It’s the news all Indian EB-5 investors have been waiting for: the Indian final action date for EB-5 visa green cards is finally current. The Indian final action date has been jumping forward rapidly in recent months, likely a result of the worldwide U.S. embassy and consulate closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) predicted as early as March 2020 that the Indian EB-5 final action date would be current by summer 2020, and indeed, reality followed through. With that, the Indian backlog is finally cleared up—at least in theory.
The good news comes with a caveat, because the situation may not be as rosy as it seems. While Charles Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, has announced that he expects the Indian final action date to remain current for the rest of FY2020, Indian EB-5 investors may experience a major visa retrogression when processing picks back up post-pandemic. EB-5 processing is hardly linear—it’s a messy and complicated process, with an investor’s priority date only playing a role if they are otherwise eligible to claim an EB-5 visa. With U.S. consulates closed around the world, Indian EB-5 investors living in India are ineligible to claim their visas during the pandemic, leaving this option solely to the Indian investors who already reside in the United States on a different visa. Statistics from previous years have shown that domestic EB-5 investors are scarce, and the rapid advancement of the Indian EB-5 date over the past several months may indeed indicate a low number of domestic EB-5 investors from India.
Chart A: Final Action Date
All three backlogged countries—China, India, and Vietnam—have moved forward in the July 2020 Visa Bulletin, but India’s astounding advancement outweighs everything else. The Chinese final action date has advanced by one week to July 22, 2015, and the Vietnamese date by three weeks to May 15, 2017, but the Indian final action date has moved forward by a staggering seven months from January 1, 2020. With that, the Indian final action date is finally current, although it’s unclear how long-lived this status will be.
Chart B: Date for Filing
The Indian EB-5 date for filing is also current, but that isn’t news because it’s always been current, as has the Vietnamese date for filing. The only EB-5 investors who must wait to file their visa application are those from China, who are currently unable to submit visa applications due to the suspension of U.S. consular visa processes. The Chinese date for filing sits at December 15, 2015, where it has remained for the last several months.