On October 1, 2016, the Dates for Filing (“Filing Date”) Chart on the Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin will retrogress for EB-5 China. 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 by September 30, 2016.
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. As of October 1, 2016, applicants with approved I-526 petitions may not file an immigrant visa application 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 can no longer submit an immigrant visa application or civil documents. The email messages indicate no start date for this limitation. The NVC has indicated that it will add the effective date for this limitation in future versions of the email. NVC also advised that it plans to prepare FAQs published online shortly.
In summary, Chinese EB-5 applicants may continue to submit Forms DS-260 and civil documents before the October 1 cut-off date, provided that they are postmarked by September 30, 2016. In practical terms, this may not affect when applicants 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 May 1, 2014, have only until Friday, September 30, to do so.