China EB-5 “Unavailable” for Remainder of FY2014

China EB-5 “Unavailable” for Remainder of FY2014
August 27, 2014

On August 23, 2014, the Department of State announced that effective immediately, the EB-5 investor visa (green card) category became “unavailable” for Chinese applicants. This is a very significant announcement because it is the first time in the history of the EB-5 program that the annual limit of 10,000 EB-5 green cards is close to being reached. Given that EB-5 demand has increased 700% since 2007, this is not a surprise.


By making EB-5 green cards unavailable to Chinese applicants through this fiscal year, ending September 30, 2014, the expectation is there will be enough EB-5 green cards for applicants from other countries for the rest of this Fiscal Year (Chinese investors utilize over 80% of all EB-5 green cards).  A new allocation of 10,000 EB-5 visas will be available when fiscal year 2015 starts on October 1, 2014. As a result, the impact this time on Chinese applicants will be short-lived.  However, the Department of State is warning that heavy demand by Chinese applicants will require the establishment of a cut-off date, possibly in May 2015.


Cut-off dates are established to create a queue for applicants. Once established, each EB-5 applicant’s priority for receiving a green card will be established by the date his/her I-526 is filed (“priority date”). The later an EB-5 applicant files, the longer the queue will likely be in front of the applicant, and the longer the applicant will have to wait for a green card. Given the ever growing demand for EB-5 green cards, once a queue starts, it may stay permanently and will likely lengthen (unless and until there is a change to the 10,000 limit). One major consequence of having to wait longer include older children of applicants aging-out (becoming too old to receive green cards with their parents).