Forecasting Visa Availability: 5/6 Oppenheim projections and big picture

[Post updated 6/19/2019] Today Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Controls Office at the U.S Department of State, gamely appeared again at IIUSA’s EB-5 Advocacy Conference to discuss EB-5 visa availability.

So far Twitter just reports a few headlines from his talk. India is expected to reach its limit and get a cut-off date by July 2019, and to start FY2020 with a final action date in Summer or Fall of 2017. Rough estimates for visa wait times for I-526 filed today: 16.5 years for China, 8.4 years for India, 7.6 years for Vietnam, and 2.4 years for South Korea. I trust that IIUSA will again support program integrity by publishing a blog post with the detail and slides from Mr. Oppenheim’s talk. When that happens, I’ll update this post with a link. [UPDATE: Here is IIUSA’s post on the Oppenheim presentation, with a link to his slides.] But for the moment, some background and comments on what the estimates do and do not mean.

Future visa wait times rest on several uncertain variables, and thus impossible to calculate with certainty. Mr. Oppenheim has gotten flack for attempting long-range predictions that aren’t and can’t be perfect. But rough headline-making projections serve a purpose: to highlight the existence of real visa availability issues, even if with a significant margin of error.  Hearing “16.5-year wait” at least alerts EB-5 users to a problem with China visa availability, though an accurate year estimate could be longer or shorter depending on which assumptions one chooses to use for the calculation. [I have a request pending with IIUSA to clarify Oppenheim’s assumptions.]

There are two ways to go wrong in interpreting future EB-5 visa wait time estimates. One is to interpret them as some kind of official guarantee, and blindly follow or furiously attack them as such. The other is to dismiss them as mere hot air, conclude that wait time projections are prohibitively complex, and thus disregard wait time as a factor in EB-5 decision-making. Some past EB-5 investors make the first error. Unscrupulous promoters hope that all prospective EB-5 users will make the second error.

In the past I’ve delved into the detail and complications behind EB-5 visa availability, with my 10-tab spreadsheet of data, log of visa allocation statutes, and scenario analysis. But examining the trees can mean losing sight of the forest. So for this post, I want to focus on the solid big picture behind all our varied and flawed attempts to quantify EB-5 wait times in detail.

First, an image to clarify how the EB-5 queue works. It’s the kind of queue where you enter a waiting room, take a number, and sit down to wait, watching a notice board for your number to be announced to show that your turn has come. Meanwhile, other people are also moving through the process and getting their turns and leaving, while others enter, and the notice board updates regularly.

[Image updated 6/19/2019]
In EB-5, the place-holding number is “priority date” – the date of I-526 filing. The notice board is the monthly Visa Bulletin, which signals which priority dates can get service at any given time.

Figure 1 illustrates the stages in the EB-5 process up to conditional permanent residency.

  • Step 1: File I-526. This step initiates the EB-5 process, and assigns a priority date that marks each investor’s place going forward. There is no constraint at this stage; as many people as want to file I-526 can file I-526.
  • Step 2: Waiting for I-526 approval. In principle, I-526 adjudication is first-come-first-served without regard to nationality, but it’s not strictly by priority date. In recent years, most people have waited 1-2 years at this stage. This stage is only constrained by USCIS efficiency in processing petitions. The USCIS Processing Times Report gives a rough indicator of progress in I-526 processing. Step 2 must be completed before the investor can apply for a visa. We have data for I-526 receipts, approvals, and pending petitions at various points in time. (Such data only counts number of principal investors, so need to multiply by an estimated number of family members when making total visa demand estimates.)
  • Step 3: Wait for a fee bill from the National Visa Center (consular processing), and wait for the visa bulletin to indicate that one is qualified to move forward in the process.
  • Step 4 to 5: Investors plus family members can proceed to get green cards through consular processing or I-485 status adjustment once visa numbers are available to them. At this stage, priority date and nationality determine order of service, and the Visa Bulletin announces each month who can proceed. We have data for the number of people waiting at Stage 3-4 from different countries at various points in time. (Such data already counts investors plus spouse and children – don’t multiply by derivatives again or you’ll overcount.)
  • Step 5 has the major process constraint – the annual EB-5 visa quota. The annual limit: about 10,000 total EB-5 visas worldwide, of which at most only about 700 can go to each country other than China, and none to China except what’s leftover from the rest of the world (which has been 4,000 – 9,000 visas in recent years). Steps 3-5 can be less than a year wait for applicants born in countries that are “current” in the Visa Bulletin (not at risk of exceeding the 700/year visa limit). Steps 3-5 involves multi-year waits for applicants born in countries that do exceed the annual quota. The more in excess of the quota, the longer the wait.

Some points that I tried to highlight in Figure 1, to combat misconceptions:

  • The person just entering at Step 1 can look up at the notice boards and see who’s currently getting service. He can see from the current processing times report that most I-526 from before 2017 have already been processed, and from the current visa bulletin that China-born applicants who filed I-526 in October 2014 are now getting green cards. But that’s just info about the end of other peoples’ process — indicating who’s being served now, and how long they waited. It does not look forward to indicate when May 2019 priority dates will be served, or how long the person at Step 1 will wait.  To forecast into the future, and guess about future notice dates, the person in Step 1 needs to look around and forward — at how many other people are entering Step 1 and waiting in Step 2 to Step 4 in front of him. Charles Oppenheim attempts to help with such guesses.
  • Wait times result from backlogs building up against the major constraint in the EB-5 process – the annual visa quota. Unfortunately for efficiency, this constraint is in the last step. To estimate his personal wait time, the person in Step 1 needs to estimate how big the backlog will be once he gets to Step 3. Again, this requires looking around and forward — at how many other people are entering Step 1 and waiting in Step 2 to Step 4 in front of him. The variables are clouded by spotty information and judgment calls, but the equations themselves are simple. If I’m an India-born person in Step 1, then my visa wait = (A) qualified India-born visa applicants with priority dates earlier than mine divided by (B) about 700 visas per year limit. Variable (A) is equal to India-born investors waiting in Step 2 in front of me, minus attrition from I-526 denials and withdrawals, plus family members who will join the approved India-born I-526 in Step 3-4, plus India-born applicants already waiting in Step 3 and 4, minus India-born applicants who will drop out or receive visas during my time in Step 2-4.
  • It’s good to step back sometimes from the confusing variables to the simple equations, as a reminder of the big picture and basic logic of wait times. The basic logic is that visa waits are mainly a function of I-526 volume. Unknowns about future denials and withdrawals and family size and processing times will vary forecast calculations this way and that, but this is sure: a lot of I-526 filings will result in a lot of people eventually ready for a visa. A lot of visa applicants will mean long backlogs and wait times in front of the visa quota constraint. People at the beginning of a surge in I-526 filings will wait less time for a visa than people after a surge.
  • With that in mind, one last figure, the most telling of the numbers in my backlog calculation file. If I were a lawyer counseling EB-5 users about big picture timing issues, I would have them consider the numbers in Table 1. How many investors plus family are likely to end up at Step 5, and when, considering how many investors have started at Step 1? What future wait times are implied in that past demand, considering visa number limits? It’s impossible to look at I-526 numbers and predict exact backlogs and wait times, considering all future variables, but it’s easy to see the general issue. For example, over 700 Vietnamese investors filed I-526 in 2018, and only 700 Vietnamese investors plus their spouses and children can get visas in a year, so Vietnam is clearly looking at a backlog and wait time situation at the visa stage — a situation exacerbated by excess demand in 2016 and 2017 as well. A Vietnamese investor had better not rely too heavily on specific future estimates from Charlie Oppenheim or anyone else, but she can and should have a chance to see the fact and consider the consequences of excess demand.

NOTE: I’ve added a EB-5 Timing page to collect links to data and posts related to EB-5 visa availability, visa allocation, and wait times. If you would like to order a personalized timing estimate, see the EB-5 Timing Estimates Page.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

63 Responses to Forecasting Visa Availability: 5/6 Oppenheim projections and big picture

  1. Sid says:

    Thanks for the update Suzanne – hope we get the official slides soon. In the meantime, some of the key slides were provided in our group: https://t.me/EB5VisaGroup

    While the visa wait time has been mentioned as 8.4 years for India, since we don’t have the underlying data or assumptions such as family multiplier, it’s hard to determine how good the estimate is.

  2. kishor says:

    Oppenheim was either drunk in 2018 and massively under estimated the numbers. fascinating that backlog moved from 5.7 years to 8.4 years in about 6 months. They are royally screwing indians and chinese with this dumb country quota rules.

    • Sid says:

      I think it was based on I-526 applications since which no one can predict.

      • KISHORE says:

        so are you saying that in 6 months they approved about 1300 indian petitions ( assuming 1.5 multiple) in 6 months. Heck the total approvals in Q1 2019 are 1800. Its not possible

        • The main point I tried to make in my post is that EB-5 wait times are primarily a function of I-526 filings. Once someone is in the system with a priority date, Oppenheim and we consider that person’s impact on future wait times. When a large number of people file I-526 at once, they’ll have a large future impact. Don’t focus on I-526 approval rates, which have relatively little impact on the total wait time.

          We’ve had this kind of experience in everyday life — you’re just about to enter a restaurant and then a tour group gets off the bus in front of you and suddenly your wait time changes to an hour. The hostess may take a long or short time checking everyone in, but the main point is that waiting for a table after 40 other people got in the door first takes much longer than getting one before they showed up.

        • Sid says:

          Nope, in 6 months 700 new I-526 applications were filed assuming 3 people were family. Not at all unreasonable.

  3. Eric Yao says:

    According to his slides, the number of Chinese in the line is a little less than 50,000. However, the total number of I-526 petitions between FY 2015 and 2018 is about 35,000. Because the visa cutoff date is September 2014, petitioners since FY 2015 are pretty much the people in the line. Assuming 80% “survival rate” and 3 family size, it’s about 85,000 Chinese in the line.

    Can anybody help explain the 35,000 people or 70% discrepancy?

    • Sid says:

      I think you are correct. The wait for China EB5 applicants applying today is massively underestimated. Realistically, the family size will be less than 3 – lots of children will turn 21 and will age out of their parents application in the next decade.

    • kishore says:

      assuming 4k visas for china per year going forward, it would be at least a 21-22 year wait. i mean time to just have an american kid and have them sponsor you. less risky and guaranteed GC

    • In the slide I saw, the 49,527 number for China specifically represented China-born applicants at NVC plus estimated applicants associated with I-485 on file at USCIS. I wasn’t in the room to hear commentary, but the slide doesn’t say that the number represents the total Chinese wait line. At least the slide doesn’t include these groups: Chinese with I-526 still pending, and Chinese with I-526 approval but not able to file I-485 yet because visa numbers aren’t available. I don’t know how the NVC process works, so not sure whether there’s another group of people with I-526 approval but not yet qualified to be counted as NVC applicants. [Edit: I realize that this comment was incorrect — the slide likely does intend to represent the total wait line. But I have requested clarification from IIUSA — see the email copied in comments below.]

      • Kelly says:

        The number 49537 and 16.5 years for Chinese are wrong. I agree with Kishore, it would be at least a 21-22 year wait.

        To China, 16.5 years and 21 year have totally different meanings. If 16.5 years, agencies still can promote well to those couples with small kids. I saw an EB5 advertisement. It tell potential investors that they can consider EB5 as a long-term US dollar investment, and their little kids can obtain green card many years later. As you know, most Chinese choose EB5 for their kids. If they know the waiting is 21 years or more, their kids will be definitely age out and cannot get green card after years waiting, they will definitely never choose EB5.

        We donot ask for perfect calculation. We only want a relatively meaningful official number and calculation to avoid tragedy. As a past investor, I really donot want to see more new Chinese investors suffer like me. Although, I can calculate by myself after years’ suffering. But new investors will be probably pressured by agencies with Charlie’s calculation. As freshman, who doubt the calculation by Chief of the Visa Controls Office at the U.S Department of State?

        We hope Charlie can correct his calculation.

        • Kelly,
          Thank you for these good points. In my mind, 16.5-years is already so unacceptably long that the difference from 21 years disappears (considering the material change policy and redeployment issue that make any time over about 5 years unacceptable in my view, besides immigration reasons). But your comment clarifies that there is indeed a difference for marketing and investor decisions. I think I know people who can get in touch with Charles Oppenheim to discuss the issue. Why don’t you email me the calculation you use and where you see the fault in CO’s calculation, and I’ll see if we can get a response. If CO’s calculation is not an alternate justifiable one but definitely in error, I think he’ll want to make a public correction. Since there was also widespread question over his calculation 6 months ago, I’m sorry that the people who held the panel this week didn’t ask for clarification.

        • Eric Yao says:

          I think the strategy of many RCs for now is to totally give up the China market. Several reasons: 1. the Chinese market heavily relies on agencies who demand a lot of commission. Investors from other countries tend to be referred by immigration attorneys or middlemen who do not or take less kickbacks. So RCs are making more money per unit. 2. Very long and uncertain wait time – hard to sell in China. 3. They’ve tried and find out it’s not that difficult to get investors from other countries after all, especially when other types of immigration visas are getting more difficult to obtain.

          While these are all understandable business reasons, the RCs should not forget their existing Chinese investors. After all, it was the misled Chinese investors who made them rich. The RCs still have a fiduciary duty to their existing investors.

          Many RCs, however, forget about their past clients. They want to keep the Chinese investors’ money forever, even though the investors are no longer pursing green-card. They say USCIS is the bad guy, who may deny the remaining investors’ petitions if the RC “promises” to return money to Chinese investors in five years, ignoring the fact that USCIS has never denied one single petition from remaining investors if the RC returns money to Chinese investors at the time of the redeployment who no longer want the greencard. This is a ridiculous excuse but it was brought up by “reputable” immigration attorneys and all the sudden the greedy RC becomes innocent – “we feel so sympathetic to you but I am sorry we are dealing with a government agency whose redeployment policy is not clear”.

          They need to realize that with a 20 + year wait time, the only investment goal of the investors is to get their money back as soon as possible. Forcing investors who do not want greencard to reinvest their money is a crime and is being cursed by hundrends of thousands of other fellow human beings. Perhaps they do not care about the curse because nothing other than losing money would make them feel guilty. They live this life happily and that’s it.

          • Kelly says:

            Suzanne,

            Thanks for your reply. I have sent you email yesterday about Chinese Visa backlog calculation. Please kindly check it.

            I agree with Eric. Another reason for correcting calculation is for past investors to fully understand our status quo and make right decisions. Although Different families have different decisions, whether get money back to stop loss or keep going with redeployment. Every family need the reasonable calculation to make their own decision and Charlie’s number means more authoritative to them.

            In my mail, assuming 3k visas for china per year going forward, Chinese investor with PD 2019 Q1 need to wait 32 years. Assuming 4k visas for china per year going forward, Chinese investor with PD 2019 Q1 need to wait 24 years. Like potencial investor, most past investors choose EB5 for their kids. The aging-out year means a lot to us.

            For the number 49537, Charlie probably miss the Chinese persons who have got I526 approval but havenot been into NVC. So the waiting year 16.5 years forecasted basing on 49537 is not right.

            Thanks.

  4. Terrance P Kelley says:

    This is a depressing report. Can’t get mad at the USCIS, they don’t make the law, Congress does.

  5. Daniel Shires says:

    Suzanne, was there any discussion of the big slowdown in I829 petitions at the IPO? Thank you!

    • I wasn’t present at the meeting, but will let you know if I see any reports. The latest processing update and petition data reflect a big slowdown across the board at IPO, with I-526 as well as I-829. Not sure why.

    • ksihor says:

      they have diverted the resources from 829 to 526 as of last year. So there is probably 1 adjudicators for 829 at this time. Meanwhile they have also slowed down 526 processing. So nothing is moving in this administration .

  6. Lucy says:

    Hi Susan, what’s your view on the HR 1044 bill? Any chance of passing?

    • I am not close to the politics of immigration, so not the best person to ask. My view as a non-expert who just reads the news is that any immigration bill that’s not dealing with boarder security and DACA is unlikely to go anywhere until after those issues have been handled.

    • kishore says:

      no immigration bill has passed in this country for 25 years. i will leave it there

    • Sid says:

      Practically zero chance. Indian eb 2/3 have been hoping for this for decades. Same thing happens every few years – people get their hopes up and then nothing happens. Immigration is too much of a hot potato that no one in Congress wants to compromise. Betting websites but the probability of 1044 passing at 7% but it’s likely lower now.

  7. Otha says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Great work as usual on keep us update. I’m an Indian and filed my petition on December 5th 2017. Do you think I will be able to obtain my conditional GC by the end of the year? If not, could you provide as estimate as to when I’m likely to receive the CGC? I’m a bit too unsophisticated to understand these timelines.

    Many thanks in advance!

    Otha

    • Otha,
      My quick guess, based on a 4/2018 visa wait estimate by Oppenheim and info from USCIS on I-526 by priority date pending on 10/2018, is that you may receive a green card 3-4 years after your priority date (mid 2021). But if much depends on the timing, you’ll want to put more thought into the question. Maybe I’ll start some kind of consulting service for estimating wait times for specific scenarios with more precision, as it takes a lot of time to select the best inputs and think through the factors for any given date.

    • kishore says:

      no chance at all. only possibility on 526 approval is a possibility to file AOS and get EAD/AP

  8. Harry says:

    Hi Otha, Did you received your I-526 approval & if yes, when, as that is first step in the process.

    • Otha says:

      Harry, I have not received my approval yet. Assuming I get my approval in December of 2019, I’m trying to figure out an approximate timeline from there that it would take to get my CGC.

  9. Shim says:

    Hi Suzzane, thank you for sharing the info! I am an Indian with priority date September 2016. Do you think I will be able to get my conditional GC by October or November 2019? I have not received approval yet but my legal team says currently my case just got assigned to one of the officers.

    • kishore says:

      you will be fine. you should get GC this year once 526 is approved

    • S R says:

      Shim, Glad to see progress on your case. Would you mind sharing the tips on How are you getting the progress updates on your case….. “my legal team says currently my case just got assigned”…. We are in the same bucket but we are completely blind-sighted… Is there a trick to getting to know the internal office view other than the robotic responses “under processing”… Appreciate if you can share anything that might help us all…

  10. TEMPORARY WORKER (H) says:

    Hi Suzzane, Great Article as always, I applied for AOS on Feb-13th 2019 and did my finger prints on March 28th, got my EAD/AP on April 4th, what are my chances of getting CGC ( Indian Born) ??

  11. How are Direct Investor EB-5 seekers from Nigeria and Pakistan effected by the quotas and backlogs.?

    • People born in Nigeria and Pakistan aren’t affected at all by backlogs until EB-5 becomes so popular in those countries that demand exceeds the annual per-country quota of about 700. There’s some risk that could happen when annual I-526 filings exceed about 200 per year, but historically Nigeria and Pakistan have had fewer than 100 (and usually, fewer than 50) I-526 filed per year.

  12. Sam says:

    Hi Suzanne, I filled my I-526 in October 2017, and I’m from the UK. I invested with a RC and recently heard from my lawyer that the project I invested in hasn’t had any movement from USCIS yet. When could I expect to receive I-526 approval?

  13. Corrine says:

    Hi,suzanne, I remember you said that you lived in Beijing for a while and understood Chinese, so I won’t translate it. Please read this article when you have time. https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/r3trigrtW9eD4NNHW5DXng

    This article is an analysis of Charlie’s question about the backdating of Chinese visa for 16 years and is made by the most professional practitioners in the eb-5 industry in China.

    Charlie’s statistics don’t change the facts, although I agree that most investors are naive and don’t have the quality to invest in eb-5. But they have the right to know relatively reliable waiting times, and the right to rearrange their families and their future lives.

    We respect you very much. Although we have different positions and views, I understand your intention to love and maintain the eb-5 industry. We want you to understand that for investors, they just want to decide their future under a clear and transparent policy, and people are always afraid of the unknown.

    The quality of doubt facing Chinese investors today is the same as it is for investors in Vietnam, India, or any other country that has or will have a listing. Is Charlie going to keep perfunctory? No one in industry want to talk with Charlie whether his calculation is rational?

    An investor emailed Charlie, and Charlie does not think his own counting is wrong. Charlie think it is ridiculous to say there are 100000 Chinese persons waiting. After I526 approval, the case move to NVC. Although NVC and IPO are two different departments, according to the Ratio and I526 application data from USCIS, Why Charlie consider the number 100000 Chinese persons ridiculous? More than 30000 Chinese familes are waiting. If using the family ratio 2.85, excluding future withdraw and ageout, why the waiting Chinese in person cannot be 100000?

    Please listen to the recording of the IIUSA conference. In the 18th minute, Charlie answered Robert’s question. He said that he used the historical coefficient and did not calculate the data of the investor’s withdrawal loss during the waiting time.

    Thank you for your professionalism and patience.

    • Kelly says:

      According to Charlie’s PPT, there are only 49537 Chinese person waiting. So 49537/3000=16.5 years

      According to IIUSA Conference voice recording, Charlie’s 49537 person didnot exclude future withdrawal or aging-out.

      It is so obvious that 49537 is wrong. Why Charlie didnot admit it? I was shocked and disappointed to know from Wechat group yesterday that Charlie told one Chinese investor it is funny to say there are 100000 Chinese persons waiting.

      Why is it so difficult to just tell truth? It is just primary school maths. Although Chinese appilcation is reducing fastly. According to the new application number, new Chinese investors filings are still more than other single country. 16.5 years still leave Chinese market room to sell. The truth 30 years will definitely kill Chinese market. It is hard to let us not doubt that it is in order to keep selling in China.

      16.5 years and 30 years are not same to us. We need truth.

      • houston says:

        there are a lot of people get I526 approval but the case do not move to NVC yet. Charlie do not count that

        • Corrine and Kelly,
          FYI I’m copying below the text of an email I sent to IIUSA, and the initial response. I’m not sure why I’m the one to fight this battle, considering that this blog is a sideline for me and I don’t even make enough money from EB-5 to be an IIUSA member myself or attend the conferences and hear the presentations. But I can work in honor of five years of people being nice to me when I lived in China, and the four (update: now seven — thank you!) Chinese people who have ever made a PayPal contribution to my work on this blog.

          From: suzanne@lucidtext.com
          Sent: May 15, 2019 12:26 PM
          To: ‘McKenzie Penton’
          Cc: [redacted]
          Subject: Oppenheim estimates for China

          McKenzie,

          There is a lot of confusion and backlash around Charlie Oppenheim’s China wait time predictions, and I hope that IIUSA can take leadership in getting a few points publicly clarified for the sake of (1) protecting Charlie from being hassled one by one by 40,000+ Chinese applicants (I hear the emails have already started) and (2) taking a stand for program integrity and against the conspiracy theory that the EB-5 industry is intentionally and maliciously blurring calculations and underestimating the wait line.

          Here are the questions that I suggest IIUSA should confirm with Charlie about the China estimate, and publish the answers:
          1. Clarifications regarding Slide 10 from the IIUSA presentation (attached)
          a. What does “Actual Number of Applicants at NVC” refer to exactly? Documentarily qualified at NVC? Or a wider group?
          b. What does “DoS Estimated Number of Applicants with Petition on File at USCIS” refer to exactly? Data from USCIS on pending I-526 petitions (how many?) times DoS’ assumption (what number?) about derivatives, plus data from USCIS on applicants recorded on pending I-485 petitions for EB-5 (times any DoS adjustments?)?
          c. Where, if at all, does this category get calculated in Slide 10: investors with I-526 approval but far from a visa number, and thus not yet qualified at NVC or on a filed I-485 with derivatives. If such people aren’t accounted for in the “Estimated Grand Total,” why not? Assuming that this group is significant to the waiting line and total wait time, can DoS attempt to estimate it and update estimates accordingly?
          d. Is the equation behind Charlie’s current China wait time estimate indeed 49,527/3,000=16.5, calculating from the “Estimated Ground Total” in Slide 10?
          2. Can Charlie comment on the calculation in Slide 10 in light of number of I-526 filed by China-born people? We know from data FOIAed from USCIS by IIUSA that there have been approximately 36,000 I-526 filed by China-born since FY2015, and none of these would have resulted in visas yet per the visa bulletin. Estimated total applicants/original I-526 filings = Estimated final applicants per original I-526. In numbers: 49,527/36,000=1.38. So if Charlie’s “Estimated Grand Total” were correct, then each China I-526 would have yielded just 1.38 people waiting for a visa on average – a strikingly low number, considering historical average denial rates and historical average 2.7 visas per principal. The number of I-526 filings in that equation is a given, so we’re left wondering whether the applicant figure is underestimated. If it isn’t, we need to know so as to deal with the result: an applicants/filings multiplier that reflects or assumes a huge number of withdrawals/abandonments/age-outs/future denials and revocations.
          Look forward to a clarifying IIUSA blog post coming soon!

          Suzanne Lazicki
          Lucid Professional Writing
          (626) 660-4030
          http://lucidtext.com/

          ———————————
          From: McKenzie Penton
          Sent: May 15, 2019 12:54 PM
          To: Suzanne Lazicki ; Lee Li
          Cc: [Redacted]
          Subject: Re: Oppenheim estimates for China

          Suzanne,

          Thank you for the email. I am copying in Lee Li from our team who is best versed to address these questions. Lee worked directly with Charlie on the presentation and subsequent IIUSA analysis. It certainly seems like there is a need for a more in-depth analysis and clarification on a few points here. Lee is currently in China (likely fielding many of the same questions in person) but he will respond to you as soon as he is available. We will also work to ensure we provide industry stakeholders answers to these pressing concerns.

          It is always our intention to ensure the industry (and investors) have the correct data to ensure they are able to succeed in the marketplace (and make sound investing decisions). We of course must ensure everyone has the correct data and do not in any way want to be perceived as supplying misleading information.

          Best Regards

    • Corrine, I read the article you linked, and agree with much of what the author says, and his method of focusing on I-526 filings (which is also where I start now for my calculations, instead of trying to count people at each step). In my opinion, where the author goes wrong is to conflate two objectives: (1) showing that Charlie is wrong, and (2) calculating an actual wait time for practical reference. For the sake of the first objective, the author makes his alternate calculation within the same constraints that Charlie used, disregarding variables such as dissipation from petition revocations, age-outs, withdrawals, etc. But those variables are extremely pertinent to the wait times that will actually occur. It’s not plausible that every I-526 approved for China investors since 2015 will result in 3 people still around and qualified and waiting for an EB-5 visa 10+ years from now. But that’s the assumption in the author’s Table A and Table B. The author rightly points out the need for realistic estimates for the sake of investors planning their lives, and media fueling headlines that could shape policy. But the author does not point out the missing attrition variables that likely make his 30-year estimate as dramatic an overestimate, in practice, as Oppenheim’s may be an underestimate. See also my email in the comment above aiming to clarify a few points that I think may be misunderstood in the Oppenheim slides.

      • Corrine says:

        Hi Suzanne, thank you for listening and understanding. As an independent and objective business plan author, your expertise is godlike to everyone in the eb-5 industry.

        • Kelly says:

          Hi Suzanne, thanks for your patience and professionalism. EB5 industry is lucky to have you. Your independent and objective analysis help recollect investors’ trust towards the industry. Thank you.

  14. tpk129 says:

    The USCIS doesn’t know when you’re going to get your green card….neither does you immigration attorney!

    What do you suppose is going to happen to wait times if the minimum investment requirements are increased per the proposed regulations? The EB-5 program will probably see less than 200 applicants a year world wide….how will this impact the Chinese and Vietnamese waiting in line? So what impact would this have on someone with a wait time projected to be 16.5 years? Don’t forget to factor in people withdrawing from the program, Regional Center projects going bust, and children aging out. You know the number has to get better, but by how much? You don’t know!

    The variables are many and those that want definitive answers for something that isn’t going to happen until years in the future are going to be disappointed.

    Too many factors beyond the USCIS control impact the wait times and caution is advised when complaining about their representatives doing the best they can in front of industry groups. Doubtful they have an obligation to provide this information and at some point they could will grow tired of the abuse and say…”no comment”…and break off dialogue on the subject completely.

    • Kelly says:

      I agree with you about the variable factors, which will make backlog get better or worse. There might also be a factor that Chinese will be left 0 visa one day in future because of country cap. Due to Chinese Student Protection Act of 1992, Chinese investors have no 700 visas per year. If other countries are all together reaching 10000 visas, Chinese have no visa left, and have to wait for life time.

      However, what we talk about here is not future variable factors, but that current exitting number are wrong. Charlie clearly said at IIUSA meeting that, his number are not considering future variable factors, for example the future withdrawal or aging-out. If so, 49537 is wrong. His calculation is basing on a wrong number not an unpredictable number. Wrong is different from unpredictable.

      If future is unpredictable, please just show the current correct data and calculation logic, different people will come to different conclusion for themselves. Why giving a wrong data?

      I donot know whether they have an obligation to provide waiting year information. However, providing wrong information is another thing, which is unacceptable, right?

      • tpk129 says:

        Is there really a difference in the whole scheme of things if the number is 49,537…or 55,637 or 37,637? Any of them still present a long term wait and won’t have any better chance of being the right indicator of the future. There is nothing that an individual can do today to shorten the wait time for the EB-5 green card…Congress can change the law, but this isn’t on anyone’s radar at the moment.

        Enjoy life as it exists today and good things will come in the future. Not sure why one would want to ruin any days of one’s life with anxiety over something they have no control over.

        • Kelly says:

          Your saying is like those Chinese EB5 agencies, who tell us to forget investing 500,000 dollars and enjoy life.

          49,537 and 100,000 make a huge difference to investors who are in the waiting line. Now It means a lot to decide whether withdraw or continue to redeploy. If you consider investor who look for truth and donot want to be misled as ruining other’s life, I have nothing to say. Ruin whose life? Those who misled us?

          • tpk129 says:

            I think you have misunderstood my point. The data put out by the USCIS isn’t going to change things…so if it 30,000 or 50,0000, it is still a long wait and there isn’t anything that is going to change that.

            You have every right to be upset with the EB-5 agencies, immigration lawyers, and the Regional Centers who you invested with. They knew there wasn’t enough spots for all the investors they were taking into the deals. They misled you, not the USCIS. They’re the ones that made money in the transaction, not the U.S. government.

            The same thing is happening in India as we speak and it appears no one has learned their lessons. Don’t remember if it is this blog or another that spoke to the fact that developers were saying they have 200 Indians signed up for a deal, another says they have 150, and a third saying they have 100. Well extrapolating these figures yields 1,350 Indians who will be looking for their green cards real soon…and this is just from three deals…nearly 2 years worth of quota. Developers are generous with their hyperbole so it is doubtful that they’re telling the truth…but they’re talking a good game….and the 2.5 year wait time increase for India bears this out.

          • kishore says:

            there is no point countering tpk129. He is just a messenger. Chinese and Indians are screwed in Eb5 and EB2. China should be happy they are getting 3000 visas. if ROW picks up they will only end up getting 696 visas per year that will make the wait time to 150 years.

  15. happy says:

    I-829 receipt is valid for 1 year for traveling out side USA. Can I get re-entry permit (I-131)for 2 years, I received I-829 receipt last week but want to travel out side USA more than 1 year?

  16. SL says:

    Suzzane, any insights into the insane processing times for I-526 (29 to 45.5 months)?

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