July 2020’s Visa Bulletin offers some long-awaited news to Indian EB-5 investors: The Indian final action date is finally current. Indian investors have long been subject to lengthy waits for their EB-5 visa, but now, they have joined the ranks of most other countries in the world with a “current” final action date. The EB-5 industry has been watching the Indian final action date leap forward in 2020, as the world contends with the unforeseen threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian final action date has been a hot topic in the sphere ever since United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced in March 2020 its prediction that the Indian EB-5 final action date would achieve “current” status by summer 2020. Indeed, the Indian final action date has become current just as July nears, fulfilling the prediction to a T.
However, Indian EB-5 investors must remain wary, as the good news may not last. Charles Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, believes the “current” status of the Indian final action date will remain for the rest of FY2020, which ends on September 30, 2020.
However, the fate of the Indian final action date in FY2021 may be less favorable. EB-5 processing does not follow a straight, orderly line based on priority date, as some may assume—rather, investors receive their EB-5 visa based on priority date and eligibility. If an EB-5 investor’s priority date is current but they’re not eligible to receive a visa, the final action date skips over them. If this happens to enough investors, the final action date might eventually regress to account for them when they become eligible to claim a visa.
The worldwide lockdowns associated the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated this situation. U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have stopped performing routine visa services due to the pandemic and have still not reopened as of June 18, 2020. This has left overseas EB-5 investors with no option to claim their EB-5 visas, essentially wiping them out of the lineup for the time being. The only investors remaining who can claim EB-5 visas are ones who already live in the United States on other visas, but judging by statistics from FY2019, domestic EB-5 investors only account for a minority. All this suggests that when the U.S. consulates resume visa services and overseas Indian investors are once again eligible to claim their visas, the Indian final action date may regress severely.
Final Action Date in July 2020
China, India, and Vietnam have all continued to move forward in the July 2020 Visa Bulletin. China and Vietnam are advancing slowly—by one week and three weeks, respectively—but they pale in comparison to India, which has jumped ahead by an astounding seven months. This puts the new Chinese EB-5 final action date at July 22, 2015, the Vietnamese one at May 15, 2017, and the Indian one at “current.” Indians should rejoice with caution, given the uncertain future of the Indian final action date.
Date for Filing in July 2020
In terms of the date for filing, all countries except China enjoy a “current” status. The Chinese date for filing has not advanced in several months, likely due to the global closure of U.S. consulates. With more and more countries gradually reopening, Chinese EB-5 investors should look to the future to see their date for filing move forward from December 15, 2015.