The EB-5 Investor visa program is a program where foreign nationals can invest either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in a business and if certain criteria are met, the investor and his/her family can receive green cards. While there are several requirements of the program, the key provisions are the amount invested and that the business that is created or funded must create 10 full-time jobs. To find out more about the requirements for EB-5 visas click here. The government allocates 10,000 of these visas a year and up until now, the cap has not ever been reached. In fact, up until the last couple of years, fewer than 3000 visas had been issued in any given year. For the first time in history though, the U.S. State Department announced the following:
“Effective immediately Saturday, August 23, 2014 the China Employment Fifth (EB-5) preference category has become “Unavailable” for the remainder of the FY-2014. This action is necessary because the maximum level of numbers which may be made available for use by China EB-5 applicants during FY-2014 has been reached.”
While 10,000 visas are allocated, the government has an internal calculation that only permits a certain number of visas to go to any one country. As 90% of the EB-5 visas go to China, it is no wonder that this is the only country impacted by the cap. While other countries will remain unaffected, this announcement sets in motion events that will significantly increase the wait time for Chinese nationals to get EB-5 visas in the future. While visas will continue to be processed, the announcement means that the backlog will increase and increase and the wait times will extend and extend. This is similar to many of the family and employment based green card categories. For example, U.S. citizens sponsoring a brother or sister for a green card would have to wait over 13 years. Similarly, nationals from China and India that want employment based green cards have long waits.
We will monitor the EB-5 visa cut-off situation and come back with regular updates.
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