DOS to Issue Slightly More Visas in 2019
October 30, 2018 – Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Controls Office at the U.S. Department of State (DOS) gave a keynote address to Employment-Based Fifth preference (EB-5) stakeholders during the AILA & IIUSA Industry Forum in Chicago, Illinois.
In Fiscal Year 2019, DOS will make available approximately 10,075 EB-5 preference visas (up from 9,602 visas distributed in FY18). Additional family visas which were not utilized in FY2018 contributed to the 473 visa increase.
In FY19 there will be approximately 3,800 visas available to Chinese. This is expected to result in the advancement of approximately 2 months of applicant priority date. Last year China-born applicants were granted 4,642 visas down from approximately 7,500 in the preceding 2 fiscal years. Next month (December) China’s Final Action date will advance from August 15, 2014, to August 22, 2014. Between now and September 2019, visas are anticipated to be available to those China-born applicants who filed I-526 prior to October 8, 2014 (Best case scenario October 22, 2014). Oppenheim also noted there are approximately 3 years remaining on the China Student Protection Act which annually deducts 700 visas from the China EB-5 preference pool.
The wait for a Chinese petitioner filing today is estimated to be14 years, down from the 15 years estimated earlier this year.
Vietnam continues to be backlogged in 2019, but the priority date for eligible visa applicants is expected to advance 8 months! Next month (December) Vietnam’s Final Action date will advance from February 1, 2016, to May 1, 2016. Between now and May/June 2019, visas are anticipated to become available to those Vietnam born applicants who filed I-526 prior to September 2016. The wait for a Vietnamese petitioner filing today is estimated to be7.2 years, up from the 6 years estimated earlier this year.
For the first time in the history of the EB-5 program, India is expected to backlog. India will likely use its full 2019 visa quota by July of 2019. Once the backlog begins, the wait from I-526 filing to visa availability for India is projected to be 5.7 years. There is currently no wait for visas.
Last April, Oppenheim stunned the audience forecasting a backlog for Brazil and South Korea in FY19. Many others speculated Taiwan could soon be added to that list based on the (385) I-526 petitions pending adjudication at USCIS. We are pleased to announce that all 3 countries are expected to remain current for the duration of FY19.
Rest of the World
The rest of the world is expected to remain current in all of FY19.
With China and Vietnam experiencing heavy demand for visas, investors in non-backlogged countries considering EB-5 as a path to US Permanent Residence should act now to secure an early priority date. DOS is responsible for administering provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) relating to numerical limitations on immigrant visa issuance, including the per-country annual limit. DOS imposes final action dates on countries in oversubscribed preferences and those preferences likely to become oversubscribed to ensure all visas are properly utilized. The EB-5 preference is limited to 7.1% of the worldwide level, approximately 10,000 annually, with a per-country limit set at 7%, approximately 700.