FY2019 Q1 & Q3 EB-5 I-526 filings: India takes top spot from China, new markets emerge

  • Written by GCBI Team Posted on July 9, 2020 | Updated on July 9, 2020 | 3 min read

An IIUSA report reviewing USCIS I-526 stats for these two quarters (Q2 stats were curiously not available) show interesting trends. Besides India becoming number one for filings, Chinese filings plummeted, and several markets spiked in activity including Nigeria, South Africa, and Mexico.

FY2019 Q1 & Q3 I-526 filing: top-11 countries

  1. India 736 (31%)
  2. China 351 (15%)
  3. Vietnam 240 (10%)
  4. South Korea 183 (8%)
  5. Taiwan 116 (5%)
  6. Mexico 54 (2%)
  7. South Africa 54 (2%)
  8. Venezuela 41 (2%)
  9. Hong Kong 31 (1%)
  10. Macau 31 (1%)
  11. Canada 27 (1%)

The big news is India taking over the top spot from China. Vietnam remained solidly in third place yet again. Two other East-Asian nations rounded out the top five list with South Korea and Taiwan following the big three.

FY2019 Q1 & Q3 I-526 filing decreases: China & Vietnam plummet

The top two countries, both in retrogression, fell the most with Chinese I-526 filings plummeting 76%, and Vietnamese filings dropping steeply as well with a 42% decrease.

FY2019 Q1 & Q3 I-526 filing increases year over year

India     FY2018 filings: 508     FY2019 filings: 726     YOY increase: 218 (43%)

Nigeria     FY2018 filings: 35     FY2019 filings: 91     YOY increase: 56 (77%)

South Africa     FY2018 filings: 26     FY2019 filings: 54     YOY increase: 28 (108%)

Mexico     FY2018 filings: 37     FY2019 filings: 54     YOY increase: 17 (46%)

Argentina     FY2018 filings: 5     FY2019 filings: 17     YOY increase: 12 (240%)

Columbia     FY2018 filings: 12     FY2019 filings: 21     YOY increase: 9 (75%)

Hong Kong     FY2018 filings: 22     FY2019 filings: 31     YOY increase: 9 (41%)

Falkland Islands     FY2018 filings: 18     FY2019 filings: 26     YOY increase: 8 (44%)

Turkey     FY2018 filings: 14     FY2019 filings: 20     YOY increase: 6 (43%)

India not only had the most I-526 filings of any country but the greatest year-over-year increase as well. Two African nations, Nigeria and South Africa, had the next greatest increases with 56 and 28, respectively. The recent observation of many stakeholders that Central America and South America are emerging markets is borne out by Mexico and Argentina showing double-digit filing increases.

I-526 adjudications by country of birth, Q1 & Q3 Fy2018 vs. FY2019

Indian adjudications went up in Q1 & Q3 of FY2019 versus those two quarters in FY2018, increasing to 311 from 201. South Korea had a strong increase from 101 to 134 adjudications year over year for those two quarters. Mexico increased from 23 to 32 adjudications. South Africa had a small bump from 20 to 25. 

Otherwise, for the rest of the world, adjudications decreased during Q1 and Q3 FY2018 from 405 to 262 in FY2019. China had the greatest decline by far dropping from 6,170 adjudications for those two quarters in FY2018 to only 2,075 for Q1 and Q3 FY2019.

While the 2019 processing numbers have been down, potential investors should take heart that USCIS — as promised earlier in the year has recently posted some dramatic processing increases for FY2020 Q2, doubling the output the agency delivered in Q1.

Q1 & Q3 FY2019 I-526 approvals by country of birth

South Korea enjoyed a near-perfect 98% I-526 filing approval rate. The next highest approval rate from a country with a substantial number of I-526 filings was South Africa with 92% approvals. The global approval average was 81%. China fell below that number with a 78% approval rate. Cleary, investors from South Korea are doing something Chinese investors are not, either with their investment project selections, source of funds or the opacity of the investor’s backgrounds.

Read the IIUSA report “2019 Q1 & Q3 EB-5 Investor Market Trends”