A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

China EB-5 Visa Quota Used up for 2014

The EB-5 immigrant visa numbers have been used up for China for fiscal year 2014 as of August 23, according to Charles Oppenheim, Chief of Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State. 

This action is necessary because all available visa numbers for China in the EB-5 category have been allocated to existing cases. 

The EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a "Targeted Employment Area" - high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.

However, this development does not affect applicants whose cases that have already been processed and scheduled for interviews. These cases have already been reviewed and allocated visa numbers, including cases that have been scheduled for interviews. Therefore, Chinese EB-5 applicants who have been scheduled for an interview at an overseas American Consulate based on the original establishment of the August and September cut-off dates would not be impacted by the exhaustion of visa numbers as they already have been allotted visa numbers.  

The State Department states that no additional numbers are available for cases originally scheduled for interview in an earlier month who are just now returning, or for those first requesting an interview.  However if there are Chinese applicants who fail to appear or failed to overcome a refusal during August or September, then additional visa numbers will be available.

USCIS offices may continue to accept and process China Employment Fifth preference cases and submit them in the normal manner. However, instead of being acted upon immediately, those cases will be held in the Visa Office's "Pending Demand" file until October 1, 2014. At that time, all eligible cases will be automatically authorized from the "Pending Demand" file under the FY-2015 annual numerical limitation. Each USCIS requesting office will receive an e-mail notification of such authorizations, which will be effective immediately.

Applicants who are impacted by the unavailability of visa numbers or otherwise do not qualify for EB-5 investment visas may consider applying for L-1 visa if they own or currently working for a foreign enterprise. 

The L-1 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa which allows qualified overseas companies to relocate foreign qualified employees to its U.S. parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of that company. There are several different types of L1 visas. L-1A visa is specifically designed for intra-company executive or manager transferees. The L-1B visa is designed for intra-company transfers of employees with specialized knowledge. 

It is also important to note that additional visa numbers will be available starting October 1, 2014.  However, demand will likely continue to be strong for this visa category.

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