The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services issued three years of EB-5 visa data this week, confirming what was already known to many in the industry: big city regional centers servicing developer clients dominate the field for investors looking to immigrate to the U.S. Between 2014 and 2017, USCIS approved more than 26,000 petitions for visas nationwide and rejected 3,313, its data show. The overwhelming majority of regional centers saw 100 or fewer petitions processed during the period. EB-5 visa issuance is currently capped at 10,000 new investor visas annually.
The US Immigration Fund (USIF), a Florida-based EB-5 regional center company with branches in New York City and New Jersey, accounted for more than 3,100 approved petitions, or 17 percent of all approved EB-5 visas in this period, the data show. In New York, developers like Forest City Ratner, HFZ Capital Group, the Durst Organization, Steve Witkoff and Michael Shvo tapped USIF to bring in funds for major projects, many of them luxury condos. And in New Jersey, the firm