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Last week, the Department of State published the monthly visa issuance data for September 2023. With the statistics of the last month of FY2023 now available, we can analyze the data and identify trends in EB-5 visa usage in the first full fiscal year since the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (the “RIA”) went into effect.
Overall FY2023 EB-5 Visa Issuance (Consular Processing Only)
A total of 8,506 EB-5 visas were issued via consular processing in FY2023, marking a notable increase of 23.6% compared to FY2022. This substantial rise can be largely attributed to the recovery of visa processing capacity at Consular Offices in key locations such as Guangzhou, Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, and around the world.
As illustrated in the chart below, Consular Offices globally processed nearly 2,600 EB-5 visas in a single month (September 2022) and an average of 1,000 visas every month between March and August 2023. The issuance of only 150 EB-5 visas in September 2023 was due to reaching the annual limit for visa availability. The restoration of visa processing capacity is critical to maximize EB-5 visa usage and reduce visa backlog in FY2024, given that 14,000 EB-5 visas are expected to be available for the unreserved category.
Preliminary data indicates that more than 1,500 EB-5 visa numbers were utilized through the adjustment of status with USCIS in FY2023, potentially pushing the total EB-5 visa usage to approximately 11,000. According to the State Department, all EB-5 visa usage in FY2023 was under the unreserved category.
That is, with 13,987 immigrant visas available for the EB-5 category in FY2023 and 9,511 EB-5 visas allocated to the unreserved category, all unreserved EB-5 visa numbers were used in the past fiscal year and none of the allocated unreserved visas were wasted. In contrast, more than 2,600 EB-5 visas were allocated to the unreserved category in FY2022 but went unused and ended up being wasted.
Country-Specific EB-5 Visa Issuance Trends
China: Over 5,700 EB-5 visas were issued to Chinese EB-5 applicants in FY2023, constituting 67% of the total EB-5 visa issuances during the fiscal year. This marked the highest number of EB-5 visas issued to applicants from China since FY2018 (see Table 1 at the full report). Consequently, the EB-5 final action date for Chinese nationals advanced by 170 days in FY2023. The U.S. Consulate Office in Guangzhou processed a total of 5,561 EB-5 visas in FY2023, reflecting a significant year-over-year increase of 41%.
India: In FY2023, 676 EB-5 visas were issued to Indian nationals, accounting for 8% of the total number of EB-5 visa issuances. Because of the per-country cap, 7.1% of the total EB-5 visas are reserved to Indian applicants. It’s also worth noting that the U.S. Consular Office in Mumbai processed around 90% of all Indian EB-5 visa applicants, in contrast to the consular offices in Guangzhou and Ho Chi Minh City, which issued visas to 97% and 96% of EB-5 visa applicants from China and Vietnam, respectively. This indicates that approximately 10% of Indian EB-5 visa applicants did not reside in their home country.
Vietnam: Between October 2022 and September 2023, a total of 541 Vietnamese applicants received their EB-5 visas, representing 6% of the worldwide EB-5 visa usage in FY2023. Despite there being more than 1,500 Vietnamese EB-5 visa applicants waiting at the National Visa Center (NVC) at the start of FY2023, the visa issuance through the Consulate Office in Ho Chi Minh City reached a three-year low (see Table 2 at the full report).
Rest of the World: Additionally, 416 and 251 EB-5 visas were issued to applicants from South Korea and Taiwan, respectively. These two investor markets rank as No. 4 and No. 5 in terms of EB-5 visa issuance in FY2023.
IIUSA EB-5 Visa Data Dashboard
Learn more about the comprehensive EB-5 visa usage and stay up-to-date on this important topic by visiting IIUSA’s EB-5 Visa Data Dashboard: https://iiusa.org/eb5-visa-data-dashboard/