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:
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.