NO WORRIES! What “Unauthorized” EB-5 Means in January 2018 Visa Bulletin

Happy Holidays, Readers!  AVS EB-5 has been getting calls and emails from all over the world regarding the just-published January 2018 Visa Bulletin issued by the State Department.  In it, instead of simply showing the projected backlog for China EB-5 investors, it reads across all worldwide regions as “U”.  While a number of attorneys and online blogs are saying that this means “Unavailable”, technically speaking, they are wrong!

Here’s what’s going on, and there is nothing to worry about:  the State Department did NOT mean “unavailable” in placing the “U” in the EB-5 category.  The term “unavailable” historically means that the backlog for a particular visa category and region has gotten so backlogged that they are not even tracking the priority date.  NOT the case.  As the State Dept. clearly stated in the bulletin (but most folks have missed), the “U” in this specific case meant:

           “”U” means unauthorized, i.e., numbers are not authorized for issuance.”

Put simply, in this specific Visa Bulletin, the State Department is saying “we can’t give you priority dates for EB-5 for January because, as of the time of the writing of this bulletin, the EB-5 Regional Center program is only authorized through December 22, 2017.”  So, assuming the program is again extended, the NEXT visa bulletin will go back to “normal”, i.e., showing all global areas as “current” except China.  I remain confidant of the extension of the EB-5 program, hopefully with the reforms needed to stamp out the fake TEA projects .

One interesting tidbit: calling the January EB-5 visa numbers “unauthorized” is actually incorrect: only the Regional Center  EB-5 program expires on December 22 ; individual EB-5 investor visas remain available through January.  There would have been no confusion if the State Department had simply listed all areas as EB-5 current (with China at its current priority date) and addressed the RC program issue with a simple footnote saying:

“The priority dates listed above for the EB-5 category apply only to the permanent EB-5 individual investor program; The EB-5 Regional Center program is due to expire on December 22, 2017; until such time that it is extended, EB-5 visas remain unauthorized for Regional Center investments after December 22, 2017.”

Whatev.  (-:  Have a safe and fun holiday, everyone!