EB-5 Update – New State Department Data Released


This week, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP Managing Partner, Bernard Wolfsdorf, led a panel at the AILA/IIUSA EB-5 Forum in Chicago, Illinois with Mr. Charles Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control & Reporting, U.S. Department of State (“DOS”). This panel presented the latest EB-5 data and estimates for future processing.

1. Predictions for Future Final Action Dates

Mr. Oppenheim predicted the following Final Action Dates for EB-5. It is important to note in the past, Mr. Oppenheim has had to recalibrate estimates later in the year based on unforeseen variables impacting visa demand or usage:

o December 2018 Visa Bulletin – August 22, 2014
o Best Case Scenario for September 2019 – October 22, 2014
o Worst Case Scenario for September 2019 – October 8, 2014
o Slow movement because of large groupings of applicant demand in weekly groupings surrounding Regional Center program sunsets

o December 2018 Visa Bulletin – May 1, 2016
o A Final Action Date (Chart A) of September 2016 is likely to be reached
o May or June of 2019, is when the Final Action Date will begin to track with China
o October 2019 Visa Bulletin (beginning of FY 2020) – Significant movement forward, consistent with that of October 2018. This pattern will recur until earlier filed backlogged Chinese cases are cleared

o Imposition of a Final Action Date no later than July 2019, possibly earlier, depending on how quickly USCIS adjudicates pending I-526 petitions.
o Once a Final Action Date is established, it will begin to track with China
o October 2019 Visa Bulletin (beginning of FY 2020) – Significant movement forward, likely to 2017. This pattern will recur until earlier filed backlogged Chinese cases are cleared

All Other Countries
o Will remain current for the foreseeable future

Wolfsdorf Rosenthal attorneys Robert Blanco, Joseph Barnett, and Vivian Zhu will be presenting a webinar on Thursday, November 8 at 12 pm PST to discuss these updates in more detail. Click here to register now!

2. Potential “Rough” Visa Wait Time for EB-5 Investors if I-526 Filed October 30, 2018

The wait time estimate is the number of years between the time when an I-526 petition was filed and the time when an EB-5 visa is available, including the processing time for adjudicating the I-526 petition times. USCIS petition processing times vary from a few months to a few years.

• China (presently 3,800 visas per year): about 14 years
• Vietnam (700 visas per year): about 7.2 years
• India (700 visas per year): about 5.7 years
• South Korea (700 visas per year): about 2.2 years
• Taiwan (700 visas per year): about 1.7 years
• Brazil (700 visas per year): about 1.5 years

Mr. Oppenheim stated that, except for China, these estimates may be considered the “worst case” scenario. Furthermore, because the wait time estimates above include the time an applicant is already waiting for his or her I-526 approval, any additional wait caused by a per country backlog may be negligible. For example, if the I-526 processing time is one year, an applicant chargeable to Brazil would only have an additional wait of six months.

These estimates are very “rough” and cannot encompass all the variables, such as dissipation from petition revocations, deaths, age outs, withdrawals, and many other factors; nor does it include possible increases from family “acquired” before visa issuance, possible legislative, regulatory, judicial or other governmental action that might increase available numbers. But, they do provide a glimpse into the issue of demand versus the annual per-country limit impacting visa availability.

3. Worldwide Use

The wait time estimates above reflect a changing demographic among EB-5 applicants. A total of 9,602 EB-5 numbers were used in Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2018, and for first time in recent history, fewer EB-5 numbers were used by China-mainland nationals (4,642) than those from the rest of the world (4,960). This is a dramatic change from recent history, where over 7,500 EB-5 numbers were allocated to China-mainland nationals each year.

This post originally appeared on Wolfsdorf Rosenthal Immigration Attorneys

About The Author

Bernard Wolfsdorf is the past National President of the 15,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is Managing Partner of the top-rated Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP immigration law firm. The firm is known worldwide for providing exceptional quality legal services. With over 80 professionals including 18 lawyers, and offices in Los Angeles, New York and Shanghai, the firm provides high-quality, excellent-value global immigration services. Mr. Wolfsdorf specializes in a broad range of immigration areas, including business and EB-5 investment visas and he also handles the full range of global immigration matters.

Best Lawyer’s US News and World Report ranked him as its 2018 “Lawyer of the Year” for Los Angeles. In 2017, Mr. Wolfsdorf was listed as Who’s Who Legal’ s “Leading and Most Highly Recommended Immigration Lawyer in the United States” for the 7th year. Mr. Wolfsdorf secured the top spot after earning the most votes from hundreds of highly-rated immigration lawyers around the world. WWL calls Mr. Wolfsdorf a “leading expert in EB-5” who has “strengths in many practice areas.”

He has been described by other highly reputable sources, such as Chambers and Partners (USA), as an “excellent” attorney.” The firm is one of only 3 in California awarded Band 1 recognition, and the only one in Southern California with the honor.

Mr. Wolfsdorf has been recognized as “an undoubted leader” and “one of the prestigious names in the field” who “knows his stuff back to front”. He is listed in Southern California Super Lawyers, while Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business has rated him in its top tier. EB5 Investors Magazine has rated Mr. Wolfsdorf in its “Top 25 Immigration Lawyers” for the past 4 years.

Mr. Wolfsdorf has been certified by the California State Bar as an Immigration and Nationality law specialist for over 25 years. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business described him as “one of the hardest-working immigration lawyers around,” adding that “he continues to lead from the front with astute strategic and tactical decisions”.

Mr. Wolfsdorf is a long-standing member of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) and ABIL Global, which include the Managing Partners of the top immigration firms worldwide. He has authored numerous publications on immigration law and frequently lectures on visa matters. He is renowned for his broad knowledge of immigration law and his ability to successfully navigate complex immigration matters. Over the years, Mr. Wolfsdorf has had a major impact on the practice of immigration law. In recognition of his contribution, the American Immigration Lawyers Association honored him with its Service Excellence Award for his distinguished work.

Robert Blanco specializes in business and employment immigration cases. He prepares both immigrant and non-immigrant petitions for skilled workers, executive managers, high net worth investors, and people of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, and business. As a member of the firm’s EB-5 team, Mr. Blanco prepares cases for individual investors and advises U.S. businesses on how to structure investment projects under the regulations of the EB-5 program. He also represents clients before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Mr. Blanco graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School with a concentration in Corporate Law. Mr. Blanco is admitted to practice law in the state of California.

Joseph Barnett is a partner at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP and a member of the firm’s EB-5 and business immigration practices. He is licensed as an attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin and practices exclusively in immigration and nationality law.

Mr. Barnett represents immigrant investors seeking permanent residency in the United States through USCIS-designated Regional Centers and investment in their own businesses. Mr. Barnett also assists developers with the establishment of complex corporate and financing structures for EB-5 capital. He works with economists, securities lawyers, business plan writers, and other professionals to prepare Regional Center applications, amendments, and project “exemplar” approvals.

As the lead member on the firm’s Chinese EB-1 team, Mr. Barnett has successfully represented Chinese executives, researchers, professors, medical professionals, engineers, musicians and artists, media and public relations professionals, and others with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics seek permanent residency in the U.S. Mr. Barnett also assists executives and managers in multinational companies to obtain permanent residency in the U.S.

Mr. Barnett is also responsible for a variety of other immigration matters, including temporary work visas, employment-based petitions, administrative appeals, and federal writ of mandamus lawsuits.

Vivian Zhu is a partner at Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP and is the supervising attorney of the firm’s EB-5 department. She specializes in EB-5 cases, including representation of investors, regional centers and projects, distressed projects, complex age-out cases, mandamus litigation, consular inadmissibility, response to Request for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Deny and Notice of Intent to Revoke. Vivian supervises the filings of over 3,000 investor petitions that represent $1.5 billion in investments in U.S. companies.

She also practices in the areas of the E-2 investor visa, L-1 intra-company transferee visa, and EB-1 petition for alien worker with an extraordinary ability. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, high-net worth individuals, investors, executives and highly-skilled professionals.

Vivian has several years’ experience in corporate and securities laws primarily representing companies in reverse mergers, PIPEs, initial public offerings, follow-on public offerings and Exchange Act filings.

Ms. Zhu received her Master of Laws from USC School of Law (2007 – 2008) where she worked as a research assistant in U.S.-China International Transactions. She received her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University (2003 – 2007).

Ms. Zhu is licensed in the state of New York and practices exclusively in immigration law. She is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese.