The Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs has released the EB-5 Visa Bulletin for April 2020. April’s release has been highly anticipated, as April is the first month in which United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement its new visa availability processing approach for I-526 petitions.
The release of the Visa Bulletin comes on the heels of the March 13 stakeholder engagement, during which USCIS divulged important information about the new changes and how they will affect the EB-5 program and its investors.
Most notable is the fast advancement of the final action date for Indian EB-5 investors. The new final action date for Indian EB-5 investors is January 1, 2019, an advancement of more than two months. This is a continuation of the rapidly advancing final action date for Indian EB-5 investors, with demand decreasing so much that the Indian backlog is expected to disappear by summer 2020.
Vietnam is also progressing forward, though at a slower pace than India. The new final action date for Vietnamese EB-5 investors is February 8, 2017, up three weeks from the March bulletin. Since the Chinese consulate is currently closed, unused visas are expected to be allocated to Vietnamese investors.
The new final action date for China has remained the same as in the March Visa Bulletin: May 15, 2015. Two major factors have contributed to these circumstances. First, the visa availability processing approach for I-526 petitions, which goes into effect March 31, 2020, will primarily impact EB-5 investors from Mainland China. Second, the U.S. consulate in China is currently shut down due to COVID-19 concerns, meaning Chinese EB-5 investors residing in China currently cannot apply for their green cards.
All EB-5 investors from countries other than Mainland China, India, and Vietnam have current final action dates, which means they may apply for their EB-5 visas as soon as their I-526 petition is approved.
Only Mainland Chinese investors have filing dates that are not current. Like the final action date, the filing date for Chinese EB-5 investors has not changed since the March 2020 Visa Bulletin.