Retrogression for EB-5 immigrant investors has been a hot topic in the EB-5 community since reaching the visa cap for the first time at the very end of fiscal year 2014.  The impact at that time was minimal because new visa numbers became available a month later.  Looking forward, we won’t have that luxury.

On April 13, 2015, the State Department announced that the May 1, 2015 Visa Bulletin would institute a cutoff date of May 1, 2013 for new EB-5 visas issued to mainland born Chinese investors. As of May 1st of this year, an investor whose I-526 petition was approved after the cutoff will need to wait for his or her I-526 priority date to become current before applying for an EB-5 visa. The State Department’s monthly Visa Bulletin will announce future advances, or retractions as the case may be, of the cutoff date.

Retrogression has a wide range of implications for EB-5. While it does not impact investors’ ability to file I-526 petitions or a project’s ability to utilize such funding, it is expected to significantly impact the project exit strategies and the visa eligibility of the applicants’ children who will be at risk of aging out.

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