EB-5 Visa Quotas in 2021

EB-5 Visa Quotas Almost Double in 2021, Potentially Benefiting India, China, Vietnam

The number of EB-5 visas available to investors is set to almost double in the coming year – a peculiar side-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

EB-5 is an employment-based US immigrant visa. The number of employment-based immigrant visas available each year is limited to 140,000. However, this is topped up if there are any unused family-based visas from the previous year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented number of unused family-based visas. The closure of US embassies and the temporary suspension of various visa categories have had a significant impact.

This means there is a large number of visas that can be carried over from the family-based allocation to the employment-based one. The October Visa Bulletin puts this at 121,500 visas.

When added to the 140,000 visas, this means that 261,500 employment-based visas are available for the fiscal year 2021, which runs from October 2020 to September 2021.

What does this mean for EB-5?

As the acronym suggests, EB-5 is the fifth employment-based visa category. It targets foreign investors with an offer of permanent residency (Green Card) for a $900,000 investment that creates ten American jobs in a Targeted Employment Area. Learn more.

EB-5 is limited to 7.1% of the total employment-based visas available in any given year. Normally this is almost 10,000 visas, but in the bumper FY2021 this will jump to 18,566 visas.

18,566 EB-5 Visas Available in FY2021

Each country is subject to an annual cap. No country can exceed more than 7% of the total EB-5 visas available. This is determined by country of birth (unlike the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which takes account of country of current citizenship see: E-2 plus Citizenship by Investment)

Normally, that means each country is subject to an annual quota of around 700 visas. Note: that the number of visas does not equate to the number of applications. A single application and investment can cover the applicant, a spouse, and dependant children under 21. Each individual would be counted separately in terms of visas but together as one in terms of applications.

The 2021 rollover means 1299 visas available to each country in this fiscal year. While most countries don’t come close to this annual limit, three countries are or have been severely impacted by this: India, China and Vietnam.

EB-5 Country Quota of 1300 in FY2021

Demand for EB-5 visa from these three countries is especially high and has often exceeded supply. This is a result of their large populations and historically high levels of interest in emigrating to the United States.

When demand exceeds supply, the countries enter what is called visa retrogression and applicants face a waiting list. How this work in practice is detailed on our visa bulletin blog.

With more visas available, there is opportunity for China and Vietnam to make greater inroads into the current backlogs. This would significantly reduce waiting times. India has not faced retrogression since July, but it had been teetering close to a return to waiting list. The risk of retrogression would recede.

India and China also face visa retrogressing in other employment-based visa categories, including EB-1 for people with extraordinary ability and EB-3 for highly skilled workers. The waiting times in both these visa categories may also fall.

Ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic

Caveats remain. An increase in visa availability would need to be matched by an administrative capacity to cope. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing, it is unlikely that business-as-usual will resume anytime soon.

This may mean that India, Vietnam and China are unable to make full use of the extra visa availability in 2021. Any unused visas would not be rolled over again.

Yet, the ongoing pandemic may also mean that family-based visas will not use up their full allocation in 2021 either. This portends further rollovers into the employment-based visa categories in 2022.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


November Visa Bulletin Analysis for EB 5 Investor Visa

November Visa Bulletin Analysis

The Department of State has issued the November visa bulletin showing little movement for Chinese- and Vietnamese- born EB-5 investor visa applicants continuing to face delays. All other countries remain “current” for EB-5, meaning there is no waiting list for a Green Card.

India has been “current” since July, but retrogression delays may return because demand for EB-5 has been consistently high in recent years. Indians planning an EB-5 petition should consider acting while the country is current. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has changed the way it sequences EB-5 applications to benefit countries that are current over countries facing retrogression delays.

The Final Action Date for Vietnam crept forward two weeks to August 15, 2017, while China remained unchanged at August, 15 2015. The Final Action Date refers to whether there is expected to be a visa available within a quota system (or visas – plural – depending upon how many family members are included in the application).

The date in question here is the priority date. This is the date that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services received your initial EB-5 petition (I-526).

Visa availability is determined by a country quota. As with all the employment-based immigrant visa categories, no country is permitted more than 7 percent of the total visas available in any given year (approximately 10,000 for EB-5).

In the case of EB-5 that is just over 700 visas, determined by the primary applicant’s country of birth.

Visa Bulletin Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Categories

The visa bulletin also includes a Date for Filing. This refers to when you can submit your visa application to the National Visa Center, even though there might not yet be a visa available. For applicants outside the US, this additional date provides some extra notice to prepare the application documentation. For applicants inside the US adjusting their status, they may be able to apply for a work permit based on the Date for Filing.

Most countries have current filing dates, with the sole exception of China, which has a Date for Filing four months sooner than its Final Action Date.

Visa Bulletin Date for Filing for Employment-Based Categories

The EB-5 program provides the opportunity to obtain Green Cards for a $900,000 investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) in the United States. The investment must sustain ten American jobs. Outside of these TEAs, the required investment is $1.8 million. A single application can cover the primary applicant, a spouse, and any children under the age of 21.

EB-3 Visas – Permanent Residency for Skilled Workers

China and India remain in visa retrogression in the EB-3 visa category for highly-skilled workers. The EB-3 visa is similar to the H-1B visa which is especially popular in India. However, as an immigrant visa, the EB-3 offers permanent residency whereas the H-1B visa does not. H-1B is renewable up to a limit of six years, after which the holder needs to explore alternatives like EB-3 and EB-5, or leave the country.

The Date for Filing is significantly more recent than the Final Action Date for Indians in particular. This time gap has implications for certain applicants’ ability to work in the United States. This relates to people already in the US seeking adjustment of status. If you are in this position, we advise you to speak with one of our attorneys.

EB-1 Visas

Similarly, people born in India and China are the only two groups facing delays in the EB-1 visa category. The EB1-A visa targets individuals with extraordinary abilities in their field, the EB1-B visa targets academics, and the EB-1C visa is for multinational managers and executives.

People faced with retrogression in these categories should contact us. There are non-immigrant counterparts that are not subject to quotas and could provide a pathway to these immigrant (permanent residency) categories at a later stage. The EB1-C, for example is similar to the non-immigrant L-1 visa, and the EB1-A is similar to the non-immigrant O-1 visa.

Non-immigrant status has advantages to people who do not wish to obtain permanent residency. For example, US permanent residents are liable for tax on income earned outside the US. This does not apply to non-immigrant visas. People seeking permanent residency are encouraged to arrange a consultation with our tax attorney as early in the process as possible.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Tax Planning for US Immigration

Podcast: Tax Planning for the American Dream

When we first start thinking about moving to the United States, tax is not always uppermost in our minds. But as Global Tax Counsel Gary Kaufman explains in this podcast, it is vital to start planning your tax position from the earliest stages of the process.

In this podcast we cover tax as it relates to the two types of US immigration – immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas.

Immigrant visas refer to programs like the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa and the EB-1A and EB-1C visas for extraordinary talent and business leaders respectively. Immigrant visas offer permanent residency status in the United States (Green Cards). Permanent residents are taxed on worldwide income, so it is vital to consider your entire global asset base, and to understand whether the countries in which you hold assets have a tax treaty with the United States.

We also cover non-immigrant visas in the podcast. Non-immigrant visas do not confer permanent residency, however there will still be tax considerations for any earnings made inside the United States.

Many of our non-immigrant visa clients move to America for the purposes of starting or acquiring a business. This can be achieved through the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, or by setting up a US office of your existing company through the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. In the podcast, Gary explains the importance of structuring the business correctly from a tax perspective at the outset.

Many of our non-immigrant visa clients eventually wish to transition to a Green Card. There are multiple ways to achieve this, and anyone interested should speak to one of our immigration attorneys.

Contact Gary gkaufman@usimmigrationadvisor.com

This podcast is produced for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Thẻ xanh “dương”: Câu trả lời của Châu Âu đối với Thẻ xanh “lá” của Hoa Kỳ

By Matteo Tisato & Simon Nguyen

Trong những tháng qua, thế giới phải đối mặt với tình huống khó khăn do đại dịch CoVid 19 bùng phát ảnh hưởng nghiêm trọng đến đời sống và kinh tế của các quốc gia.

Trong khi đó, ngày 22 tháng 6 năm 2020, Tổng thống Donald Trump vừa ký sắc lệnh tạm thời ngừng cấp các visa không định cư cho công dân ngoài Hoa Kỳ như L1, H-1B, H4, L, etc. cho đến cuối năm nay (31 tháng 12 năm 2020). Điều này đã ảnh hưởng quan trọng đến mong muốn đến Hoa Kỳ làm việc và sinh sống của đa phần người Việt.

Tuy nhiên, một số thị thực được quan tâm nhiều như thi thực Đầu tư Hiệp ước E2 không bị ảnh hưởng bởi sắc lệnh trên. Điều này như một minh chứng cho thấy sức hút của thị thực E2 đối với các nhà đầu tư về tính ổn định và các lợi ích khác của nó.

Tuy nhiên, vẫn còn có một số lựa chọn di trú đến những quốc gia khác ngoài Hoa Kỳ thu hút không ít nhà đầu tư trên khắp thế giới như các quốc gia Châu Âu.

Trong vài ngày qua, các văn phòng của chúng tôi ở London, Rome và Florence đã nhận được một lượng lớn các cuộc gọi từ khắp nơi trên thế giới từ những người tìm kiếm thông tin về con đường họ có thể làm việc và cư trú hợp pháp ở châu Âu. Chúng tôi nhân cơ hội này để cung cấp cái nhìn rõ nét về “Thẻ xanh” của châu Âu, được tạo ra với mục đích đặc biệt để biến châu Âu trở thành điểm đến hấp dẫn hơn cho các công dân không thuộc EU/EEA có trình độ cao. Ủy ban châu Âu đã chọn tên ‘thẻ xanh dương” như dấu hiệu cho những người nhập cư tiềm năng rằng thẻ xanh dương là lựa chọn thay thế của châu Âu cho thẻ xanh “lá” của Mỹ.

Thẻ xanh châu Âu là giấy phép cư trú cung cấp các quyền về kinh tế và xã hội toàn diện và con đường khả quan hướng tới thường trú và nhận quốc tịch châu Âu. Nó có giá trị ở tất cả các quốc gia thành viên EU, ngoại trừ Đan Mạch, Ireland và Vương quốc Anh. Đây là một hệ thống dựa trên thành tích, trong đó ứng viên phải chứng minh họ có bằng đại học và đã được mời làm việc ít nhất 12 tháng với mức lương hàng năm bằng hoặc cao hơn mức liên quan được xác định bởi Quốc gia thành viên. Ví dụ, ở Đức mức lương tối thiểu hàng năm cho người đăng ký Thẻ xanh EU là khoảng 55.200 EUR, hoặc 43.056 EUR cho các ngành nghề thiếu hụt, chẳng hạn như bác sĩ, kỹ sư, nhà khoa học tự nhiên, nhà toán học và chuyên gia IT. Giấy phép làm việc được cấp theo chương trình Thẻ xanh không tuân theo bất kỳ hệ thống hạn ngạch nào và không cấp phép cho các công việc tạm thời hoặc các hoạt động tự làm chủ. Nếu chủ thẻ EU Blue mất việc, họ được cho 3 tháng để ở lại trong nước và tìm kiếm việc làm, và có quyền yêu cầu trợ cấp an sinh xã hội.

Trong số nhiều lợi thế đặc biệt có được khi trở thành chủ sở hữu Thẻ xanh EU, các điểm có lợi chính khác bao gồm: có được điều kiện làm việc và lương như nhau đối công dân của quốc gia đó; di chuyển tự do trong khu vực Schengen; có các quyền xã hội, có một hệ thống giáo dục và chăm sóc sức khỏe tuyệt vời và giá cả phải chăng, chương trình đoàn tụ gia đình; và có khả năng có được quyền thường trú. Trên thực tế, sau khi ở lại năm (5) năm hợp pháp và liên tục, có thể xin giấy phép cư trú dài hạn của EU và được hưởng các quyền giống như công dân, bao gồm quyền làm việc cho bất kỳ hoạt động việc làm hoặc tự làm chủ.

Bài viết được viết với mục đích cung cấp thông tin. Bài viết này không bao gồm tư vấn hoặc ý kiến pháp lý. Vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi để thảo luận về hoàn cảnh cụ thể của bạn.

This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances


The “Blue Card” Europe’s Answer to the US Green Card

Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst in our Italy Practice Group, examines the requirements for a European Blue Card.


After a tough few months in Europe, which saw tens of thousands of deaths from the global pandemic, cities in lockdown, and borders closed, early signs of normality are appearing as European countries are reopening their borders to foreign travelers, with some exclusions.

In the last few days, our offices in London, Rome, and Florence are experiencing a massive volume of calls from all around the world from people seeking information about how they can work and legally reside in Europe.

We take this opportunity to offer an insight of the European Blue Card, which has been specifically created to make Europe a more attractive destination for highly qualified non-EU/EEA nationals. The European commission chose the name ‘blue card’ to signal potential immigrants that the Blue Card is the European alternative to the American Green Card.

The European Blue Card is a residence permit that provides comprehensive socio-economic rights and a possible path towards permanent residence and European citizenship. It is valid in all EU member states, except Denmark, Ireland, and the UK.

It is a merit-based system where applicants must prove they have a college degree, and have been offered a job for at least 12 months with a gross annual salary equal to or higher than the relevant salary threshold defined by the Member State.

For example, in Germany the minimum annual salary for EU Blue Card applicants is in the range of EUR 55,200 (or EUR 43,056 for shortage occupations, such as doctors, engineers, natural scientists, mathematicians, and IT-specialists).

Work permits issued pursuant to the Blue Card program are not subject to any quota system and are not allowed for temporary assignments or self-employed activities. If EU Blue Card holders lose their job they are given three months to remain in the country and look for work, and are entitled to claim social security benefits.

Amongst many exceptional advantages gained by becoming an EU Blue Card holder, additional key beneficial components include: obtaining equal work and salary conditions to national citizens; having free movement within the Schengen area; having social rights, having a great and affordable education and health care system, family reunification; and potentially obtaining permanent-residency rights.

In fact, after five years of legal and continuous stay, it is possible to apply for an EU long-term residence permit, and enjoy the same rights as nationals, including access to any employment and self-employed activity.

Contact our team to discuss your interest in the European Blue Card and other European and international residency & citizenship programs.


This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.