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May 2020 Visa Bulletin: India Leaps Forward

The May 2020 Visa Bulletin is here, and it brings good news for Indian EB-5 investors. The priority date for Indian EB-5 investors has jumped ahead by a whopping nine months, meaning Indian investors can enjoy a much faster EB-5 process than previously anticipated.

China, India, and Vietnam remain the only countries that do not have “current” final action dates, but India is not expected to stay backlogged. In a public engagement on March 13, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revealed its prediction that India would become current by summer 2020, and the figures seem to support this projection.

Chart listing final action dates for employment-based preference cases shows a faster EB-5 process for Indian investors.

In the April Visa Bulletin, India had a final action date of January 1, 2019, which has jumped to October 1, 2019, in the May Visa Bulletin. Vietnam and China also continue to move forward, but much more slowly: by two months and 1.5 months, respectively.

Dates For Filing Of Employment-Based Visa Applications Chart. As to the chart, only investors from China have wait times.

In terms of the Dates for Filing chart, only EB-5 investors from China are subject to wait times. The date has not moved since the April bulletin, sitting steady at December 15, 2015, likely due to the closure of U.S. consulates in China and around the world.

The New Visa Availability Approach

On March 31, 2020, USCIS adopted a new processing approach for I-526 petitions: a new visa availability approach. The visa availability approach prioritizes I-526 petitions whose investors hail from countries that have immediately available EB-5 visas. Since USCIS uses the Chart B dates for this new approach, Indian and Vietnamese EB-5 investors are unaffected.

Extended USCIS Office Closures

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS previously shut down its offices to the public until May 4, but it has since extended the closures to June 4. However, USCIS continues to conduct activities that do not necessitate contact with the public, which means it is still steadily adjudicating EB-5 petitions. EB-5 investors who already live in the United States may at an advantage because the global closure of embassies and consulates means more EB-5 visas may be allocated to domestic investors.