Recent EB-5 data doesn’t tell full story on how long investors must wait for visa -

Recent EB-5 data doesn’t tell full story on how long investors must wait for visa

Joseph Barnett

Recently, the American Immigrant Investor Alliance (AIIA) obtained updated data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on a Freedom of Information Act request related to the total number of Form I-526/I-526E petitions filed from April 2022 to October 2023, by EB-5 visa category and country of chargeability. 

AIIA has shared the full data set with its members but has provided an overview publicly, as follows:

ChinaIndiaRest of WorldTotal% Total
High Unemployment9763757712,12264%
Multiple TEA Categories736160%
Not TEA26211011484%
% Total52%17%31%100%
Source: AIIA

Notably, the data is outdated and does not include Form I-526/I-526E filing numbers over the past four months.   

Nevertheless, this data reflects that China has dominated the EB-5 market since the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) was enacted. It also reflects demand in High Unemployment Area (HUA) projects is over twice as big as demand for Rural projects. Combined with half as many visa numbers as rural, there is rightful concern about potential backlogs for HUA cases.   

While it does provide some insight related to demand of EB-5 visas, it would be unwise to read too much into this data set for clear guidance on how long Chinese, Indians, and EB-5 investors from the rest of the world (ROW) must wait to obtain a conditional green card based on an EB-5 investment.

Different factors affect EB-5 visa demand from China and rest of the world

For example, factors related to visa demand, such as Form I-526/I-526E denial rates, USCIS completion times, family sizes (including possible deaths and age-outs), and to visa supply, such as the pace of finalizing of cases for visa number use (either through adjustment of status application approvals or through immigrant visa issuances at U.S. consulates and embassies abroad) and how the State Department (DOS) will count carryover reserved visa numbers all complicate the answer to this question. 

Further, ROW investors have only filed 1,022 I-526/I-526E petitions since the RIA was enacted, and it is unlikely that the State Department will impose a Final Action Date (FAD) for either Rural or HUA based on its current interpretation of 8 U.S.C. 1152(a), which makes clear that the per-country limit, which is implemented by setting FADs for a country in the Visa Bulletin, “is triggered only when preference immigrant visa demand from a country will exceed seven percent of the total number of all preference visas made available.” These provisions apply at present to only the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: China, India, Philippines, and Mexico.  As such, it appears unlikely to see an FAD for ROW for the reserved EB-5 categories at all, even if they exceed the 7% for a reserved visa category.

Accordingly, HUA and rural reserved concurrent filing will most likely remain open for the rest of the fiscal year 2024, so this presents a unique opportunity for certain Chinese and Indians to file concurrent adjustments and get 5-year work and travel permits.

In this regard, Ali Jahangiri, CEO of, says, “It’s not good to jump to conclusions at this point. I think making judgment calls in this industry is tough because of all the factors Barnett has pointed out. Please be cautious making up your mind based on third-party opinion.”

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