The Visa Bulletin Explained: Understanding the EB-5 Categories Pre and Post RIA

Posted on Mar 12, 2024 by Rakesh Patel and Jacqueline Trevino

The visa bulletin is a monthly publication issued by the US Department of State that provides information on the availability of immigrant visas. It categorizes applicants based on their priority date and country of birth, determining when they can proceed with applying for a green card. On the visa bulletin, the 5th preference category refers to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. There are two main EB-5 categories on the visa bulletin: the unreserved categories and set aside categories.  

Unreserved Category 

The unreserved category is for investments made before the enactment of the Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in 2022 or subsequent investments post-RIA that do not meet the criteria for the visa set aside categories. This category relates to investments of $1,050,000 and is not subject to specific allocation percentages.  

In April 2024, the unreserved categories will remain current for all countries with the exception of China and India. For a green card application to move forward, investors from China must have the priority date of December 15, 2015, or earlier, while investors from India must have a priority date of December 01, 2020, or earlier. Furthermore, it is taking approximately two to three years to receive conditional green card status for these types of projects. 

Set Aside Categories   

The set asides are listed in three distinct rows, each indicating the percentage of the EB-5 visas that are set aside for each category each fiscal year. These categories include visas set asides for rural projects (20%), high unemployment projects (10%), and infrastructure projects (2%), all requiring an investment of at least $800,000. 

Any of the set aside visas that go unused are held within the same category for the following fiscal year. If there are remaining unused visas in these categories after the second fiscal year, they are released to the unreserved categories during the third fiscal year. 

In April 2024, the set aside categories will remain current for all countries. No specific priority date is required for an investor currently in the US on a valid status to concurrently file Form I-526 or I-526E along with Form I-485 to initiate their adjustment of status to a conditional green card holder. Furthermore, these post-RIA investments are experiencing notably faster processing times in comparison to the unreserved category, with some investors receiving their conditional green card as fast as 12 to 18 months.  

To learn more about the EB-5 visa set aside categories or concurrent filing, please visit our blog site at 

If you have any questions regarding the EB-5 process or your place in line for a green card, please email us at and