Current Demand for EB-5 Visas Will Lead to Retrogression in FY-2015, According to Department of State & Other Takeaways from Visa Update Panel

11.14.14 | Archived

Attendees of IIUSA’s 4th Annual EB-5 Market Exchange were updated on EB-5 visa retrogression by Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Controls Office at

From Left to Right: Charles Oppenheim, Robert Gaffney, Bernard Wolfsdorf on the Visa Retrogression Update Panel at the EB-5 Market Exchange, October 23, 2014 in San Francisco, CA

the U.S. Department of State. The panel also featured immigration attorneys Bernard Wolfsdorf and Robert Gaffney. You can purchase the video presentation here ($99/members, $198/nonmembers, All Access Pass included).  The presentations slides are available here.

The biggest takeaway from the presentation is that the chances of EB-5 quota retrogression in 2015 for investors born in China are very high. In fact,  it is predicted that quota retrogression will commence in the April to July 2015 time frame and the “cutoff date” will likely be sometime in 2013. Furthermore, retrogression will continue indefinitely unless either Congress or the President takes action to increase visa numbers. For more on what Visa Retrogression means to the EB-5 industry, we recommend you read Robert Divine’s summary from August when it was announced that EB-5 Visa category was unavailable for the final month of FY-2014.

Furthermore, Charles Oppenheim provided some fascinating statistics that describe the rapid growth of the EB-5 Program and also indicate that retrogression is right around the corner.

  • From FY 2001-2014, there have been a 1,250% increase in EB-5 Visas handed out.
  • In FY-2014, the U.S. State Department issued 9,228 EB-5 visas
  • The top five posts for EB-5 Visas issued for FY-2014: 1) Guangzhou, China (8,237), Seoul, Korea (149), Taipei, Taiwan (97), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (92) and Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. (78). It is interesting to note that Vietnam and U.A.E. supplanted Japan and Mexico in the top five, respectively from FY-2013 to FY-2014.
As the calendar rolls into 2015, IIUSA will be closely monitoring the U.S. Visa Bulletin, issued by the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs, for updates about the EB-5 category remains “Current” or if retrogression will set in.


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