1. The U.S. Department of State has published the July 2015 visa bulletin with a new Chinese EB-5 cutoff date of September 1, 2013. Beginning in July, Chinese EB-5 applicants with petitions filed before September 1, 2013 may be scheduled for final interviews, or if in the U.S. lawfully, may apply for adjustment of status.
  2. With the May 1, 2015 establishment of a May 1, 2013 cutoff date for Chinese EB-5 applicants, there was confusion and concern. Many child derivative applicants were concerned they would not be able to immigrate with their parents if the petition was filed too close to their 21st However, establishing a cutoff date was critical as Chinese demand was at the limit allowed (81%) for EB-5 use during the first three quarters of the fiscal year. If no China cut-off was established, it would have been necessary for the China EB-5 preference category to become completely unavailable.
  3. In June 2015, the China visa cutoff remained frozen at May 1, 2013, with the wait line stretching to 25 months for Chinese applicants. However, the State Department indicated that the cutoff date was having the desired impact and China visa numbers had “stabilized”.
  4. Now with the China EB-5 cutoff leaping forward to September 1, 2013, the current EB-5 wait for July 2015 will be drastically reduced to 22 months.
  5. The May 1, 2013 cutoff was established because over 2,000 cases had priority dates, or I-526 filing dates, earlier than May 1, 2013. Those applicants and other incomplete pipeline cases would have priority for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015 ending September 30, 2015. Also, with only about 2,500 visas remaining for the year, priority had to be made for applicants from countries other than China with no quota limitation. So how come the great news?
  6. Since establishing the cutoff date, two circumstances occurred that were not anticipated. First, demand from countries other than China did not increase at the expected rate. In the first 7 months of Fiscal Year 2015, 88.56% of investors came from China with a total of 6,819. Vietnam had the second highest percentage of investors using only 244 visas. So much for talk about all the other emerging nations. Second, sizeable demand by China EB-5 applicants with priority dates earlier than May 1, 2013 did not materialize.
  7. There is a possibility of even more good news in August or September 2015. Should demand from the rest of the world continue to be slow, the China EB-5 visa numbers may move forward again to October or even to November 2013.
  8. The China cutoff date problem is not going to be serious for calendar year 2015. In October 2015 it appears we may open the new fiscal year 2016 with a 22 or 23 month wait from the time of filing. By the end of Fiscal Year 2016 on September 30, 2015, the State Department may be processing cases from Summer 2014. Bottom line – the China waiting line problem is serious, but remains manageable at about 2 years.

  9. This post originally appeared on Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group. Reprinted with permission.

    About The Author

    Tahmina Watson Bernard Wolfsdorf is a recent past President of AILA and Managing Partner of the top-rated Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP with offices in Los Angeles and New York. With 21 lawyers and 60 professionals, the firm is known worldwide for its excellence in providing value and top-quality global immigration representation. Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has been described by Chambers USA as "a force to be reckoned with."

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