5 Takeaways on EB-5 Visas from State Department’s FY 2023 Annual Report

Mar 12, 2024 | Immigration Updates, Investor Visas

By Joey Barnett

The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) finally released its long-awaited Report of the Visa Office 2023 over the weekend.  In particular, we have been waiting for the release of Table V, which counts the full number of immigrant visa numbers issued in FY 2023 – both immigrant visas issued abroad by U.S. consulates and embassies and adjustment of status applications approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) for those in the U.S.  Here are 5 things to know:

1. Total Number of EB-5 Visas Issued
9,817 unreserved EB-5 visa numbers were used in FY 2023.  This actually exceeds the annual limitation for unreserved.  To understand how and why that occurred, make sure to listen to former Head of Visa Controls at DOS, Charlie Oppenheim, during our Chatting with Charlie:  Live EB-5 Investor Outlook  on March 28 at 11:00a PST. 

2. Adjustments v. Immigrant Visas
Despite the ability of those lawfully in the U.S. to now file an adjustment of status, 85% of unreserved EB-5 visa numbers came from visas issued abroad.  Over 63% of all unreserved visa numbers were issued to mainland-Chinese nationals who generally have the earlier priority dates. 

3. No Reserved Visa Numbers
No reserved visa numbers were used in FY 2023.  While we commend USCIS’ Immigrant Investor Program Office for decreasing its processing times on Forms I-526E, particularly for investments in rural areas, it needs to get other USCIS service centers to process Forms I-485 quicker before the current Regional Center program expires in 2027.  Recent Form I-526E data obtained by AIIA shows the growing demand for investment-based green cards since Congress enacted the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, and the U.S. government must uphold its end of the bargain and provide visa numbers to all of these immigrant investors. 

4. Investment Versus Employment and Family Based
EB-5 only received 5% of all employment-based visas, and less than 2.5% of all employment- and family-based visas subject to numerical limitations.  If USCIS and DOS continue to drag out processing and not use of visa numbers in FY 2024, there is a risk that over 6,000 EB-5 visa numbers go wasted and fall up use for in the EB-1 category.   

5. Top 10
The top 10 EB-5 countries of chargeability for unreserved visas numbers used in FY 2023 are as follows.

China (Mainland)6,262
South Korea446
Hong Kong121

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