The IIUSA has compiled EB-5 Visa usage numbers released by the Department of State. (A bit of background. While the gatekeepers of the immigration process is the USCIS under the Department of Homeland Security, the actual visa issuances are under the purview of the Department of State. That is why visa numbers are issued by the DOS and not the USCIS for those of you who might be curious.) Here is a breakdown of the top five originating countries for the past five years. (Click on the chart to make it bigger.)

Chart source: IIUSA

Here’s the key to the EB-5 category breakdown:

C5: Direct EB-5 in TEAs ($500K projects)
T5: Direct EB-5 in non-TEAs ($1M projects)
I5: Regional Center EB-5s in TEAs ($500K projects)
R5: Regional Center EB-5s in non-TEAs ($1M projects)

Those of you new to the EB-5 can read about the difference between Direct EB-5s vs. RC EB-5s here. Also, please note that visa numbers are not the same as I-526 numbers. I-526 petitions are filed by the investor who is investing; so if the investor has 3 qualified dependents (i.e. spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21), that means that 4 EB-5 visas were issued for that single I-526 petition.

Some interesting facts that we learn from this chart:

1. There are in fact $1 million Regional Center projects! Obviously not many as only 5 visas were issued out of the total 4,813 EB-5s as a $1 million Regional Center project – but still, they do exist! (And recently a major Regional Center had ambitiously announced a $1 million RC EB-5 project, so we can expect these numbers to go up a bit next year.) But still, the take-away is, all things equal, people will not pay $1 million for something they can get on the market for $500K.

2. These top five originating countries accounted for 90+% of EB-5 visas issued in FY2012.

3. Mainland China accounted for 80% of EB-5 visas issued in the first three quarters of FY2012.

4. The numbers are bumping against the 10,000 yearly quota that has never been met before. (Which is leading to concerns over backlog in China’s per country quota – I’ll do a separate post on this soon.)

5. Venezuela made the list for the first time!

6. There are Iranians who prevail through the arduous OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) requirements of the USCIS (even more stringent than the OFAC office itself requires!) and succeed in gaining permanent residency in the United States.

There we have it folks.