March 2021’s Visa Bulletin Shows Small Movement for Vietnamese Investors and No Progress for Chinese Investor Backlog

The March 2021 Visa Bulletin has been posted to the U.S. Department of State (DoS) website and reveals little change as the end of FY2021’s second quarter approaches. Visa Bulletins are produced by the DoS every month and keep petitioners updated with their country’s visa availability status. Unfortunately, this latest update shows no movement for Chinese EB-5 investors, while Vietnam just crawls in the positive direction.

Even though visa allocation for the EB-5 investment program nearly doubled in FY2021, rising to more than 18,000 visas, it seems as if Vietnamese and Chinese EB-5 visa backlogs may not be reduced. The fiscal year is nearly halfway over, with no tangible updates regarding how USCIS plans to take advantage of the increased visa allocation.

Meanwhile, the EB-5 Regional Center Program’s sunset date of June 30, 2021, inches forever closer. As this date gets closer, the EB-5 investment program is at an increased risk for termination. Furthermore, even though the COVID-19 vaccine’s distribution is well underway, new strains of the virus continue to spread. If these new virus strains extend the pandemic, the EB-5 investment program may experience increased delays yet.

The bulletin shows that the final action dates for EB-5 investors from China and Vietnam have essentially not moved. China’s final action date has stayed on August 15, 2015, since the August 2020 Bulletin was published. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s final action date has moved up two weeks from the February bulletin to October 22, 2017.

The report also shows that all EB-5 investors, except for those in China or Vietnam, still have “current” final action dates. Notably, Indian investors, who only had their final action date turn “current” in July 2020, have maintained this designation.

China is so backlogged that there is a delay to just file the application for permanent residency. March marks the grim milestone of a full year with no movement, with the filing date stuck on December 15, 2015. All other countries have kept “current” filing date statuses.

Given that there was little movement on final action dates when February’s bulletin was published, there was never much hope for the March bulletin. It remains discouraging that backlog issues continue despite the EB-5 investment program’s visa allocation nearly doubling.

Hopefully, the new administration’s vaccine efforts will push consular processing to return to normal levels soon so that these dates will jump ahead.