March Visa Bulletin Analysis: EB-5 Visa Wait Times Explained

March Visa Bulletin Analysis: EB-5 Waiting Times Explained

The Department of State has issued a March 2021 visa bulletin showing little change to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa from the previous Visa Bulletin (Feb 2021).

The EB-5 waiting times currently only apply to people born in Vietnam and China. India came out of visa retrogression last July and no one born in this country is currently subject to a wait.

All other countries around the world are listed as “C” which means Current. This means these countries’ quotas are not oversubscribed and they can progress to booking an appointment with the National Visa Center (NVC) once their Form I-526 is approved..

The reason India, China and Vietnam show up so prominently in visa bulletins is because the per-country quotas are not determined on a per capita basis. All three of these countries have large populations and a long tradition of emigrating to the United States.

EB-5 Waiting Lists Explained

With just over 700 EB-5 visas available to each country each year, it is understandable that these can be quickly used up. The EB-5 visa offers a green card for a minimum of $900,000 investment.

A whole family can come under one single investment – that is the applicant, their spouse and any children under the age of 21. While that would be one investment, each would require their own visa. This makes a much quicker path to using up the quota of 700 than if it was calculated on 700 EB-5 investments / applications.

So even if your country is not in retrogression, the path to getting there can be quick. It took India just a couple of years from being at 100 EB-5 visas/year to hitting retrogression. Places like South Korea and Taiwan inch close to the annual limit.

Final Action Dates

The March visa bulletin once again shows no forward movement for Chinese EB-5 applicants and limited forward movement for Vietnamese EB-5 applicants.

China remains stuck on 15 August 2015 and Vietnam moved three weeks to 22 October 2017. This means that the movements in this month’s visa bulletin – as far as EB-5 is concerned – only affects the very small number of people who are from Vietnam and have their priority dates between the first and twenty-first of October.

What this means is that there is expected to be a visa available to people with a priority date prior to the one listed. The dates listed in the visa bulletin can move backwards as well as forwards because a lot of assumptions have to go into calculating the date.

There is another date in the visa bulletin, the Date for Filing, which offers some preparation time for those in visa retrogression to prepare to submit to the National Visa Center. There is no movement this month, with only China being delayed, still at December 15, 2015.

EB-3 Visas

For the EB-3 Visa for highly skilled professionals (the Green Card equivalent of H-1B Visa), the delays mostly fall on Indians. The delays are very, very long, but there was a little bit of movement this month. The Final Action Dates for India EB-3 moved from mid-October 2009 to mid January 2010. A long delay, but Biden’s plan to remove country caps could get rid of this delay in one-fell swoop. There was little movement for China EB-3, currently at July 2013.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.

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