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EB-5 Visa Statistics for 2015

U.S. Department of State EB-5 Visa Statistics

Every year, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) releases statistics related to visa issuance and use. These statistics are presented in a number of tables organized by visa preference, foreign state of chargeability, issuance office, and more. The 2015 statistics are now available.

Statistics related to the 5th employment based preference (EB-5) are found in Table V, Part 3 of the Report of the Visa Office 2015. The following table provides a summary of this table and lists the ten foreign states with the highest quantity of EB-5 investors who were issued visas in 2015.

Foreign State Direct Investors Regional Center Investors EB-5
Category Total
% of Total
China (mainland) 99 8,057 8,156 83.5%
Vietnam 8 272 280 2.9%
China (Taiwan) 1 138 139 1.4%
South Korea 2 114 116 1.2%
India 9 102 111 1.1%
Russia 4 84 88 0.9%
United Kingdom & Territories 0 84 84 0.9%
Mexico 7 70 77 0.8%
Venezuela 0 72 72 0.7%
Iran 0 62 62 0.6%
Top 10 Total
Grand Total

Discrepancies in percentages are due to rounding.

Total Number of EB-5 Visas Declines

In 2015, the DOS issued a total of 9,764 EB-5 Visas, 928 fewer than in 2014, which represents a decrease of ~9%. The difference between the number of visas issued in 2014 versus 2015 was likely due to the April 2015 announcement of visa retrogression for mainland-born Chinese nationals.

EB-5 Regional Center Investments Remain Dominant

When comparing the number of visas issued by investor type, direct investors were vastly outnumbered by those who invested through regional centers. Of the 9,764 EB-5 Visas issued, only 156 (1.6%) were for direct investors. These DOS numbers reflect the overall preference of EB-5 investors to invest in projects sponsored by regional centers. In practice, this preference is primarily attributed to the desire of EB-5 investors to limit their involvement in the daily management of their EB-5 projects by becoming limited partners in the new commercial enterprise.

Chinese Nationals Continue to Receive Majority of EB-5 Visas

In the summary table above, the number of visas issued to EB-5 investors from the top ten foreign states represents 94.1% of the total number of visas issued to EB-5 investors in 2015. More specifically, 83.5% of all EB-5 Visas were issued to mainland-born Chinese nationals. Historically, China has held the top spot for EB-5 Visa issuance, and this is unlikely to change in 2016.

The EB-5 program continues to gain popularity throughout Asia. Although fewer EB-5 Visas were issued to South Korean investors, the number of visas issued to Vietnamese nationals increased from 121 in 2014 to 280 in 2015. Of the top ten foreign states listed in the summary table above, six are located in Asia.

Data Increasingly Important as Future of EB-5 Program Uncertain

These U.S. DOS metrics are important since they offer insight into the trends that currently characterize and have continuing effects on the EB-5 industry. The ongoing uncertainty concerning the reauthorization of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program—and the possibility that the investment threshold may be increased—make these data particularly valuable.