No one can really predict the future. But as analysts will tell you, we can learn a lot from the past and watching current trends. This is especially true when it comes to immigration, which is in a state of constant flux. Last week, Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the Department of State (DOS), predicted that the EB-5 immigrant visa category would retrogress as early as May 2015, but definitely sometime during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
This notwithstanding, at the Association to Invest In USA’s (IIUSA) Fourth Annual EB-5 Market Exchange in San Francisco, California, Mr. Oppenheim refined his earlier prediction and reported that retrogression was more likely to occur in July 2015. The importance of this announcement, however, was not the new possible date for retrogression. The more significant development was his announcement that the EB-5 visa category would result in a possible cut-off date of July 2013.
What does this mean? Each immigrant visa category with annual numerical limits has cut-off dates. DOS defines the cut-off date as the priority date of the first applicant who could not be scheduled for a visa interview for a given month. In other words, only those applicants with a priority date earlier than the cut-off date on the monthly Visa Bulletin released by DOS can be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview. So if your priority date is on or later than the cut-off date, you will need to wait until your priority date becomes current. A July 2013 cut-off date would result in only those EB-5 investors (and any derivative beneficiaries) with a Priority Date of July 2013 or earlier being eligible to apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa.
As a result, most EB-5 practitioners recommend that EB-5 investors continue to file their I-526 Petitions. However, because there are a number of factors to be taken into consideration when filing an I-526, EB-5 investors should consult with an immigration attorney to determine what makes sense in their particular case.
For more information, please contact Maria del Carmen Ramos at 813.227.2252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.