The EB-5 Visa Bulletin for April 2020 from the Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs is out. April is the first month of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)’s new visa availability processing approach for I-526 petitions, which has made it a highly anticipated month in the EB-5 world.
The Visa Bulletin was released shortly after USCIS’s public engagement on March 13, which was full of valuable information about the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO)’s switch to a visa availability approach and how it will impact current and future EB-5 investors.
In the April Visa Bulletin, the leap forward of the final action date for Indian EB-5 investors cannot be overlooked. It is currently January 1, 2019, up two months from March’s bulletin. The Indian final action date has been jumping forward rapidly in recent months and is forecast to disappear entirely by summer 2020.
Though the advancement is not as significant as for India, Vietnam’s final action date is also moving forward. It is now February 8, 2017, a three-week difference from the March bulletin. Furthermore, Vietnamese EB-5 investors are poised to be the lucky recipients of leftover visas that would otherwise be allocated to Chinese investors but currently cannot be due to the closure of the U.S. consulate in China.
China is the only country to see no advancement in its final action date in April’s Visa Bulletin. It remains at May 15, 2015, likely the result of two major factors. First, USCIS’s new visa availability method for the processing of I-526 petitions, which went into effect on March 31, 2020, currently affects only investors from Mainland China. Second, Chinese EB-5 investors are currently unable to apply for U.S. green cards due to the closure of the U.S. consulate in China because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
EB-5 investors from all other countries have final action dates that are current, so they are eligible to apply for their EB-5 visa immediately upon approval of their I-526 petition, as long as the U.S. consulate in their country is still operating.
As for the filing dates, the only country without current dates is Mainland China. Like the final action date, the filing date for China has remained the same as in the March Visa Bulletin, likely for the same presumed reasons.