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October 30 2015

The Second Surge and New Visa Bulletin

The Second Surge

The September 30th end of the Regional Center EB-5 program came, and Congress punted the ball downfield to extend the program to December 11. We filed many I-526s, new Regional Center applications and I-526 project exemplars before September 30th. I then took a vacation to Europe to rest up for the final surge to file applications before December 11th to take advantage of existing law.

No one knows what will be in the final EB-5 Regional Center extension bill. It will be part of the new budget bill that Congress must pass by December 11. I hear there is still disagreement about TEAs and grandfathering of the $500,000 minimum investment amount. Also, Congress may pass the new budget bill (including changes to the EB-5 program) the week after Thanksgiving – several days before December 11th. I will let you know as I have more information from Washington D.C.

New Visa Bulletin

The State Department has released a new feature on the monthly visa bulletin. This change will not affect most EB-5 immigrants who will seek immigrant visas at the Consul in the applicant’s home country.

After the I-526 is granted, the applicant for an immigrant visa is typically permitted to proceed to an interview once the applicant’s filing date (“priority date”) appears on the visa bulletin. With the cut-off date established for China earlier this year, many EB-5 investors must wait several more months for an available visa to proceed.

For some China-born EB-5 immigrants in the U.S. on a student or work visa, the visa bulletin now has a second filing date – a date by which one may apply to adjust/change status from a student or work visa to an EB-5 immigrant. The wait time under this filing date is much less than the wait for the I-526 priority date to be current for issuance of a visa. This allows a Chinese EB-5 immigrant in the U.S. to file the adjustment application sooner than in the past and get a work and travel permit. But the conditional green card application will not be granted until the priority date is current on the visa bulletin and a visa number is available.