On August 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that the EB-5 visa category for Chinese nationals will be unavailable in the upcoming September 2014 Visa Bulletin because the maximum number of EB-5 visas for Chinese nationals has been reached for fiscal year 2014.

On October 1, 2014, when fiscal year 2015 begins, the EB-5 visa category for Chinese nationals will become current and, therefore, immediately available again. However, according to visa usage trends, the DOS predicts that in May 2015 the category will retrogress to a priority date of June 2013, so will no longer be available again.

In its recent announcement, the DOS explains that “USCIS offices may continue to accept and process China Employment Fifth preference cases and submit them in the normal manner. However, instead of being acted upon immediately, those cases will be held in the Visa Office’s ‘Pending Demand’ file until October 1, 2014. At that time, all eligible cases will be automatically authorized from the ‘Pending Demand’ file under the FY-2015 annual numerical limitation.”

Under EB-5 visa retrogression, foreign nationals may continue to file I-526 petitions, but Chinese nationals will not be able to obtain conditional lawful permanent residence status until the EB-5 visa category for Chinese nationals is available.