The recently concluded U.S. Elections have reflected the image of America. Political opinions are clearly divided, but the process has also showcased to the world that the American electoral process benefits from a strong rule-of-law tradition with checks and balances of power and the robust freedoms of expression regarding religious and political beliefs. These standards are characteristic of the United States and its democratic institutions.
The 2020 elections saw the highest voter turnout in a United States election since the year 1900, with more than 152 million votes cast nationwide. As per the constitutionally mandated electoral process, each state has individually certified the votes cast by residents within that state, and the votes of the Electoral College for president and vice president are scheduled to be formally cast by the presidential electors on December 14, 2020, and officially counted by Congress on January 6, 2021.
Additionally, with the recently announced successful development of COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna, and others with promising clinical trials awaiting results, there is substantiated hope for dissipation of the current pandemic within months rather than years, and for a return to “normalcy” in travel, education, commerce, entertainment, and business soon thereafter.
The Backlog for Indian Nationals in the EB-5 Program Remains Eliminated Since July 2020; All other countries besides China and Vietnam remain current.
The December 2020 Visa Bulletin was just released by the Department of State and once again, the backlog for Indian nationals in the EB-5 program continues to remain eliminated since becoming current in July 2020. As you can see in the chart below, all EB-5 investors, except for those originating from Mainland China and Vietnam, have “current” final action dates for their visa availability.
This means that investors should have a visa available to them at the U.S. Consulate upon the approval of their I-526 petition. This is especially great news for investors from India, as most “experts” were projecting backlogs of visa availability for years for any applicants of Indian nationality.
December 2020 Visa Bulletin: Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases
Historical National Average Processing Time (in Months) for All USCIS Offices by Fiscal Year
Every investor wants to know how long it will take to receive their initial green card approval. EB-5 applicants each must undergo standard I-526 Petition processing with USCIS. Those processing times vary from project to project and applicant to applicant, but as of the time of this memo the historical I-526 processing times can be found here:
As shown in the chart from USCIS above, historic processing times for I-526 petitions (the first form submitted in the EB-5 process requesting a conditional permanent green card) are still the lowest they have been in 5 years. The important take away from this data is that investors considering EB-5, especially Indian nationals, need to take advantage of this limited window in visa availability.
Indian nationals specifically are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this apparent once in a lifetime opportunity to obtain a permanent green card in the United States in a relatively short period of time. By comparison, Indian nationals who submit for EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 visas will have wait times for visa availability ranging from almost 24 months all the way to over 11 years!
EB-5 Will Continue to Provide Jobs to Distressed Communities Across the Country
EB-5 is now needed more than ever. History presents the EB-5 Visa Program as a benefit to the U.S. economy. For example, when the U.S. hit a recession in 2008, developers could not obtain funding through traditional means, but the EB-5 Program provided a critical injection of capital into the U.S., boosting the economy in its time of need.
The U.S. EB-5 program has a track record of providing a capital lifeline in economic downturns. And, as more people face sudden unemployment, the EB-5 investor program will continue to provide jobs to distressed communities across the country.
In the wake of the 2008 recession, for example, real estate developers were able to benefit from EB-5 capital, and their projects created tens of thousands of jobs. Liquidity had dried up and, despite huge bailouts for banks at the time, they were not lending. EB-5 became an alternative and attractive source of capital for developers. The use of EB-5 capital was not limited to urban real estate either. Developers and corporations in several rural and remote markets also used the program to create jobs in their communities.
Unlike other forms of economic stimulus, EB-5 is the only program that creates jobs at no expense to the US taxpayer. Looking back on the jobs created or saved by the financial crisis stimulus, estimates suggest that each job cost U.S. taxpayers between $540,000 and $4.1 million. Therefore, given the magnitude of this crisis, it is in the country’s best interest to boost EB-5’s momentum – hence its favorable treatment regarding the recent Executive Orders that kept EB-5 running and our vote of confidence in the EB-5 program as a whole.
We are Here for You
In conclusion, we are grateful and relieved to see these official news releases from USCIS. We look forward to working with more families around the world who are looking to immigrate to the United States via the EB-5 program. If you would like more information on potential next steps to take advantage of the availability of EB-5 visas and/or the elimination of backlogs for Indian applicants, please contact our EB-5 team at +1.813.222.0101 or you can reach out directly to Christian Taulbee, our EB-5 Investor Liaison, at email@example.com and via WhatsApp at +1.813.838.0030.