa Bulletin. The April 2024 Visa Bulletin reflects no advances in final action dates for India and China. Specifically, the priority dates are as follows:

  • EB-5 Unreserved categories (Pre-RIA):  C5, T5, I5 and R5 (cases filed prior to the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 enacted on March 15, 2022):
    • China: remains December 15, 2015;
    • India: remains December 1, 2020; and
    • All Other Countries, including Mexico and Philippines remain current.
  • EB-5 Rural, High Unemployment, and Infrastructure remain current for all countries.

As a background, the DOS Visa Bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers and releases Dates for Filing Applications and Final Action Dates charts monthly. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirms which chart applicants must use for purposes of filing their Adjustment of Status Application. For April 2024, USCIS confirmed that all employment-based preference categories must use the Final Action Dates chart.

The chart below published in the April 2024 Visa Bulletin shows the final action dates for the EB-5 employment-based cases. The priority date is the date of filing of Form I-526 and final action date noted as “C” indicates that the priority date is current, which means the immigrant visa number is available immediately. Individuals with a priority date that is before the published priority date and with the priority date indicated as “current” may file an Adjustment of Status application.

EB-5 Update Graph

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently published the October 2023 visa bulletin for the start of the government’s new fiscal year (FY 2024). The October 2023 visa bulletin presents advancements in both the Final Action Dates and Dates for Filing charts for China in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program preference’s unreserved subcategory. Specifically, the Final Action Date for EB-5 China (unreserved) progressed from Sept. 8, 2015, to Oct. 1, 2015. Though this nearly one month advancement is relatively modest, it represents the first movement for the EB-5 category for Chinese investors since May 2023.

The October 2023 visa bulletin showcases significant advancement in the Dates for Filing chart for Chinese investors in the EB-5 category. The dates for filing for Chinese investors moved from Jan. 1, 2016, to Jan. 1, 2017. This movement is noteworthy because of USCIS’ decision to shift from using the Dates for Final Action chart in September 2023 to using the Dates for Filing chart in October 2023 to determine filing eligibility for all employment-based preference categories, including EB-5. When considering the advancements in the visa bulletin and USCIS’ shift from honoring the Final Action Dates to Dates for Filing chart, Chinese investors’ ability to file for an adjustment of status moved up by roughly 15 months, from Sept. 8, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2017.

In addition to an advancement in Chinese investors’ ability to file for an adjustment of status (i.e., their green card application), the movement in the visa bulletin allows Chinese investors with a priority date of Jan. 1, 2017, or earlier to apply for supplemental benefits along with their adjustment of status. Specifically, they can apply for a travel document (advance parole), which allows them to travel internationally and re-enter the United States as a parolee and with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card), which affords them valid work authorization while waiting for USCIS to process their green card application.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has published the December 2022 bulletin which reflects an increased demand across multiple categories. As warned in last month’s bulletin, the December bulletin implements a world-wide cut-off for the EB-2 category.

DOS also warns in its December bulletin that due to increased demand and number use in the EB-1 category, combined with decreased visa number availability for FY-2023 in comparison to FY-2022, we may see the establishment of final action date and application date cut-offs for China and India in the coming months.

USCIS has announced that it will use the Date for Filing chart in December 2022. Within the EB-2 category, except for China and India, all countries are subject to a final action date of Nov. 1, 2022 and an application filing date of Dec. 1, 2022. EB-2 India faces a retrogression in its final action date with a cut-off of Oct. 8, 2011 and the final action date for EB-2 China remains the same as last month with a cut-off of June 8, 2019.

EB-3 final action dates and application filing dates remain current on both final action and application filing date charts for all countries except China and India, which face cut-off dates in 2018 and 2012 respectively.

EB-5 dates remain current on both charts for all classifications, with the exception of Indian- and Mainland-Chinese-born nationals associated with unreserved classifications including C5, T5, I5, and R5. These nationals face the same dates in December as those included on the November bulletin. Specifically, the application dates for Indian-born nationals in this classification is Dec. 8, 2019, while the final action date remains at Nov. 8, 2019. Mainland-Chinese-born nationals in this classification continue to face an application date of Jan. 1, 2016, while the final action date remains at March 22, 2015.

The December bulletin also identifies that preliminary consolidated number use by DOS and USCIS for all of FY-2022 shows there were approximately 57,000 unused family-sponsored visa numbers. Thus the estimated employment-based annual limit will be for FY-2023 will be 197,000.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released the monthly Visa Bulletin for October 2022 — the first month of Fiscal Year 2023. A review of the Visa Bulletin shows that the Employment Based 5th (EB-5) visa category for nationals of Mainland China has retrogressed, with cutoff date moving from Dec. 22, 2015 to March 22, 2015. Furthermore, the Visa Bulletin also shows retrogression for India-born investors, with cutoff date of Nov. 8, 2019. This applies to EB-5 investors undergoing immigrant visa processing or adjustment of status whose EB-5 petition was filed prior to the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.

Those investors filing EB-5 petitions under the provisions of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 in reserved categories, which include visas associated with investments in rural projects, high unemployment areas, and infrastructure projects, are able to utilize the immigrant visa set-asides and are therefore not subject to retrogression.

Retrogression means that investors born in Mainland China and India with priority dates prior to the cut-off dates shown in the visa bulletin will not have their immigrant visa interviews scheduled, immigrant visa applications approved, or Applications to Adjust Status adjudicated until such time that their priority dates become current again based on the DOS Visa Bulletin’s Chart A Final Action Dates.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not yet announced whether those filing for Adjustment of Status in the United States in the month of October will be able to take advantage of Chart B Dates for Filing. Should USCIS allow this, India-born investors with priority dates prior to Dec. 8, 2019 and Mainland-China-born investors with priority dates prior to Jan. 1, 2016, will still be able to file Applications to Adjust Status, though they will not be adjudicated until visas become available per Chart A Final Action Date, subject to USCIS processing times. If USCIS instructs that any Adjustment of Status filings must be undertaken based on Chart A Final Action Dates, those Mainland-China- and India-born investors in the United States in valid nonimmigrant status will remain unable to file their Applications to Adjust Status subject to the Final Action Date cutoffs outlined above.

In addition to potential delays in obtaining a green card, EB-5 investors should also be aware that retrogression may impact their child’s ability to obtain a derivative green card. A child is only eligible to become a permanent resident as a derivative of the primary investor if the child is under the age of 21. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) provides some protection for dependent children while the I-526 petition is pending but may not protect a child from “ageing-out” as a result of a lengthy delay in obtaining a visa number.

* Special thanks to Jessica DeNisi for her valuable contributions to this GT blog post.

The State Department recently published the July 2021 Visa Bulletin. In the July 2021 Visa Bulletin, the final action priority date for EB-5 Vietnam moved forward significantly to April 1, 2020. This means that an EB-5 investor born in Vietnam who filed an I-526 Petition on or before March 31, 2020, may have a visa number immediately available on July 1, 2021, and can process for a conditional green card upon I-526 Petition approval. This significant advance will make the majority of all pending and approved I-526 petitions for investors born in Vietnam “current,” meaning there is no visa backlog.

July 2021 Visa Bulletin

Importantly, the EB-5 Regional Center program is set to expire on June 30, 2021, and therefore the “5th Regional Center (I5 and R5) currently says “U” for unavailable.  Division O, Title 1, Section 104 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 extended the Regional Center program until June 30, 2021. The Visa Bulletin states that EB-5 immigrant visas based on an approved I-526 Petition affiliated with a regional center may be issued until close of business on June 30, 2021, and may be issued for the full validity period. No EB-5 immigrant visas may be issued overseas, or final action taken on adjustment of status cases, after June 30, 2021, until the EB-5 Regional Center program is reauthorized by Congress.

The Department of State’s May 2021 Visa Bulletin showed limited movement for the EB-5 category and previewed what may be the state of priority dates for the EB-5 category for the remainder of the fiscal year.

As in recent months, the EB-5 priority dates for Chart A Final Action Dates remained current for investors born in all countries except Vietnam and China. Chart A Final Action Dates represent the date immigrant visas are available. Although the final action cutoff date for Vietnam advanced by two months to Feb. 15, 2018, the final action cutoff date for China saw no movement and remained at Aug. 15, 2015, where it has been since September 2020.

Furthermore, according to Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, the Chinese EB-5 category already has over 5,000 documentarily qualified applications that are current for final action, which is more than enough to meet the visa cap for the fiscal year. As such, the final action cutoff date for the EB-5 category for China may not see any significant advancement for the remainder of the 2021 fiscal year, which could also backlog this category in the 2022 fiscal year.

USCIS announced that applicants will need to use Chart A for filing adjustment of status applications. As such, Vietnam-born investors with priority dates earlier than Feb. 15, 2018, who are in the United States in valid visa status, are now able to file adjustment of status applications, and the National Visa Center will be able to initiate the immigrant visa process for those investors with the same priority dates who reside abroad. However, as a reminder, the scheduling of immigrant visa interviews and forwarding of files to the U.S. Consular Posts are subject to delays due to the ongoing operational reductions at consulates during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Department of State (DOS) has released its March 2020 Visa Bulletin, which shows significant advancement in most employment-based (EB) categories, particularly the EB-5 category.

根据国务院(DOS)最新发布的2020年3月签证排期表(Visa Bulletin),大多数职业类别的移民排期有大幅进展,尤其是EB-5投资移民类别。

Specifically for EB-5, the priority dates per Chart A Final Action Dates will remain current for investors born in all countries except China, India, and Vietnam. The final action cutoff date for China will advance by almost six months to May 15, 2015. Likewise, the final action cutoff date for India will advance more than seven weeks to Oct. 22, 2019; and the final action cutoff date for Vietnam will advance by one month to Jan. 15, 2017.

针对EB-5类别,除中国大陆,印度和越南以外的所有其他国家/地区出生的投资人,目前仍然没有排期。对于中国大陆出生的投资人,在2020年3月,最终裁定日(表A)截止日期将前进近六个月,至2015年5月15日。

Furthermore, USCIS announced that applicants will be able to use Chart B for filing adjustment of status applications. Chart B Dates for Filing will remain current for all countries other than mainland China. The Chart B cutoff date for Mainland China will move up seven months to Dec. 15, 2015, for the month of March. As such, Mainland China-born investors with priority dates earlier than Dec. 15, 2015, who are in the United States in valid visa status will be able to file adjustment of status applications, and the National Visa Center will be able to initiate the immigrant visa process for those investors with the same priority dates who reside abroad.

此外,美国移民局2月19日宣布,申请人将可以根据递交申请日(表B)在美国递交I-485申请调整身份。对于在中国大陆以外的所有国家/地区出生的申请人,表B目前仍然没有排期。对中国大陆出生的申请人,表B的优先日截止日期将在3月份前进7个月,直到2015年12月15日。因此,满足(1)目前在美国具有合法身份 (2)优先日早于2015年12月15日这两个条件的中国大陆出生的投资者将能够在3月递交I-485身份调整申请. 与此同时,对于优先日早于2015年12月15日, 但居住在国外的投资人,国家签证中心将会开始启动投资人的移民签证程序.

As a reminder, the scheduling of immigrant visa interviews and forwarding of files to the U.S. Consular Post in Guangzhou, China, are subject to delays. This is because all regular operations were ceased at the U.S. Consular Posts in China due to health concerns associated with COVID-19.

值得注意的是,安排移民签证面试和将文件从国家签证中心转发到中国广州美国领事馆的时间可能会有所延迟。这是由于COVID-19冠性病毒的影响,所有在美国的中国领事馆目前仍停止正常运作。

In addressing the significant movement forward of the cutoff dates for Mainland China-born EB-5 investors, the State Department explained that, to date, there has not been a lot of applicants seeking to obtain conditional permanent residence. Therefore, the State Department made the decision to advance cutoff dates, particularly for EB-5 investors born in Mainland China, in order to utilize fully the amount of green cards available. The State Department warned, however, that it is possible for the cutoff dates to retrogress in the coming months.

对于3月份排期的大幅前进,国务院解释原因为,迄今为止,申请人寻求获得有条件的永久居留权的数量并不多。因此,国务院决定提前优先日截止日期,特别是对于在中国大陆出生的EB-5投资者,以充分利用可用的绿卡数量。国务院同时也警告说,排期有可能在未来几个月内倒退。

Please contact your GT attorney with any questions regarding the March 2020 Visa Bulletin or your eligibility for green card processing.

如果您对2020年3月的排期表,或者对您是否可以进行下一步的绿卡申请有任何问题,请联系您的GT律师。

In the EB-1 category, the Dates of Filing is now current for all countries of chargeability except for China and India. For November, USCIS allowed I-485 filings based on Dates of Filing rather than Final Action dates; however, EB-1 was retrogressed for all categories, allowing only certain applicants to file. USCIS has not issued the December 2019 calendar or confirmed if it will follow Dates of Filing or Final Action. If USCIS continues to abide by the dates of filing calendar, many EB-1 candidates will be able to finally file their I-485/Adjustment of Status applications. For EB-1 Final Action dates, there was slight movement. Continue Reading The Department of State (DOS) December 2019 Visa Bulletin Released

The U.S. Department of State just released the updated Visa Bulletin for June 2019. The monthly updated waiting list provides the latest information for foreign nationals who seek to become U.S. permanent residents by applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad or filing adjustment of status applications. The Visa Bulletin for the coming month is normally updated on or about the tenth of each month with information on cutoff dates for the following month.

The priority dates per Chart A (Final Action Dates) remain current for investors born in all other countries except the following:

Mainland China-Born Investors

Mainland China-born investors’ EB-5 waiting line continued to see slow progress with the projected June 2019 Visa Bulletin, moving one week forward to Oct. 1, 2014. This means Mainland China-born investors with priority dates of Oct. 1, 2014, or earlier are eligible to be scheduled for immigrant visa interviews at consular posts or file adjustment of status applications if they are in valid status in the United States, or wait for the adjudication of their AOS applications if previously submitted.

Vietnam-Born Investors

Like China, Vietnam continued to see slow cutoff date forward movement, progressing 9 days from Sept. 22, 2016, to Oct. 1, 2016.

Indian-Born Investors

There is still no visa backlog for Indian investors in June 2019, which is good news. However, pursuant to a prediction from Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, it is likely to institute a cutoff date in the Visa Bulletin for the first time in July 2019.

The current priority date cutoff date per Chart B (Dates for filing) of the Visa Bulletin moves a little faster. For Mainland China-born investors, the priority date is Nov. 1, 2014, moved up by 17 days. The priority dates remain current for investors born in all other countries including Vietnam. Chart B enables Vietnamese investors who are in valid nonimmigrant status in the United States and wish to process the green card application without leaving United States to file AOS applications. However, Chart B is not available all the time. For the month of June, USCIS does not permit the use of Chart B for AOS applications. Normally, USCIS will designate one of the two charts each month within one week of the publication of the Visa Bulletin. We will be closely monitoring the Visa Bulletin and advise once Chart B is open.

There is also a backlog in EB-5 processing time. Currently, the average processing time for an I-526 petition ranges from 22 to 28.5 months, as shown in the below screenshot from the USCIS website. The current processing time is 1.5 months to 2 months slower compared to the time in April. USCIS will accept a case inquiry for outside normal processing time with a receipt date of Jan. 24, 2017, or earlier. For a receipt date of Jan. 25, 2017, USCIS will not respond to the email inquiry regarding the long processing time.

 

 

FINAL ACTION DATES FOR EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CASES (Chart A)

DATES FOR FILING OF EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA APPLICATIONS (Chart B) 

For more visa bulletins, click here.

The Department of State (DOS) January 2019 Visa Bulletin has resulted in mixed bag of retrogression for some and advancement for others. The EB-1 category moved forward approximately 3 months across the board. EB-3 China and India are both now at Dec. 15, 2016.  The EB-2 category showed minor improvement for China to Aug. 1, 2015, but no movement at all for India, which is still set at April 1, 2009. It was a similar result in the EB-3 category, with China and India holding the same dates as last month’s Visa Bulletin. As mentioned in our November blog post, the EB-3 India final action date moved very rapidly over the past year, advancing almost a year and a half. The static nature of the past two months may reflect the continued processing of EB-3 India visa applications. In the EB-5 category the date for the non-regional center categories of China advanced to Sept. 1, 2014, and Vietnam advanced to June 1, 2016. The date for Vietnam in the EB-5 category has now advanced in this fiscal year from Jan. 1, 2016, in October 2018 to June 1, 2016, in this visa bulletin.

As has happened repeatedly in the recent past, the EB-4 religious workers and regional center EB-5 categories are listed as unavailable because the laws authorizing those categories are due to expire after midnight Dec. 20, 2018, and Dec. 21, 2018, respectively. Accordingly, no EB-4 religious workers visa may be issued, or a final action taken on an adjustment of status application, after midnight Dec. 20, 2018. Further, individuals seeking admission in this category must be admitted into the United States no later than midnight Dec. 20, 2018. If Congress, reauthorizes this category as is expected, the final action date would be current for all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which will be set at Feb. 22, 2016, and Mexico, which will be set at April 15, 2017.

Similarly, no EB-5 regional center visas may be issued, or a final action taken on an adjustment of status application, after Dec. 21, 2018. If Congress, reauthorizes this category as is expected, the final action date would be current for all countries except China and Vietnam. The China and Vietnam dates would be set at the same date as the nonregional center category, which is listed above. GT will be closely monitoring these advancements as they unfold.

Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases