Just 32% of available FY 2020 EB-5 visas used; COVID-19 largely to blame

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Mar 25, 2021

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Because of the pandemic, EB-5 pundits predicted that in FY 2020 many visas for the program would be unused; and, unfortunately, those predictions came to pass. While 11,094 visas were available, only 3,556 (32%) EB-5 visas were issued this past fiscal year. That’s in stark contrast to the previous three fiscal years when 9,478 (94%), 9,602 (96%), and 10,090 (102%) EB-5 visas were issued. EB-5 expert Suzanne Lazicki has been compiling historic processing data and says “2020 is a story about visa processing constraints.” The Department of State has released the Report of the Visa Office 2020. This data (neatly organized for EB-5 by business plan writer Suzanne Lazicki) offers a confirmation of predictions and some interesting insights into who is getting EB-5 visas and how (Adjustment of Status versus consular processing). While Lazicki tells us that in years past reports about visa issuance were a look into the the EB-5 demand from different countries, this report for FY 2020 “does not reflect who wanted visas, but who was lucky to get visas despite massive COVID-19 restrictions and processing bottlenecks.”

We can see that in FY 2020, China, as is to be expected, claimed the most visas, followed by India and Vietnam, then a big drop to South Korea. Brazil was the leading non-Asian country.

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