The demand for different types of U.S. immigration visas can vary over time. One type of visa which has seen a big spike in demand in recent years are EB-5 visas. The EB-5 program is a program in which foreign investors can have the opportunity to obtain U.S. permanent residency through making certain types of investments.
Applications for this type of visa have gone up quite a bit in the past few years. The annual application filing total was 6,554 in 2013, 11,744 in 2014 and 17,691 in 2015.
It is thought that concerns about potential changes to certain EB-5-related provisions may have been one of the contributing factors to the particularly big surge in applications last year. The changes ended up not being made, though they could still be made in the future, as the most recent renewal of the provisions only goes through September of this year.
One wonders what will happen with EB-5 demand and application levels in 2016. Will concerns about possible changes to EB-5 laws again have demand effects? Will economic sluggishness in China (where a good number of the individuals that have been granted EB-5 visas have been from) lead to any big demand shifts?
As this underscores, many different things can have impacts on the demand levels for a given type of immigration visa.
Now, demand levels for a given visa type are one of the things that could have impacts on what challenges a person seeking that type of visa could face. For example, one of the things the high level of demand for EB-5 visas has led to is a considerable backlog when it comes to these kinds of visas. At the end of last year, the number of EB-5 applications that were currently in pending status was up to 21,988. Given this large backlog and the fact that there is an annual cap on EB-5 visas, investors can experience considerable wait-times when it comes to EB-5 applications.
Now, long-wait times are not the only challenges that can arise in relation to applying for the EB-5 program. There are detailed requirements for qualifying for the program, so the applications process can have many complex aspects. Thus, having good legal guidance can be important when going through processes related to the EB-5 program.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Immigration Program for Foreign Investors Sees Demand Surge,” Eliot Brown, March 26, 2016