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What is visa retrogression?

EB-5 Visa retrogression occurs when there are more people applying for EB-5 Visas from any given country than there are available visas for said country in a given fiscal year. As a result, the U.S. government puts a hold on issuing more visas, causing a backlog or delay for applicants. It essentially means that prospective EB-5 Visa recipients have to wait longer than usual to get their visas, akin to a traffic jam in the immigration process. This is a very similar situation to the EB-2 and EB-3 retrogressions facing Indian born applicants.

As of January 2024, EB-5 investors from China that invested before the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, are facing an 8-year retrogression. Those from India are facing a 3-year retrogression.

Retrogression is something to avoid at all costs because it creates substantial challenges and uncertainties for EB-5 Visa applicants, affecting their immigration plans, financial stability, and overall well-being. The good news is that applicants can protect themselves against the risks and effects of retrogression by analyzing which EB-5 categories have the most visas available.

Since there is a 7% visa cap per country, China and India became oversubscribed pre-RIA. If it were not for the RIA Reserved Visa categories, new EB-5 investors from these two countries would also have to wait several years for a visa. Even though by looking at the Visa Bulletin one will see all EB-5 Reserved Categories as “Current” for India and China, it’s imperitive to speak with your immigration counsel and regional center to hear the latest statistics of petitions filed to estimate which categories will retrogress sooner.