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How can an EB-5 investor verify his/her position in the retrogression queue?

What exactly does the expected EB-5 retrogression mean for a Chinese investor wanting to file the initial petition later in 2015? How many investors are already in "line" for the EB-5 visa? How does an investor verify his/her position in the retrogression queue?

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is very difficult to predict your exact position in the queue. Your priority date is established by the date your I-526 was filed. When that priority date will be current is difficult to predict. A simplistic approach would be to follow the State Department's monthly Visa Bulletin, available online, and also the USCIS' receipts and adjudications of I-526 petitions. We know that the Visa Bulletin says there are EB-5 immigrant visa numbers available for China-born EB-5 applicants with priority dates earlier than May 1, 2013. Since it is the end of May 2015, a simplistic approach would be to say that there is a two-year wait in the queue for an available immigrant visa number. On the other hand, we know that USCIS is sitting on a backlog of about 13,000 I-526 petitions, which represents over 30,000 (a very rough estimate) EB-5 visa applicants. This number represents the investors, spouses, children. Since there is a 10,000 numerical limit on the number of EB-5 visas issued each fiscal year, the queue could be longer than three years.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The monthly State Department Visa Chart will indicate the time delay for the Chinese Nationals being able to obtain their conditional permanent residency. There is no limitation on the Chinese Nationals filing their I-526 petitions and being placed in the waiting line (retrogression waiting line).

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    Oliver Huiyue Qiu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    To answer your question, it would be necessary to know (1) how many pending EB-5 cases there are before USCIS; (2) how many of those cases would be approved; and (3) when would the cases be approved? Those numbers can be then compared with the U.S. Department of State's Visa Bulletin to figure out the average wait time for an application, which is to be filed now. At this point, the estimate of time is not available.

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    Steffanie J Lewis

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An investor can verify his/her position in the queue by referring to his/her priority date. When the investor files Form I-526, the USCIS will acknowledge receipt of funds invested with a notice containing a receipt date. That receipt date is the investor's priority date. Then go to travel.state.gov/visas/law and policy/visa bulletin. Click to enlarge the appropriate month. Scroll down to the Employment Based chart. Look down the first column to "5th" and then across to your country or class of countries. The letter "C" means visas are currently available in that category for that country. Where a "C" is not present, but a date is printed, visas are available to those investors who have that same priority date, or earlier. Someone who files later in 2015 may find that visas are no longer available to investors from his/her country and a date will appear. If the investor is from China, the date at which visas are available may be earlier than the date published the previous month in the visa bulletin.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The retrogression of the visa numbers recently announced provides that only those investors who were born in Mainland China, whose I-526 cases were filed on or before May 1, 2013 could proceed to file the Immigrant Visa (IV) or Adjustment of Status (AOS) starting next month (May). The visa numbers change every month and it could move forward or backwards depending on the number of allowed visa numbers used. However, if we assume that the visa numbers move linearly and you are ready to file your I-526 in May, you could expect to wait 2 years before you are eligible to file for IV or AOS. Your Priority Date for the purpose of this visa number usage is determined by the date of your I-526 filing and it will be confirmed when your I-526 is approved.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Each month USCIS publishes the Visa Bulletin. In the Visa Bulletin you will find the priority date. Your priority date is determined by the date you file your application. If your application was filed before the date posted your visa is current and you can apply for adjustment. The priority date will change each month and can advance or "retrogress" move backwards. No one can accurately predict what may happen with the priority date. As of this writing, the priority date is May 1, 2013 which equates to two years - we do not know if this period will increase or decrease at this time.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There are currently more applications in the queue than there will be visa numbers available. Beginning May 1, applicants with approved I-526 petitions that were filed before May of 2013 can move forward with applying for the actual EB-5 visa. You cannot directly see where you are in line, other than being mindful of your priority date (the date the I-526 was filed).

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