EB-5 immigration: The Countries With the Most EB-5 Investors

eb5 immigration

The EB-5 Investor Visa Program was established in 1991 to encourage foreign nationals to invest in the United States, and by doing so, stimulate the economy and create jobs for US citizens and lawful permanent residents. In exchange for this investment, the foreign investor will become eligible to receive U.S. green cards for themselves, their spouses, and children under the age of 21.

Qualified foreign nationals from any country can apply for the EB-5 Investor Visa. There are no restrictions based on nationality, although there is a yearly cap on the number of EB-5 visas issued to each country each year. The United States allocates 10,000 visas for EB-5 investors and their family members each year. Each country is limited to seven percent of the total numbers of EB-5 visas available, plus access to the unused visa quotas from other countries.

EB-5 immigration From Mainland China

The demand for EB-5 visas for investors from mainland China is greater than the yearly number of visas allocated to the country for EB-5 immigration. This means that it now takes significantly longer for an applicant from mainland China to receive an EB-5 visa than for a foreign national from another country.

Despite this, China has had the largest participation in the EB-5 visa program over the last five years. Approximately, 85% of all EB-5 visas granted over the past five years went to investors from mainland China.

EB-5 Immigration From Asia

Overall, foreign nationals from Asia have benefitted the most from EB-5 immigration. Between 2012 and 2014, Asian countries represented four of the top five countries with the highest number of investors receiving EB-5 visas. Currently, all top five are Asian countries.

The following nations routinely occupy the top spots when it comes to EB-5 immigration:

1.Mainland China;
3.South Korea; and

Foreign nationals from Hong Kong, India, and Vietnam have also been flocking to the EB-5 visa program. These three nations have experienced noticeable increases in the number EB-5 visas granted to their citizens over the last two years. Among non-Asian countries, a comparable trend has also been observed for EB-5 applicants from Brazil and Egypt.

EB-5 immigration From Iran

Iran, which between 2012 and 2014 ranked in the top five, has seen a steady decline in the number of EB-5 visas granted to their citizens over the past two years. In 2016, Iranians received only 28 EB-5 visas, compared to the 82 visas it received at its peak in 2013. A comparable trend can be seen with Japan, which received 70 EB-5 visas at its peak in 2013, but only received 25 last year.

EB-5 immigration From Non-Asian Countries

When it comes to non-Asian nations, Great Britain and Ireland share rank #7 for receiving the most EB-5 visas in 2016. Each nation had 25 EB-5 visas granted, twice as many as they received in 2014. Russia, Brazil, and Egypt are not far behind.

Contact an Experienced EB-5 Immigration Lawyer

Until a couple of years ago, the 10,000 visas allocated to the EB-5 program were enough to meet demand. But with the recent continued increase in demand from China, 10,000 visas are no longer sufficient. This means that the total wait time for applicants from China to be issued an EB-5 visa is currently approximately 4 years and getting longer.

For this reason, it is extremely important to obtain expert advice and to plan ahead. If you are looking to immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 program, consult with one of our experienced EB-5 Immigration lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP. We particularly urge mainland Chinese-born EB-5 investors to obtain expert advice so your EB-5 application can be filed as soon as possible, securing your position in the EB-5 quota line.

Telephone: (949) 383-5358       Email: info@hirson.com       Website: www.hirson.com


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Update to USCIS Policy Manual – At-Risk Sustainment and Redeployment

EB-5 investment

On June 14, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released a revised version of its Policy Manual with edits made to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor section (https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume6-PartG.html). The focus is on clarifying the definition of “sustainment” of EB-5 investment. This is of particular importance to Mainland Chinese EB-5 investors who face a very extended time period for the complete EB-5 process due to the visa backlog

The following is a brief summary and commentary on the changes:

1.Definition of “Period of Sustainment”

While EB-5 investors must sustain their investment in an entity that uses the funds to create at least 10 full-time jobs per investor, the investment must also be maintained for the 2 years of conditional permanent residency. In other words, the investment must be sustained exactly from the date that an EB-5 investor begins conditional permanent residency to 2 years later (the date that the investor’s Form I-829 petition is due). The clarification made by USCIS regarding the “period of sustainment” appears to allow repayment to investors can be made as soon as the 2-year conditional period of residency is over, so long as the job creation requirements have also been met.


In the event that a project has completed its plans to fulfill EB-5 job creation requirements but investors still need to fulfill the period of sustained investment (as explained in point 1 above), a project/Job Creating Entity (JCE) may return the EB-5 funds to the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) to be redeployed into another at-risk venture that falls within the scope of the NCE’s business. I-526 petitions may still be pending adjudication at this point, investors may still be waiting for an EB-5 visa number to become available, and/or conditional residency may not yet have started or finished.

Unfortunately, USCIS has left a lot of ambiguity as to how redeployment is to be accomplished in actual EB-5 practice. We will have to see how USCIS adjudicates projects that didn’t include plans for redeployment in the original offering documents, or have redeployment plans which include mutual funds of publicly traded stocks, or how much detail needs to be included in redeployment plans (to avoid material change).

3.Effect of Regional Center Terminations on EB-5 Petitions

If RC termination happens before conditional permanent residency, it likely will be a material change. If afterwards, the investor may still be able to file an I-829 petition.

For I-526 petitioners: If a regional center is terminated prior to the start of an investor’s conditional residence, the I-526 petition will be denied or revoked based upon material change of the regional center. This affects those investors who received I-526 approval but were still waiting for their EB-5 visa.
For I-829 petitioners: If a regional center is terminated after the start of an investor’s conditional residence, the investor may continue their EB-5 process and file an I-829 petition based upon jobs created by the project.

These latest updates to the USCIS Policy Manual are important to understand and will most likely help to improve the EB-5 Program in the long-run. At present though, we must hope for more clarity to come through USCIS’ adjudications of cases in the near future.

For more information or answers to your specific circumstances, please contact our experienced EB-5 team.

Telephone: (949) 383-5358    Email: info@hirson.com       Website: www.hirson.com