U.S. State Department announces availability changes for Chinese nationals in EB-5 category

On August 23, 2014, the U.S. State Department announced that as of that date immigrant visa numbers for Chinese nationals in the EB-5 visa category will not be available through September 30, 2014, which will be the end of the 2014 fiscal year. New visa numbers will become available on October 1, 2014. What does this mean for you as an EB-5 Immigrant visa applicant from China? If you already have an approved I-526 application and you have an application for adjustment pending (Form I-485), USCIS will not begin adjudicating that application until visa numbers are available again on October 1, 2014. If you have an approved I-526 application and are a Chinese national consular processing the visa, the U.S. State Department will not schedule an immigrant visa interview until the visa numbers become current on October 1, 2014. Those applicants who have already been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview already have a visa number that has been set aside for them and their family members. Those interviews will go on as previously scheduled. What impact will the announcement by the U.S. State Department have on I-526 adjudications? The U.S. State Department announcement will not impact the adjudication of I-526 and I-829 petitions by USCIS. What impact will the announcement by the U.S. State Department have on future EB-5 visa availability for Chinese nationals? According to the announcement on August 23, 2014, visa retrogression in the EB-5 visa category might occur again in May 2015. The visa retrogression is estimated to be 2 years or May 2013. This means that in May 2015 the U.S. State Department in their consular processing and USCIS in the adjustment process will be processing I-526 applications that were filed in May 2013. Practically speaking, based on the current I-526 USCIS processing times, it means a waiting period of 1 year or more for the priority date to become current. This does not take into account the waiting time for consular processing or adjustment of status.

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