The process of immigrating to the United States using the EB-5 investment program is at once both simple and complex. While it is simple by definition and theoretical process flow, it is often much more complex when it comes to understanding immigration-specific terminology and other practical considerations including number of applicants and number of available visas.
EB-5 Visa Terms
I-526 – Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. This is the petition that formally begins the EB-5 process. It is typically prepared on behalf by of the petitioner by a qualified Immigration Attorney.
DS-260 – Online Immigrant Visa Application & Registration. – This is the form that each petitioner and qualified family member immigrating with the petitioner must file once the petitioner’s fees have been paid.
Priority Date – This date is the same as the date that the I-526 is filed.
Oversubscription – This is when the number of EB-5 visa applications in a year exceeds the allotted number of EB-5 visas available for issuance that year.
Cutoff Date – This is essentially the date at which Oversubscription occurred. This may also be referred to as the Final Action Date.
Retrogression – Retrogression occurs due to Oversubscription. Current petitions beyond the allotted quota – and subsequent applications – are held in suspension until the next available date for issuance. Consulates will not hold Visa Interviews during periods of retrogression. Retrogression does not disqualify an application, but it does delay it. It is possible that, when I-526 applications continue to exceed the annual number of visas available, new petitions may become backlogged for several years.
Once processing resumes, the Cutoff Date moves forwarded. Forward movement is limited by the number of I-526 petitions already in-hand until that number reaches the annual allotment.
EB-5 Visa Process
- Petitioner files I-526.
- USCIS approves I-526 Petition.
- Petitioner and qualifying family members file DS-260 forms.
- If the Priority Date is available for processing, the National Visa Center schedules a Visa Interview for the petitioner at the appropriate American Consulate.
If the Priority Date is in retrogression, the petitioner is notified and must wait until the Priority Date becomes available. (It’s like making a reservation for dinner at a restaurant but because the kitchen is short-staffed, you must wait for those who had reservations before you and are waiting to be served.)
- If the Visa is approved at the Consulate, the investor is permitted to enter the U.S. on an EB-5 Visa and becomes a conditional resident.
- Once the conditions of the EB-5 Visa have been met, the Investor receives a coveted Green Card.
EB-5 Visas for Vietnamese Investors
Demand for the U.S. EB-5 Investment Immigration Visa program for Vietnamese investors has been increasing steadily over the past several years and continues to do so. Applications from Vietnamese investors are exceeded in number only by Chinese investors.
I-526 Petitions reached the Cutoff Date in April 2018. Beginning 01 May 2018, U.S. government has grouped Vietnamese applicants with Chinese EB-5 applicants for Fina Action Date for the duration of fiscal 2018. That date is 22 July 2014. That Final Action Date will remain in effect until 30 September 2018.
Vietnamese investors should be aware of the current Cutoff and Final Action dates. For the time being, applicants with a Cutoff Date after 22 July 2014 must wait for the next round of processing to begin. At that time, the Final Action Date will adjust accordingly.
We recommend that interested applicants from Vietnam continue to submit I-529 Petitions to ensure an expedient place in line. Just as the early bird gets the worm, the EB-5 applicant that submits his I-529 now gets the earliest Visa Interview.
The attorneys at American Corporate Services Law Offices, Inc. understand the complexities of U.S. Immigration Law and are highly skilled at ensuring that our clients are fully equipped to understand the process and prepared to succeed with their petitioning process and gaining their Green Card as quickly and efficiently as possible.