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January 24 2014

More Talk of Visa Backlog for Chinese EB-5 Cases

Eighty-five percent of EB-5 cases involve investors from China. It is anticipated Chinese investors will use up their quota of the 10,000 EB-5 visas this fiscal year. The State Department predicts the visa list may backlog this July.

In October 2014, 10,000 visas become available for fiscal year 2015. The approved I-526s, and those expected to soon be granted, will use up the EB-5 China quota. There are about 7,000 EB-5 petitions on file. Thus, the visa shortage may continue into 2015.

This means there will be additional delays for EB-5 immigrants to arrive in the US, depending on how long their I-526 is pending. If pending a very long time, the applicant’s filing date – their “priority date” – may be current on the visa list, and there will be no further wait for one of the 10,000 visa numbers, just processing time remained for an immigrant visa. If the China EB-5 quota is backlogged and an I-526 is processed quickly, the applicant may have to wait for a visa number to become current before processing for an immigrant visa.

Also, visa number delay may complicate job creation as, generally, the USCIS wants to see the jobs in existence when the I-829 is filed. Construction jobs, for example, may not still exist if there is a long delay in the immigration process. Also, the Child Status Protection Act may not protect children if they are under 21 when the I-526 is filed but then turn 21 while the quota is backlogged. Whether the child’s age remains frozen depends on how soon before they turn 21 the I-526 is filed, and how long the petition is pending approval.