The COVID-19 pandemic has directly impacted the issuance of immigrant visas and the waiting line, including the movement of final action dates. These dates are green card applicants’ place in the waiting line. In the May 2020 Visa Bulletin, the Department of State (DOS) advanced the China EB-5 Final action date two months forward to July 1, 2015. The India EB-5 final action date moved nine months. The Vietnam final action date also moved forward almost two months. By making bold movements forward on final action dates, the DOS is creating more opportunities for EB-5 immigrant visa issuance and for more adjustment of status approvals.
Also, since U.S. consulates abroad are closed and not issuing visas, it’s possible we will continue to see continued forward advancement of the final action or cut-off dates in the June and July 2020 visa bulletins. Note, Paragraph 1 of the visa bulletin states that allocations were based on data received April 6, 2020 and that changes may be required “to retrogress a final action date.” The DOS has therefore provided a mechanism to cut-off visa issuance to avoid exceeding the annual limit.
It is unclear what will happen to the nearly 55,000 diversity lottery visas, most of which will not be used in FY 2020 because of the ban (except for those who are allowed to adjust status or who were able to process their visas before the consulates closed worldwide.) “Recapturing” these and other “lost” visas could be the perfect solution to reducing the EB-5 visa backlog for China, India and Vietnam.