FY2014 EB-5 Visa Stats by Country

The US Department of State has updated its Report of the Visa Office 2014 with the section on EB-5 visas issued: Section V Immigrant Visas Issued and Adjustments of Status Subject to Numerical Limitations (by Foreign State of Chargeability): Fiscal Year 2014, Part 3 (Employment Fifth and Totals, Grand Totals). I’m copying below my summary table, which lists all countries associated in FY 2014 with 20+ EB-5 visas. People wondering about trends in demand for EB-5 visas should study the full file carefully. They may also compare with visa office reports from previous years.
FY2014visas
PS: Keep in mind that visas are not the same as petitions. I-526 petitions are one per investor and filed with USCIS, which adjudicates them and publishes its own statistics. EB-5 visas are one per investor plus his/her spouse and minor children, and are issued by the State Department after a process that follows I-526 approval.

2014 I-526/I-829 Processing Stats, SEC Enforcement, New RCs (AL, CA, FL, IL, IN, NY, OH, OR, TX)

Processing Statistics
USCIS has updated its Immigration and Citizenship Data page with fourth quarter FY2014 processing statistics for Form I-526 and Form I-829.The numbers show dramatic increases in the number of petitions filed and the number processed. USCIS received twice as many I-829 petitions this year as last, and also processed twice as many. USCIS increased its I-526 processing volume as well, but not enough to keep up with receipts which exceeded 10,000 this year and pushed the volume of pending petitions over 12,000. That soaring line of I-526 receipts is sobering, considering that each represents an investor and only about 10,000 EB-5 visas are available annually for investors plus their spouses and dependents. (The State Department issued 9,228 EB-5 visas in FY2014, and China-born investors face a high probability of EB-5 quota retrogression in 2015.) On the bright side, 1,603 investors removed conditions this year, representing millions of dollars successfully invested and thousands of new jobs successfully verified. The image below shows summary charts from my Excel file of the data, based on files from the USCIS page linked above.
FY2014stats

SEC Compliance
Chad Ellsworth of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP has an interesting article Emphasis on Compliance and SEC Interagency Cooperation a Year after the Appointment of Chief Nicholas Colucci to the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5). The article summarizes the SEC’s recent EB-5-related activities and describes the content of broad subpoenas issued by the SEC to a number of Regional Centers.

Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List,11/4/2014 to 11/24/2014

  • Cornerstone Regional Center, Inc. (Alabama and Florida): www.cornerstoneregionalcenter.com
  • Golden Opportunity Regional Center (California)
  • Southern California Health and Hospitality Regional Center, LLC (California): www.eb5mg.com
  • American Advancement Capital Co. (California)
  • Success Dragon, LLC (California)
  • Clearwater Beach Resort Regional Center, LLC (Florida): www.eb5clearwaterbeach.com
  • Miami Regional Center, LLC (Florida)
  • Orlando Regional Center, LLC (Florida)
  • Crossroads Investment Partners, LLC (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio)
  • NYC Regional Center, Inc (New York)
  • American International Venture Fund – Oregon, LLC (Oregon)
  • PetroSam, LLC (Texas): petrosam.net

FAQ page, Retrogression, I-829, Processing Times, New RCs (CT, IL, IN, LA, NJ, NY, TX)

FAQ
I have started a new Frequently Asked Questions page that compiles official and unofficial USCIS answers to questions that affect business plans. So far I’ve linked in answers from USCIS policy guidance and stakeholder meetings, and I’ll be adding references to AAO decisions that treat sticky business plan questions.

Retrogression
Speaking at the IIUSA conference on October 23, Charles Oppenheim predicted that the EB-5 visa category will likely retrogress in July 2015. This remains a moving target, however. Ron Klasko’s blog has published a timely article on Surviving and Thriving in Times of EB-5 Quota Backlogs.

I-829
You may thank us at the IIUSA editorial committee for another great edition of the Regional Center Business Journal (October 2014). Three feature articles provide advice and analysis for I-829 petitions: The Latest Analysis of What USCIS Looks For in EB-5 I-829 RFEs and Denials, It’s Never Too Soon to Begin Preparing for I-829 Petition Filings, and Removal of Conditions for EB-5 Investors: Practical Guidance in Preparing I-829 Petitions.

Processing Times
The USCIS website has a sharp new look as of last week, but no new EB-5 content except a IPO processing times update. I-829 times are back to normal, while average I-526 and I-924 processing times continue to inch up.
IPO 930

IIUSA Conference
Mark your calendars for IIUSA’s 2015 EB-5 Regional Economic Development Advocacy Conference on April 12-14, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List, 10/20/2014 to 11/04/2014

  • EB5 Fund, Inc. (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York)
  • Great Lakes Regional Center, LLC (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin): www.glrceb-5.com
  • Southern Opportunity Regional Center LLC (Louisiana and Texas)
  • Premier Regional Center, LLC (Texas): www.premierregionalcenter.com

Processing Times and Volumes 2014 Q3

And now for images summarizing recent information on EB-5 petition processing times (from the USCIS Processing Time Information page, updated 8/7 for IPO), I-526 and I-829 petition volume (from the USCIS Immigration and Citizenship Data page, updated 8/19), and I-924 processing volume (my unofficial tally). The numbers show that EB-5 petition receipts still exceed the number of petitions processed every quarter, with that gap increasing for I-526 and holding steady for I-829. Denial rates were unusually low last quarter. Overall processing volume improved significantly for I-829 and fell again for I-526. Perhaps fortunately, since the 7,688 I-526 petitions received already in FY2014 would put us well over the annual EB-5 visa allocation if adjudicated in a timely manner.  Average processing times have not shown dramatic change over the past few months (except for when USCIS took I-924a out of the I-924 average between March and April). Meanwhile, the roster of approved Regional Centers continues to expand rapidly.
I526Q3 I829Q3
TimesQ3 RCapprovalsQ3
Click on any image to view the full size version.
And note my other new posts from today on business plans and the newly-announced 9/10 stakeholder meeting.

FY2014 Q2 EB-5 Petition Data, Material Change AAO Decisions, New RCs (AR, CA, CT, DC, FL, ID, IL, IN, MD, MI, NJ, NV, NY, PA, TN, TX, VA, WV, UT, WI)

The USCIS Immigration and Citizenship Data page has been updated again with data for I-526 and I-829 Petitions processed in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2014 (January to March). Once again, here are my little charts illustrating how the numbers compare with previous quarters.
1526q2 I829q2
I-526 processing volumes show modest increase overall, but below last quarter’s spike and still nowhere near Mr. Colucci’s goal of having the number of processed petitions at least exceed the number of petitions received each week. I-829s, on the other hand, flew off the shelf in Q2 – maybe because they’re all the California EB-5 team has to work on as of February? We’ll see how the processing story continues to unfold in coming quarters.

USCIS continues to post 2014 Administrative Appeals Office decisions on EB-5 cases. APR232014_01B7203 and MAY122014_01B7203 are interesting as case studies of the much-misunderstood material change issue. People tend to panic that “material change” means that one can’t at any time deviate from any point of a business plan submitted to USCIS. The May 30, 2013 EB-5 Policy Memo and Matter of Izummi don’t say that, however. USCIS policy focuses on the period prior to I-526 approval and the problem of petitioners who, having filed an I-526 Petition that doesn’t demonstrate eligibility for EB-5 visa benefits, respond to Requests for Evidence with a new set of facts, materially changing the proposal under which the original petition attempted to qualify. The USCIS position is that the petitioner must demonstrate eligibility for the visa petition at the time filing, the petitioner cannot secure a priority date based on future events, and USCIS cannot consider facts that only came into being subsequent to the filing of the petition. For example, the petitioner in APR232014_01B7203 invested through a loan model with indirect job creation, which a non-Regional Center investor may not do, and then, in response to an RFE, tried to change track and present USCIS with a new and different business structure and investment terms. The AAO agreed that: “Purchase and termination of ___ in response to the director’s request for evidence in order to meet the direct job creation requirements reflects a material deviation from the business structure claimed at the initial filing of the petition. The business structure change constitutes an effort to make an apparently deficient petition conform to users and regulatory requirements. Therefore, users must analyze the petition only on the basis of the original claims.” In the MAY122014_01B7203 case, the petitioner’s problem was that “at the time of filing, he had invested only $105,000 and had not, at that time, properly committed the balance of the required investment with a secured note or agreement.” The moral of the material change story is to get your ducks in a row before filing an I-526 Petition. Don’t just throw something together and file it, assuming that the worst case scenario is that USCIS will send Requests for Evidence giving you a chance to go back and forth supplying new information and fixing problems until the petition is finally approvable. The worst case scenario is that the content of that original I-526 would need such material changes to become approvable that USCIS will say (to paraphrase): Forget it. This filing was crap, and if you have new facts and a new story now then you can go back to square one and file a new petition for us to consider. (For the official statement, see pages 24 to 27 of the EB-5 Adjudications Policy memo.)

The USCIS Regional Center list continues to expand by leaps and bounds, reflecting hard work by the USCIS Investor Program Office and adding to a crowded field. We’re continuing to see many multi-state RCs and many RCs associated with operators who control multiple RCs.

Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List 5/6/2014 to 5/27/2014

What’s New (processing times, statistics, legislation, AAO deference decision, and new RCs in CA, FL, ME, NY, WA, WI)

Processing Times: As promised in the 2/26 EB-5 stakeholder meeting, a new section has been added to the USCIS Processing Time Information page. Now, instead of selecting “CSC – California Service Center” from the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page, select “IPO Processing Dates” button to see processing times for I-526 and I-829 (with I-924 promised to appear any day now). The news still isn’t good (indicating that as of January, IPO was working on I-526s filed April 2013 and I-829s filed May 2012), but at least it’s easy to check.

EB-5 Petition and Visa Statistics: This week USCIS updated its Immigration and Citizenship Data page with reports on I-526 and I-829 adjudications through Q4 2013. The stats show that USCIS made decisions on fewer EB-5 petitions overall in FY2013 than it did in FY2012, despite an increasing number of receipts. On the bright side, the second half of FY2013 had a significantly higher volume than the first half, particularly for I-526 adjudications, so we can hope for a continuing upward trend. On the dark side, pending petitions topped 7,000 for I-526 in 2013. For visa statistics, note that the State Department has reorganized its website, with the annual Report of the Visa Office from 2000 to 2013 now collected on one Visa Statistics page. To see the EB-5 visa numbers (itemized by Country of investor origin) for any year, open that year’s report and visit Section V. Part 3. For statistics related to the volume, use, and impacts of EB-5 investment, note that IIUSA has published a sneak peek of data highlights from the IIUSA-commissioned 2012 Economic Impacts Report, and will be featuring exclusive new program data in its forthcoming edition of the Regional Center Business Journal.

Legislation: The House is talking about EB-5 again, with a new bill proposed this month (The American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2014) that would permanently authorize and make some modifications to the EB-5 program. See Laura Reiff’s post “House Member Introduces Bi-Partisan Immigration Legislation to Enhance and Augment the EB-5 Regional Center Program

New AAO Decision: USCIS has uploaded another 2013 AAO decision (DEC302013_01B7203) on a Regional Center case in which “the AAO remands the matter to the chief for a new decision that explains its compliance with the May 30, 2013 Policy Memorandum.” The AAO found that “the chief did not explain why the economic impact analyses filed in support of the instant petition were not afforded due deference.” The decision requires USCIS to support its determination that deference is not warranted by providing examples of underlying change to material facts between the impact analyses supporting the approved Regional Center application and the denied I-526 petition. (See also SEP232013_01B7203, another deference-related decision on a different Regional Center case.)

New Regional Centers 3/6/2014 to 3/18/2014

2014 Events, EB-5 Stats, New AAO Decisions, New RCs (CA, CO, FL, GU, MD)

EB-5 Events
It’s time to sign up for the best EB-5 event of the year: IIUSA 7th Annual EB-5 Regional Economic Development Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. May 7-9, 2014. I look forward to seeing you there! Also notice the IIUSA 2014 Webinar Series, with monthly webinars on topics including industry advocacy, securities laws, due diligence, retrogression, economic impact analysis, EB-5 in the capital stack, adjudication trends, TEAs, I-924a, and escrow and fund administration. The IIUSA webinars last year were substantive and timely, and I look forward to this new series.

EB-5 Statistics
If you’re interested in trends in receipts, approvals, and denials of EB-5 petitions, see: “IIUSA Obtains I-526/829/924 Adjudication Data for FY2013, Releases Comprehensive Dataset (1991-2013).” The FY2013 data shows a growth in receipts over 2012 of 8% for I-526 petitions, 71% for I-829 petitions, and 82% for I-924 applications. USCIS already doubled the number of approved Regional Centers in FY2013 by approving 220 applications, and – unless many of those 436 new I-924s received in 2013 were amendments – RCs will be facing a very crowded field moving forward. We’re on track to hit the annual EB-5 visa allocation cap of around 10,000 based on filings, with the only uncertainty being whether USCIS can manage to process enough I-526s in one year to make that happen (and whether processing times will speed up enough that Chinese investors would even notice being retrogressed). As with most things in EB-5, this issue is complicated. If you want to read more, see “Department of State Predicts EB-5 Visa Retrogression for China” on the EB-5 Insights Blog and “FAQs on EB-5 Quota Backlog” by Ron Klasko.

New AAO Decisions
Since last time I checked, USCIS has uploaded 18 new 2013 AAO decisions on I-525 cases. (May 24 to June 18, and September 23 to November 15). Besides RFEs, which aren’t public, AAO decisions are my best chance to see what’s going on behind the scenes with adjudications and current policy applications. For me, the most interesting decisions in this batch are SEP232013_01B7203, which addresses a Regional Center’s attempt to claim deference to prior approvals, refers extensively to the 5/30 policy memo, and considers what amendments mean; JUN052013_01B7203, which withdraws the director’s assessment of a business plan’s credibility; and MAY242013_01B7203, which discusses which business activities prior to I-526 filing will help the investment to qualify as “fully invested and placed at risk.” Nearly all AAO decisions on I-526 cases include a section on source of funds problems. People involved in that area may particularly want to read JUN182013_03B7203, which goes into detail on what went wrong with a typical China source of funds scenario involving real estate. Or for comedy, you can review MAY242013_02B7203, which treats a petition for investment in a business that will trade in healthcare products and/or operate a restaurant and/or import textiles and/or export fly traps and avocado oil.

New RCs
New entries to USCIS’s Regional Center list 12/30/2013 to 1/22/2014
Live in America-California Regional Center (California)
U.S. Gateway Regional Center, LLC (California)
InvestAmerica EB-5, LLC (Colorado)
My Florida Regional Center, LLC (Florida)
E Development Corporation dba EDC (Guam)
Birch MD BioPark Regional Center (Maryland) USCIS Approval Letter

New RCs (CA, NJ, OR, WA), Processing Statistics

The USCIS Regional Center list has added more new entries, for a total of 49 new centers approved in 2013. Congratulations to Powerdyne for receiving approval of an application filed in May 2012 — comparatively record speed.

California
Powerdyne Regional Center, LLC
http://www.powerdyne.com/
Geographic Area: Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, California
Industry Categories: Boiler, Tank, and Shipping Container Manufacturing (NAICS 3324), Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution (NAICS 2211)
Designation Letter

New Jersey
N U.S. Immigration Fund – NJ, LLC
http://www.visaeb-5.com/
Geographic Area: ?
Industry Categories: ?
Designation Letter: ?

Washington and Oregon
EB5 West LLC
Geographic Area: ?
Industry Categories: ?
Designation Letter: ?

(Note: See my Regional Center directory page for my most updated listings for all RCs. And please email me if you would like to provide additional information regarding your RC.)

As of this week, the approval letters still define the designation by saying: “USCIS approves the applicant’s request to focus, promote economic growth, and offer capital investment opportunities in the following geographic area and industry categories….” I wonder what approval letters will say going forward, now that we have a Policy Memo stating that amendment requests are not necessarily required if investment opportunities arise outside the approved geographic area and industry categories. What if anything defines/limits RC designations now? In his article Key Points from USCIS EB-5 Policy Memo published May 30, 2013, Robert Divine suggests that the new memo brings new value as well as risks to Regional Centers.

IIUSA has obtained statistics for I-526, I-829, and I-924 processing in Q1 and Q2 2013. To summarize:
I-526s: 3,285 received, 1,526 approved, 483 denied
I-829s: 427 received, 467 approved, 24 denied
I-924s (includes amendments and applications for initial designation): 325 received, 65 approved, 13 denied

Processing Backlog, Meeting Summary, Best Practices

The USCIS Processing Time information from the California Service Center shows that as of 4/3/2013, the last I-526 processed had a filing date of 3/16/2012. The Case Status section of the USCIS website illustrates the dire backlog situation for Form I-526.
I526trend
Wow. 5,887 I-526 petitions pending. I’m so glad that I’m not an adjudicator. The trend line for I-829 looks more promising, though still reflecting a significant backlog.
I-829

Thank you to IIUSA for publicizing the processing backlog, as well as the pointing out the Executive Summary of 3/5/2013 CIS Ombudsman EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Stakeholder Meeting. I also recommend IIUSA’s Comments to USCIS on the EB-5 Adjudications Memo, which give a good summary of the hot questions in EB-5.

Thank you also to Catherine Holmes, Victor Shum and Angelique Brunner for an excellent contribution to the effort to define best practices for Regional Centers. See the aricle Protecting the integrity of the EB-5 investment market through the adoption and use of due diligence best practices. So long as you’re on the Hotel Law blog, you may also want to check out their useful posts on SEC compliance, partnering with a Regional Center, and EB-5 investment in an existing business.

FY2012 EB-5 Petition and Visa Statistics

IIUSA has published the EB-5 processing statistics through Q42012 recently released by USCIS to AILA. The report shows that USCIS has been particularly busy with I-526 petitions, of which it received 6,041 and processed an impressive 4,634 in FY2012 (ending 9/30/2012). This year saw a record number of I-526 approvals and a record number of I-924 denials. The approval percentages for investor petitions fell slightly from FY2011, down to 79% for I-526 and 92% for I-829, while approvals for Regional Center applications and amendments tanked to an average 36%.



Source: USCIS

IIUSA has also published FY2012 EB-5 visa statistics released by the US Department of State. These numbers are significant because they show that EB-5 visas are, for the first time, threatening to exceed the annual allocation of about 10,000 visas. The State Department’s Visa Bulletin for December 2012 notes that “It appears likely that a cut-off date will need to be established for the China Employment Fifth preference category at some point during second half of fiscal year 2013. Such action would be delayed as long as possible, since while number use may be excessive over a 1 to 5 month period, it could average out to an acceptable level over a longer (e.g., 4 to 9 month) period. This would be the first time a cut-off date has been established in this category, which is why readers are being provided with the maximum amount of advance notice regarding the possibility.”



Source: IIUSA

IIUSA  has published an article on “THE IMPACT OF CHINESE QUOTA RETROGRESSION ON EB-5 INVESTORS AND EB-5 INVESTMENTS” by Tammy Fox-Isicoff and H. Ronald Klasko.

I also recommend Kate Kalmykov’s blog post on Understanding the Implications of Retrogression in the EB-5 Category and her follow-up post EB-5 Retrogression for China Unlikely in 2013, According to Department of State.

Also note that the State Department website now has an informative EB-5 page.

EB-5 Visa Stats by Country

The U.S. Department of State website has finally published the Report of the Visa Office 2011. The data is old news by now, but I still enjoy looking at the table that details EB-5 visas and status adjustments by country and type of investment. Now we know that in all the world in FY2011, only one Chinese investor and up to four Dutch took advantage of a Regional Center offering at the $1 million level. During the same period, there were over three thousand visas/adjustments in connection with Regional Center TEA/$500,000  investments. Stand-alone (non-Regional Center) EB-5 investments included a relatively large percentage at the $1 million level, with 230 visas associated with investments outside of TEAs as compared with 152 visas associated with TEA/$500,000 investments. Props to the lone Australian who is the only person in all of Oceania to have gotten an EB-5 visa in FY2011, and who didn’t even add spouse/children to the visa count. The total number of EB-5 visas issued nearly doubled between 2010 and 2011 and is projected to nearly double again in 2012 according to a State Department estimate. The annual limit for EB-5 is approximately 10,000 visas (7.1% of the total 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas.) Changing the visa allocation would require an Act of Congress.

The following charts summarize data from the FY2010 and FY2011 reports from the State Department Visa Office as well as the preliminary data for FY2012 reported to AILA in July 2012.

EB-5 visas issued and adjustments of status, by region
FY 2012 as of 06/2012 FY 2011 FY 2010
Asia

4,220

3,035

1,358

Europe

211

289

North America

89

111

South America

82

81

45

Africa

46

58

Oceana

1

24

Grand Total

(Estimate for FY 2012: 6,200)

3,463

1,885

EB-5 visas issued and adjustments of status, by foreign state chargeability
Country FY 2011
China-mainland born

2,408

Korea, South

254

China-Taiwan born

122

Iran

117

Great Britain

57

Mexico

53

Venezuela

46

India

37

Russia

30

Vietnam

26

Canada

26

Netherlands

26

Japan

20

Turkey

20

South Africa

19

Italy

16

Brazil

16

Germany

15

Egypt

12

France

10

All other countries

133

Total

3,463

EB-5 Stats up to Q3 FY2012

USCIS has released EB-5 statistics through the third quarter of FY2012 in advance of  the 7/26 EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement teleconference. Please read the linked document for all the details. A few points of interest to me:

  • Approval rates for I-526 and I-829 have remained fairly high in FY2012 though slightly below the 2011 average (79% approval percentage for I-526 compared to 81% last year, and 94% for I-924 compared to 96% last year)
  • USCIS received 69% fewer I-829 in the first three quarters of 2012 than in the first three quarters of FY2011
  • USCIS received (and also processed) 38% more I-526 in Q1-3 2012 than it did in the first three quarters of FY2011
  • 60% of the I-924 Regional Center applications and amendments processed in Q1-Q3 2012 were denied
  • There are currently 209 approved Regional Centers, up from 174 in FY11, 114 in FY10, 72 in FY09, 25 in FY08, and 11 in FY07.

EB-5 Visa Stats as of 03/2012

The State Department Visa Office has still not released its report for 2011 (and about time, too, since its FY2011 ended last September), but IIUSA has obtained a report on EB-5 visa usage up to 03/2012. IIUSA thoughtfully provides charts that illustrate the increase in visa usage by year and track trends by country. I’m interested to note that Iran and Venezuela have moved into the top five countries by visa usage, and that Chinese nationals continue to dominate the list (accounting for nearly 70% of EB-5 visas issued in 2011 and 2012 to date).

FY12 Q1 EB-5 Statistics

USCIS has released new statistics as part of the presentation for the 1/23 EB-5 Stakeholder Meeting. This data shows us that USCIS has generally liked what it’s seen in I-526 and especially I-829 filings, and has found a lot not to like in recent Regional Center applications and amendments.

Form I-924 (& Pre-I-924) Regional Center Initial Applications

Fiscal Year or Quarter 

Receipts

Approvals

Denials

FY12 Q1

41

14

22

FY11

192

80

51

FY10

110

36

30

  • Note: There are currently 194 approved Regional Centers (RCs), operating in 40 states, including the District of Columbia and Guam. A complete list of approved RCs is also available online at http://www.uscis.gov/eb-5centers

Form I-924 (& Pre-I-924) Regional Center Amendment Requests

Fiscal Year or Quarter 

Receipts

Approvals

Denials

FY12 Q1

17

4

3

FY11

86

43

7

FY10

42

42

11

Form I-526 Petition Final Actions

Fiscal Year and/or Quarter

Form I-526 Approvals

Final Action %

Form I-526 Denials

Final Action %

FY12 Q1

1,076

83%

222

17%

FY11

1,563

81%

371

19%

FY10

1,369

89%

165

11%

FY09

1,262

86%

207

14%

FY08

640

84%

120

16%

FY07

473

76%

148

24%

FY06

336

73%

124

27%

FY05

179

53%

156

47%

  • Note: Approximately 92% of the individual Form I-526 petitions filed each year are filed by Investors who are investing in RC-affiliated commercial enterprises.

Form I-829 Petition Final Actions

Fiscal Year and/or Quarter

Form I-829 Approvals

Final Action %

Form I-829 Denials

Final Action %

FY12 Q1

144

93%

11

7%

FY11

1,067

96%

46

4%

FY10

274

83%

56

17%

FY09

347

86%

56

14%

FY08

159

70%

68

30%

FY07

111

69%

49

31%

FY06

106

64%

59

36%

FY05

184

62%

112

38%

EB-5 Visa Usage

Fiscal Year 

Total EB-5 Visas Issued 

FY12 YTD*

2,364

FY11

3,463

FY10

1,885

FY09

4,218

FY08

1,360

FY07

806

FY06

744

FY05

158

*Estimate of FY12 Visas Issued YTD, reported by the Department of State as of 01/17/2012.

  • Note: This includes visas issued to the investor and dependents. Historically an average of 2.5 visas are issued per principle applicant.

FY 2011 EB-5 Statistics

Here are EB-5 statistics reported in the 9/15/2011 EB-5 Stakeholder’s Meeting Presentation.

Current Regional Center Stats as of 9/15/2011

# of Active Regional Centers 173
# of Pending Initial RC Proposals
# of Pending RC Amendments

Stats on Initial Regional Center Proposal Filings

FY 2010

(Oct 2009 – Sept 2010)

FY 2011 Q1 – Q3

(Oct 2010 – Sept 2011)

# of Initial RC Proposal Filings

110

176
# of Amended RC Proposal Filings 42 73
% of Initial RC Proposals Denied 45% 33%
% of RC Amendments Denied 29% 16%

Statistics I-526 and I-829 Petitions

(Recall that petitions are not necessarily adjudicated in the year in which they are received)

# of I-526 Received # of I-526 Approvals % of I-526 Approved
FY11 Q1 – Q3 2608 999 82%
FY10 1955 1369 89%
FY09 1028 1262 86%
FY08 1257 640 84%
FY07 776 473 76%
FY06 486 336 73%
FY05 332 179 53%
# of I-829 Received # of I-829 Approvals % of I-829 Approved
FY11 Q1 – Q3 1753 426 93%
FY10 768 274 83%
FY09 437 347 86%
FY08 390 159 70%
FY07 194 111 69%
FY06 89 106 64%
FY05 37 184 62%

EB-5 Visa Statistics

Total EB-5 Visas Issued
FY11 Q1 – Q3 3,706*
FY10 1,885
FY09 4,218
FY08 1,360
FY07 806
FY06 744

* preliminary estimate

Note that USCIS did not this time provide numbers for pending applications, and also didn’t report estimated processing times. They are currently revising the formula for calculating processing times (the previous formula estimated time to an adjudicator’s desk, not time to completion). The next CSC processing times report should include the more realistic estimates.

FY 2011 Q1&Q2 EB-5 Statistics

Here are EB-5 statistics reported in the 6/30/2011 EB-5 Stakeholder’s Meeting Presentation.

Current Regional Center Stats as of 6/30/2011

# of Active Regional Centers 147
# of Pending Initial RC Proposals 83
# of Pending RC Amendments 9

Stats on Initial Regional Center Proposal Filings

FY 2010

(Oct 2009 – Sept 2010)

FY 2011 Q1 & Q2

(Oct 2010 – Mar 2011)

# of Initial RC Proposal Filings

110

146
# of Amended RC Proposal Filings 42 55
% of Initial RC Proposals Denied 45% 31%
% of RC Amendments Denied 29% 22%

Statistics I-526 and I-829 Petitions

(Recall that petitions are not necessarily adjudicated in the year in which they are received!)

# of I-526 Received # of I-526 Approvals % of I-526 Approved
FY11 Q1 & Q2 1601 407 81%
FY10 1955 1369 89%
FY09 1028 1262 86%
FY08 1257 640 84%
FY07 776 473 76%
FY06 486 336 73%
FY05 332 179 53%
# of I-829 Received # of I-829 Approvals % of I-829 Approved
FY11 Q1 & Q2 1150 166 86%
FY10 768 274 83%
FY09 437 347 86%
FY08 390 159 70%
FY07 194 111 69%
FY06 89 106 64%
FY05 37 184 62%

USCIS noted that it is still working on a system to distinguish RC from stand-alone filings and that an estimated 90-95% of I-526 petitions are currently associated with Regional Centers.

EB-5 Visa Statistics

Total EB-5 Visas Issued
FY11 Q1 & Q2 2,129*
FY10 1,885
FY09 4,218
FY08 1,360
FY07 806
FY06 744

* preliminary estimate

FY 2011 Q1 EB-5 Statistics

Here are interesting EB-5 statistics presented at the 3/17/2011 EB-5 Stakeholder’s Meeting at the USCIS California Service Center.

Current Regional Center Stats as of 3/17/2011

# of Active Regional Centers 125
# of Pending Initial RC Proposals 156
# of Pending RC Amendments 34

Stats  on Initial Regional Center Proposal Filings

FY 2010
(Oct 2009 – Sept 2010)

FY 2011 Q1
(Oct – Dec 2010)

# of Initial RC Proposal Filings

110

116
# of Amended RC Proposal Filings 42 24
% of Initial RC Proposals Denied 45% 24%
% of RC Amendments Denied 29% 22%

Statistics I-526 and I-829 Petitions

(Recall that petitions are not necessarily adjudicated in the year in which they are received!)

# of I-526 Received # of I-526 Approvals % of I-526 Approved
FY11 Q1 701 190 77%
FY10 1955 1369 89%
FY09 1028 1262 86%
FY08 1257 640 84%
FY07 776 473 76%
FY06 486 336 73%
FY05 332 179 53%
# of I-829 Received # of I-829 Approvals % of I-829 Approved
FY11 Q1 531 39 75%
FY10 768 274 83%
FY09 437 347 86%
FY08 390 159 70%
FY07 194 111 69%
FY06 89 106 64%
FY05 37 184 62%

USCIS noted that it is still working on a system to distinguish RC from stand-alone filings and that an estimated 90-95%  of I-526 petitions are currently associated with Regional Centers.

EB-5 Visa Statistics

Total EB-5 Visas Issued
FY11 Q1 1,421
FY10 1,885
FY09 4,218
FY08 1,360
FY07 806
FY06 744

The presentation notes: “USCIS interprets the set aside of visas to ensure that a minimum of 3,000 visas are available for regional center based applicants. We do not see the set aside as limiting the number of visas that can be granted to regional center based applicants, to the extent that such applicants can be allocated up to 10,000 visas, along with the non-regional center based applicants.”

EB-5 Visa Usage by Country 2010

The U.S. Department of State has published their final visa usage statistics for FY2010. A total of 1,885 EB-5 visas were issued, with the following countries making up the Top 10:

  1. People’s Republic of China (772 or 40.9%)
  2. Republic of South Korea (295 or 15.6%)
  3. Great Britain/Northern Ireland (135 or 7.1%)
  4. Taiwan (94 or 5.0%)
  5. India (62 or 3.3%)
  6. Iran (55 or 2.9%)
  7. Mexico (50 or 2.6%)
  8. Canada (45 or 2.4%)
  9. Russia (41 or 2.2%)
  10. South Africa (34 or 1.8%)

Thanks to Peter Joseph at the IIUSA blog for tabulating these stats from the State Department’s master list. Several points of comparison with visa usage statistics from FY2009:

  • The top four countries by visa usage are the same as in 2009.
  • Iran and South Africa have moved into the top ten, and Mexico has moved up in the list, while Japan and the Netherlands dropped out.
  • USCIS issued 55% more EB-5 visas (4,218) in FY 2009 than in FY2010. According to investigation by IIUSA, this 2009 spike occurred because USCIS expedited EB-5 visa processing in advance of the 2009 program sunset date.
  • Although EB-5 visa issuance was down in 2010, the number of I-526 petitions filed in 2010 increased by 90% compared to the previous year.

New Info from USCIS 12/16 EB-5 Stakeholder Meeting

USCIS has posted a very informative PowerPoint Presentation for the 12/16 EB-5 Teleconference.  Here is an outline of the topics covered.

  • Regional Center Statistics
  • Regional Center Filing Receipts and Final Case Actions FY10
  • EB-5 Individual Petition Filing Receipts for FY05-FY10
  • Form I-526 Petition and Final Actions for FY05-FY10
  • Form I-829 Petition and Final Actions for FY05-FY10
  • EB-5 Visa Usage
  • FY10 EB-5 Visa Usage by Country
  • EB-5 Case Processing
  • EB-5 Data Reporting
  • Up-coming revisions to Form I-526 and I-829
  • EB-5 Staffing Increase at the CSC
  • Future Posting of 2010 EB-5 Training Materials and EB-5 FAQ
  • About Maintaining Jobs in a Troubled Business
  • Issues with Office of Foreign Assets Control and investors from Iran
  • Issue of Sustaining the Capital Investment (new guidance here!)
  • EB-5 Status Issues
  • TEA Issues

Nearly 200 new RC applications/amendments pending?

I just received this sobering update through IIUSA, an EB-5 trade organization:

A CSC Case Officer has reported, via response to the EB-5 Program e-mailbox, that over 100 Regional Center applications/amendments were received by the CSC prior to the 11/23/10 deadline to avoid the new filing fee.

At the 10/14 EB-5 stakeholder’s meeting, USCIS reported 83 RC proposals and 11 amendment requests pending. If these “over 100″ applications received by 11/23 are in addition to those 94 pending, that’s a lot of applications! What is this going to do to processing times? What will happen to the market? We already have over 100 approved regional centers. How many more offerings can the market take? Are there enough wealthy risk-tolerant potential immigrants to go around? I also wonder about the quality of all those proposals rushed in under the deadline. Can I look forward to doing a brisk business in helping people respond to RFEs, or should I retreat to grant-writing assuming an EB-5 bust on the horizon? California Service Center, how would you like to hire an EB-5 business plan expert as an adjudicator? Make me an offer!

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