Additional EB-5 Visa Delays for Indian Nationals Who Invested Prior to March 2022

In a striking reversal, the March 2023 Visa Bulletin moved the cut-off date for EB-5 investors from India back 17 months. The February 2023 Visa Bulletin listed November 8, 2019, as the cut-off date for Indian investors. The new cut-off date is June 1, 2018.

This change marks the largest leap backward for cut-off dates since China first entered EB-5 visa retrogression in 2015. Now, Indian EB-5 applicants who invested before March 2022 could potentially experience additional years-long delays before immigrating to the United States on an EB-5 visa.

At the same time, new Indian EB-5 investors can easily avoid these delays by investing in a targeted employment area (TEA) project and even qualify for priority processing of their EB-5 visa applications.

What is Visa Retrogression?

A certain number of EB-5 visas are allocated to each country annually. EB-5 visa retrogression occurs when the number of EB-5 investors is greater than the number of available EB-5 visas. Retrogression creates a backlog of applicants who want EB-5 visas and must wait for more visas to become available before immigrating to the United States.

The government regularly publishes Visa Bulletins that provide a cut-off date for countries experiencing visa retrogression. The cut-off date for a country indicates which applicants can now apply for their visas.

For EB-5 visa applicants, only those investors who filed Form I-526 (or the new Form I-526E) before the cut-off date are eligible to apply for an EB-5 visa.

Implications of the March 2023 Visa Bulletin for Investors from India

For EB-5 investors from India who invested prior to March 2022, the updated cut-off date in the March 2023 Visa Bulletin may come as a shock. These investors are now subject to an additional 12–18 month delay in their immigration process, perhaps longer.

While nothing can be done to mitigate the extended delay caused by Indian visa retrogression, prospective EB-5 investors from India would be wise to pursue projects that qualify for reserved visas. Under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, projects in TEAs and infrastructure projects qualify for reserved visas that are, as of yet, not subject to visa retrogression.

EB-5 investors who qualify for reserved visas will not be subject to delays caused by visa backlogs—even if their country is experiencing visa retrogression.

Rural projects are arguably the best choice when seeking to avoid visa retrogression. Of the total number of EB-5 visas, 20% are reserved for rural investments.

In contrast, high-unemployment TEA and infrastructure projects receive only 10% and 2% of the total EB-5 visa pool, respectively.

Investors in rural projects also receive priority processing, meaning that their immigrant petitions will be processed faster.

This is an especially appealing opportunity for Indian H-1B workers, as investing in a TEA project allows them to adjust their immigration status immediately and continue to live and work in the United States while their EB-5 petitions are adjudicated.

High-Quality, Low-Risk Rural Projects from EB5AN

EB5AN is pleased to offer two best-in-class rural TEA projects: Twin Lakes Georgia and Wohali Utah.

Twin Lakes Georgia is a single-family home community located near Atlanta, Georgia. Twin Lakes is being developed by the Kolter Group, a highly experienced developer with a proven track record of success. This compelling rural project has already created enough jobs for the maximum number of EB-5 investors.

For an investor’s perspective on this project, listen to an interview with Siddharth A., in which he details why he chose to invest in Twin Lakes Georgia.

Wohali Utah is a golf community development just north of Park City, Utah. A compelling project located in a rural TEA, Wohali offers investors significant job creation, a low-risk EB-5 loan structure, and developer guaranties and loan security.

For more information on the best way to obtain a set-aside EB-5 visa and avoid immigration delays, please schedule a free consultation with EB5AN or email