No, if you and your family act now and apply under the new category of reserved visas (visa set asides), your application will not take longer even if you are of Indian nationality.
Visa set asides are a new category of reserved visas under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program created by the United States Congress by virtue of the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in March 2022. The RIA provides that of the visas made available for the EB-5 program in each fiscal year, 10% are reserved for applicants who invest in high unemployment areas, 20% are reserved for applicants who invest in rural areas, and 2% are reserved for applicants who invest in infrastructure projects.
According to the March 2023 Visa Bulletin published by the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, all EB-5 visa set asides are now current. This means that there are no backlogs for new investors filing their EB-5 applications in the three reserved categories. Therefore, new clients filing in one of these reserved categories will not be subject to longer wait times, otherwise known as retrogression. This is great news for investors born in mainland China and India.
Pursuant to the March 2023 Visa Bulletin, the unreserved category is in retrogression for Indian and Chinese nationals. The final action dates for applicants in the unreserved category is July 8, 2015 for Chinese nationals and June 1, 2018 for Indian nationals. As compared to the February 2023 Visa Bulletin, the final action date for Chinese nationals has moved up by several months from March to July, whereas the final action date for Indian nationals has regressed by 17 months. That said, given the efforts of the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) in increasing staff, processing of pending EB-5 applications is expected to be expedited in the near future. Nevertheless, new applicants participating in the EB-5 program are better off applying in the new reserved visa category as they can benefit from quicker processing times.
Previously filed EB-5 petitions are not subject to the new visa set aside categories and there is no mechanism to upgrade a previously filed petition to be eligible for one of these reserved categories. However, investors can withdraw their previously filed petitions and file a new petition to take advantage of the reserved categories.
With over a decade of experience in the EB-5 industry, our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals are ready to assist you and your family with your migration journey to the United States. If you are interested in finding out more about the EB-5 program and projects that qualify for the reserved visa category, contact our team today for a complimentary consultation.