The Department of State (“DOS”) March 2022 visa bulletin continues to show EB-5 regional center visa categories (I5 and R5) unavailable (U) because the EB-5 regional center program remains expired. Read more: the regional center program (“Program”) having lapsed on June 30, 2021.
Visas in non-regional center visa categories (C5 and T5) for those investors who invested into a “Direct EB-5” business remain current for investors from all countries including for those investors from the previously backlogged countries of China, Vietnam and India. This will change if the Program is reauthorized by Congress because all previous investors would be placed back in the queue based on their Priority Date. The Priority Date is the date that an investor filed a Form I-526 Petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and determines his or her place in line for a visa.
There is still no indication if or when Congress will reauthorize the Program. The latest gossip in the industry is that Congress will make pass a law to reauthorize the Program on March 11th at the same time that Congress is targeted to pass the continuing resolution to fund the federal budget. However, EB-5 stakeholders had previously hoped that Congress would reauthorize the Program on October 1, 2021, in December 2021, and February 18, 2022 with no action taken on any of those dates.
Making an investment in a “Direct EB-5” business now may result in a Chinese or Vietnamese investor obtaining a visa quickly and avoiding any “retrogression” of the Priority Dates, thus skipping ahead of other investors who invested before them. Alternatively, if Congress acts to reauthorize the Program, it most likely will include changes such as an increase of the minimum investment amount (now US$500,000) and other changes that might make it more difficult for investors to qualify, and placing those newer investors at the back of the line.
If you have any questions about the visa bulletin, Priority Dates, the EB-5 visa or other U.S. visas, contact us at email@example.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney based in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.