Set-Aside EB-5 Categories Remain Current for China and India in the April 2023 Visa Bulletin

Individuals from around the world who invest in the EB-5 visa program anticipate becoming Green Card holders and immigrating to the United States. As permanent residents, they are allowed to reside, work, and pursue education anywhere in the U.S., gaining access to a variety of professional and academic possibilities.

Nevertheless, many EB-5 investors encounter significant delays in the processing of their Green Card applications, posing a major challenge.

Historically, EB-5 investors from nations with a high demand for the EB-5 visa have faced lengthy waiting periods, which can be inconvenient and may require them to modify or postpone their personal and career objectives. This is currently the situation for EB-5 visa applicants from China and India.

The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) of 2022 now provides EB-5 investors from high-demand countries with an alternative route to obtaining a Green Card: three new set-aside visa categories. With a set-aside visa, applicants from China and India can get a Green Card much faster than previously possible.

The Department of State (DOS) indicated in the April 2023 Visa Bulletin that all three set-aside visa categories remain open to investors from China and India. For nationals from these two countries who wish to relocate to the United States, there is now a unique—and likely temporary—chance to secure a Green Card without the usual delays associated with high demand.

This follows significant additional delays for Indian EB-5 investors in last month’s Visa Bulletin.

Why Do Some EB-5 Countries Receive Cutoff Dates?

The DOS allocates a finite number of EB-5 visas for each participating country—around 10,000 annually. Consequently, while many countries submit only a small number of EB-5 visa applications, investors from high-demand countries may face limitations in visa availability.

When the number of EB-5 visa applications from a specific country surpasses its allocated visa quota, the DOS regards that country as experiencing visa retrogression.

It then establishes cutoff dates that dictate when investors of that nationality can apply for and obtain their Green Cards. This is based on the date on which investors submitted Form I-526E.

If an investor’s Form I-526E submission date is on or after the relevant cutoff date, they will be ineligible to apply for or receive a Green Card.

The monthly Visa Bulletins include two kinds of cutoff dates: final action dates and filing dates. While final action dates determine if investors can obtain their Green Cards, cutoff dates determine when they can apply for Green Cards after receiving Form I-526E approval.

Due to these delays, investors from retrogressed countries typically have to wait several years longer than other applicants to secure their Green Cards and immigrate to the United States.

Although only China and India are currently experiencing retrogression, other nationalities may also become oversubscribed in the upcoming months.

The Set-Aside Visa Types

With the introduction of the RIA, EB-5 investors can now qualify for a set-aside visa by investing in one of three project categories: high-unemployment targeted employment areas (TEAs), rural TEAs, and infrastructure initiatives. Naturally, as the number of set-aside visas is limited, investors will only be eligible for this option until the supply is depleted.

In essence, a new, expedited queue is now available for EB-5 investors: regardless of whether their country of origin is oversubscribed, those who are eligible for a set-aside visa will not be subject to cutoff dates. This enables investors from China and India to acquire a Green Card without delays related to availability.

This advantage also applies to Chinese and Indian nationals holding non-immigrant visas; they can now promptly adjust their immigration status after making an EB-5 investment and submitting Form I-526E in conjunction with Form I-485.

In turn, this allows non-immigrant visa holders to receive an employment authorization documents (EAD) quickly. Getting an EAD through this process can be very beneficial for H-1B or E-2 workers whose visas are close to expiring.

Cutoff Dates in the April 2023 Visa Bulletin

In April 2023, the final action date for Chinese investors is set at July 8, 2015, while the cutoff date is April 1, 2016. For Indian investors, the final action date is June 1, 2018, with a cutoff date of December 8, 2019.

All set-aside visa categories continue to be current for every nationality—including China and India.

Immigrating Through the EB-5 Program

While investing in a TEA project makes investors eligible for set-aside visas, it’s essential to consider various other factors when choosing an EB-5 investment opportunity.

A project’s adherence to USCIS guidelines, job creation, and the at-risk status of funds ultimately determine the investor’s successful immigration and permanent Green Card acquisition.

EB5AN is proud to provide low-risk TEA projects, which include I-526E approval guarantees, substantial job creation potential, priority processing for Form I-526E, and additional benefits for investors.

To learn more about navigating the EB-5 immigration process and initiating your journey, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with EB5AN.