Does ‘D’ Stand for ‘Dead’ in the EB-5 Program?

By David North on May 18, 2021

The decline and fall of the controversial EB-5 program is confirmed in the most recent USCIS data, in this case data for the first three months of FY 2021, that is to say October through December 2020.

There were “D” immigrant petitions filed by alien investors and there were “D” applications filed for regional center designations under the immigrant investor program.

Translating from the Department of Homeland Security’s privacy-obsessed language, “D” means that there were nine or fewer aliens willing to invest $900,000 or more to get a family-sized set of green cards, and nine or fewer citizens seeking to become EB-5 middlemen by starting regional centers in the program.

There is a statutory limit of 10,000 visas a year in this program; a successful application usually produces about 2.5 visas (including those for dependents); 9 x 2.5 = 22.5 for the quarter and, if this rate continues, 90 for the year, producing a remarkable shortfall of 9,910 for the full fiscal year.

This means that there will be fewer alien investors coming to the U.S. in the future, but it does not mean that fewer aliens will be arriving, for any of the theoretical 9,910 visas not used to take care of the EB-5 backlog of visas from previous years will be assigned to the first through fourth employment-based visas. In the lingo of DHS, this is a “fall up” of visas.