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Assessing EB-5 Visa Wait Lines by Country

E-2 Visas: Alternative to EB-5 Visas

Created in 1990, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program enables eligible immigrant investors to become permanent residents of the United States. By investing $1 million in an American business that will employ a minimum of 10 U.S. workers, these individuals may be able to obtain their green cards more quickly than other applicants. Unfortunately, obtaining your EB-5 visa can be easier said than done.
The chief of Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting, Charlie Oppenheim, spoke about visa waiting lines at an EB-5 Industry Conference in April 2018. When it comes to visa wait times, the fact is that applicants from different countries experience varying wait times. According to Oppenheim, applicants from China, Vietnam, India, South Korea, Taiwan, and Brazil are likely to anticipate serious backlogs by June 2019.

Read on for some of Oppenheim’s specific predictions by investor country of origin:

1. China

According to Oppenheim, applicants born in mainland China can anticipate waiting up to 15 years to receive a visa. This prediction is based on the assumption that just 2,000 Chinese nationals receive EB-5 visas in a given year and applies primarily to cases filed after April 2018; Oppenheim added that approved cases may enjoy shorter wait times. It’s worth noting that over 4,049 EB-5 visas have been issued to Mainland Chinese nationals to date in 2018; however, Oppenheim believes this number will soon be dropping. The USCIS Ombudsman drew a slightly more optimistic conclusion in 2017, suggesting that Chinese investors could expect to wait 10 years for an American visa.

2. Vietnam

In April, Oppenheim revealed that the Vietnam EB-5 final action date would reach January 1, 2016, by October 2018. This echoes the date given to applicants from China. Oppenheim went on to note that the government will allocate the full 7 percent of EB-5 visas to Vietnamese applicants by the spring of 2019.

3. India

Demand for EB-5 visas among Indian applicants is great, due in part to the serious backlogs for employment-based visas in other categories. According to Oppenheim, the government issued 375 EB-5 Indian national visas between the dates of October 2017 and June 2018. Experts predict that by the end of 2018, India will use 520 EB-5s compared to 174 in 2017.

4. South Korea

Another nation known for its high number of visa applications, South Korea received 423 EB-5s between October 2017 and June 2018. As a result, Oppenheim anticipates that a final action date similar to China’s may be established during the summer of 2019.

5. Conducting a Thorough Analysis

Before selecting an EB-5 project and embarking on your citizenship journey, it’s important to perform a compehensive evaluation of the project, taking all the essential elements into consideration. It’s particularly important that prospective investors do their due dilligence to ensure a project will meet the jobs requirement. This is the most important factor in determining EB-5 status. Additionally, investors and their representatives should evaluate available capital and consider whether its sufficient for the project with regard to both location and timeline.

5. Taiwan

Coming in under South Korea, Taiwan received 335 EB-5 visas between October 2017 and June 2018. Although Taiwanese nationals don’t currently have a final action date, Oppenheim advises that one may be established during the summer of 2019.

6. Brazil

As is the case for Taiwanese nationals, Brazilian applicants can anticipate seeing a final action date this coming summer. However, no specifics have been provided at this time.

It’s worth noting that estimated wait times are intended for planning purposes and may change without warning. Oppenheim states that estimates are based on “known facts” and don’t take into account possible events that may occur in the future. Further, he avoids hypothesizing based on legislative or administrative factors. In general, wait line estimates don’t account for considerations such as denial, dropout, death, and divorce, all of which can impact actual times.

Additionally, Oppenheim reveals that predictions on wait times can become self-fulfilling prophesies. In other words, commenting on expected immigration wait times can increase the odds of those times occurring.

For example, in 2015 Oppenheim predicted a final action date for Chinese nationals, which soon become a reality. The same thing happened with Vietnam in 2018. To that end, Oppenheim advises individuals seeking EB-5 visas to be aware that final action dates may occur earlier than expected. Immigration attorneys should take care to stay up to date on the latest news and guidelines so they can provide clients with the most accurate information.

Ready to learn more about EB-5 visa wait times and backlogs? We offer a plethora of information on our site, along with access to industry experts who can help you achieve your goals. Call today for details on our services, or contact our team online.