This week, Mr. Charles Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control & Reporting, U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) presented at the IIUSA EB-5 Advocacy Conference. Mr. Oppenheim’s presentation provided important information regarding the latest EB-5 data and estimates for future processing times.
- Predictions for Future Final Action Dates. Oppenheim predicted the following Final Action Dates for EB-5. It is important to note in the past, Mr. Oppenheim has had to recalibrate estimates later in the year based on unforeseen variables impacting visa demand or usage:
- Best Case Scenario for October 2019 (the start of FY2020) – October 15, 2014
- Worst Case Scenario for October 2019 – October 8, 2014
- Comment: Slow movement because of large groupings of applicant demand in weekly groupings surrounding Regional Center program sunsets
- Best Case Scenario for October 2019 – December 15, 2016
- Worst Case Scenario for October 2019 – November 22, 2016
- Imposition of a Final Action Date in July 2019 likely (formal alert in June 2019 Visa Bulletin likely).
- Best Case Scenario for October 2019 – Fall 2017
- Worst Case Scenario for October 2019 – Summer 2017
- All Other Countries
- Will remain current for the foreseeable future
- Potential “Rough” Visa Wait Time for EB-5 Investors, if I-526 Filed on May 6, 2019. The wait time estimate is the number of years between the time when an I-526 petition was filed and the time when an EB-5 visa is available, including the processing time for adjudicating the I-526 petition. USCIS petition processing times vary from a few months to a few years.
These estimates are “rough” and cannot encompass all the variables, such as dissipation from petition revocations, deaths, age outs, withdrawals, and many other factors; nor does it include possible increases from family “acquired” before visa issuance, possible legislative, regulatory, judicial or other governmental action that might increase available numbers. But, they do provide a glimpse into the issue of demand versus the annual per-country limit impacting visa availability. However, these estimates do not apply to EB-5 applicants whose I-526 petition was filed before May 6, 2019.
- China (estimate based on 3,000 visas per year): about 16.5 years
- Vietnam (700 visas per year): about 7.6 years
- India (700 visas per year): about 8.4 years
- South Korea (700 visas per year): about 2.4 years
- Taiwan (700 visas per year): about 2.0 years
- Brazil (700 visas per year): about 1.6 years
Mr. Oppenheim mentioned that, with the exception of China, these times might be considered the “worst case,” and a “wait” only comes into play if a Final Action Date is being applied to a country at that time. Otherwise, numbers are immediately available (no wait) to all eligible applicants who are ready to proceed with final action on their case (i.e., petition approved, and provided all required information is sent to NVC, etc. such that they are “documentarily qualified” for a final interview at a Consulate or Embassy abroad).
- Still Opportunity for India EB-5. Despite the estimated 8.4-year EB-5 visa wait time for newly filed Indian-born nationals, EB-5 may still remain the fastest way to get a green card. While Mr. Oppenheim did not present official estimates for employment-based categories other than EB-5, wait line estimates for India EB-2 and EB-3 range from decades to centuries. Indian applicants should consider all employment-based green card options available.
For additional content on visa retrogression read 47 Questions & Answers About Visa Retrogression.