EB-5 Visas for Chinese Nationals Become Temporarily Unavailable for the First Time

For the first time, a waiting list for investor visas for citizens of China.

The days of readily available EB-5 visas are coming to a close, at least for persons from China. Chinese nationals are by far the biggest users of EB-5 visas, and China’s 7% share of the 10,000-visa yearly total is no longer sufficient to accommodate demand from its nationals.

On August 23rd, 2014, the State Department announced that for the first time ever, it has had to make EB-5 visas unavailable to Chinese investors for the rest of the fiscal year.

What this means for Chinese overseas is that, unless you had an interview scheduled at the consulate already, you will have to wait until at least October 1, 2014 for your interview and visa issuance.

The only other circumstance in which you could get an interview at a consular post in China before October is if another EB-5 applicant failed to show up for his or her interview, or was refused the visa.

For Chinese nationals adjusting status in the U.S., processing will continue, but you won’t see any approval until after October 1.

This five-week temporary unavailability of EB-5 visas for China is a prelude to a more serious issue predicted to occur in 2015: the first-ever “waiting list” for EB-5 China visas. The State Department has been warning for some time now that it will need to establish a “cut-off date” for EB-5 China.

When this happens, persons from China with approved I-526 petitions will need to check the State Department’s Visa Bulletin every month to make sure their “priority date” (based on when they filed the I-526) is on or before the cutoff date before proceeding with visa processing or adjustment of status.