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What changes are being considered for Chinese EB-5 applicants in 2015?

Based on online news, there seems to be limitations upcoming for Chinese EB-5 applicants: the 2014 cap is reached; there may be a separate program for Chinese applicants; and possibly a higher threshold investment for future applicants. What changes are being considered for Chinese applicants going into 2015 and 2016? Have the processing times been further extended due to the cap being reached?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is nothing passed into law at this time regarding a higher investment amount or whether a visa quota for the EB-5 category will exclude immediate family members and only include principal investors to extend the quota to more individual investors. EB-5 regulations are not specific to Chinese nationals only and apply to all foreign nationals. Because too many EB-5 applications are filed by Chinese nationals, it is anticipated that the wait time for them to be able to obtain immigrant visas to immigrate to the United States after I-526 approval may be about 2.5 years.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS will probably be releasing special policy in light of Chinese visa retrogression, but it seems unlikely there will be any separate program for Chinese investors. We are all eagerly anticipating this guidance, but in the meantime, work with an immigration attorney to plan your procedures and processes.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In 2015 the Chinese investors will not be restricted in being able to file their I-526 petitions. The retrogression means that the Chinese investors will have to wait for several months beyond the current time delays before they can file their applications for conditional permanent residency. Currently there are no anticipated regulation changes for the Chinese investors.

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    Oliver Huiyue Qiu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is true that just like in the last few weeks in September 2014, the EB-5 visa quota for persons born in Mainland China could be exhausted as early as June or July 2015. This leaves a three - four month gap when EB-5 will have no visa numbers available for people to file adjustment or seek visas at the overseas consulate. But as we all know now, coming October 1, 2015, everything will be back to normal with new visa numbers filling up the pond. About the so-called special program for Chinese and to raise the $500,000 investment threshold - not true.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There are no changes being proposed specifically for the Chinese EB-5 investors/applicants only. In the United States, the laws and regulations are promulgated to apply uniformly to all people in a category, such as EB-5. Thus, if the higher investment threshold is approved, it will apply to all EB-5 investors, regardless of where they are located. The limitation that you mention about Chinese EB-5 investors refers to the per country quota of visas available for certain countries where there are an extremely high number of applications being received, such as Mexico, India, Mainland-China and Philippines. Each year, there are only 10,000 visa number available for the EB-5 investors and their families. USCIS reported today that in FY 2014, they have received 11,000 I-526 applications. As each of these 11,000 applications, if approved, will result in a family of two - four on the average with each of them requiring a visa number usage, 10,000 visa numbers were used up. Since the majority of those 11,000 applications seem to be from China, the per country visa quota, which is set forth by the Congress, will be triggered to retrogress the priority cate for the Chinese applicants in 2015. The processing time for I-526 remain at 14 months, but with the expected retrogression, the processing time for the immigrant visa and the actual entry into the United States for the Chinese applicants will be extended by as much as two - three years.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Nothing has been passed into law so the current regulations govern.

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    Ian E Scott

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The U.S. government issues 10,000 EB-5 visas a year and up until this year, they have not ever hit the limit. There is also a limit on the number of green cards that any one country can be issued (For example, even though 10,000 green cards are available, 10,000 could not be issued to Chinese nationals). In August, USCIS announced that the EB-5 category for Chinese nationals would be retrogressed which means that a green card will not be immediately available to future applicants. This means that the applicant would have to wait (usually starts at a few months and then extends to years) to get a green card even when the I-526 petition has been approved. This is similar to the employment and family based green card categories (e.g. brother/sister of U.S. citizen would have to wait around 14 years before a green card was available).

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Nothing specific at this time. The Department of State is involved. Congress could change the regulations to have the number of visas available (10,000) apply only to the investor and not have to include the investor''s dependents.

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