The U.S. Department of State has published the monthly Visa Bulletin for December 2021.
While the EB-5 cut-off dates for Regional Center visa applicants still remain unchanged due to the continuing lapse of the Regional Center Program, the dates for direct EB-5 applicants across the world will become “current” in December, first the first time since the EB-5 visa categories became oversubscribed in 2015. It’s also the first time when direct EB-5 applicants and Regional Center EB-5 applicants have different cut-off dates.
EB-5 FINAL ACTION DATES (CHART A)
The December Visa Bulletin revealed the following final action dates for EB-5 visa applicants:
- Applicants associated with a direct EB-5 project:
- All Countries: “Current”;
- All applicants will be able to apply for their EB-5 visa as soon as they become documentarily qualified, without any delay.
- All Countries: “Current”;
- Applicants associated with a Regional Center project*:
- Mainland China: November 22, 2015 (Unchanged from the November Visa Bulletin);
- All Other Countries: Current.
(Chart A on the December 2021 Visa Bulletin)
* See below from the December Visa Bulletin regarding the final action dates of Regional Center visa applicants:
The final action dates for the I5 and R5 categories (visa applicants investing through an EB-5 Regional Center) have been listed as “Unavailable” for December. If there is legislative action extending this category for December, the final action dates would immediately become “Current” for December for all countries except China-mainland born I5 and R5, which would be subject to a November 22, 2015 final action date.
EB-5 DATES FOR FILING (CHART B)
The dates for filing for visa applicants invested through an EB-5 Regional Center remain unchanged in the December Visa Bulletin, continuing to be December 15, 2015 for applicants from mainland China and “current” for all other EB-5 visa applicants around the world. But USCIS will continue to reject new Form I-485, Form I-796 and Form I-131 associated with an EB-5 Regional Center until the Regional Center Program is reauthorized by Congress (see USCIS alert notice here).
However, for all visa applicants affiliated with a direct EB-5 project, the dates for filing will become “current” in December. That is, qualified EB-5 applicants who invested in a direct EB-5 project, regardless of his or her country of birth, can file an adjustment of status application to USCIS in December as soon as their I-526 petition is approved without any delay.
(Chart B on the December 2021 Visa Bulletin)
SPECIAL NOTES ON DECEMBER VISA BULLETIN
While Item F on the latest Visa Bulletin highlights the fact that, for the first time since May 2015, direct EB-5 visa applicants from China will not be subject to any cut-off dates in December, it also notes that a final action date could be imposed in the future months depending on the demand for visa numbers from direct EB-5 applicants.
See below from the December Visa Bulletin:
F. CHINA-MAINLAND BORN EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIFTH PREFERENCE C5 AND T5 NON-REGIONAL CENTER VISA CATEGORIES BECOME “CURRENT” FOR DECEMBER
These categories have become “Current” for December; however if China-mainland born number use were to materialize at a level which could potentially jeopardize visa availability under the overall FY-2022 Employment-based Fifth preference annual limit it would then be necessary to once again impose a final action date.