September 28, 2016

On October 1, 2016, the Dates for Filing (“Filing Date”) Chart on the DOS Visa Bulletin will retrogress for EB-5 China nationals.  The National Visa Center (NVC) confirmed that it will continue to accept fees, forms, and documents for EB-5 immigrant visa applications from China, provided they are postmarked on or before September 30, 2016.

As background, the October 2016 Visa Bulletin indicates that the Filing Date chart (labelled “Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications”) for EB-5 China will retrogress from May 1, 2015, to June 15, 2014. Accordingly, as of October 1, 2016, applicants with approved I-526 petitions may not file an immigrant visa application (Form DS-260) or submit civil documents unless their priority date is earlier than June 15, 2014, the new cut-off date.

NVC has been sending email messages to EB-5 China applicants with priority dates after June 15, 2014, indicating that they will no longer be able to submit DS-260s or civil documents. The email messages do not indicate a start date for this limitation. In response to an inquiry from AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee, NVC indicated that it will add the effective date for this limitation in future versions of the email. NVC also advised AILA that it plans to prepare FAQs which will be published online shortly.

In summary, Chinese EB-5 applicants may continue to submit Forms DS-260 and civil documents in advance of the October 1 cut-off date, provided that they are postmarked by September 30, 2016. In practical terms, this may not affect when applicants actually obtain their visa interviews. However, recognizing that it is often an important psychological priority for individuals to complete the NVC documentation process, applicants with a priority date on or after June 15, 2014, have only until Friday, September 30, to do so.

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