USCIS Adjusts EB-5 Visa Petition Adjudication Process

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service officially announced today a process change for Form I-526, Immigration Petition by Alien Investor, from a first-in, first out basis to a visa availability approach.

According to USCIS, this new approach parallels with other visa-availability agency adjudications processes, is more consistent with congressional intent for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, and increases fairness in the administration of the program. USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans said, “This new approach increases fairness, allowing qualified EB-5 petitioners from traditionally underrepresented countries to have their petitions approved in a more timely fashion to receive consideration for a visa.”

This operational change is consistent with the agency’s processing of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, in cap-subject categories. The new approach simply gives priority to petitions where visas are immediately available, or soon available, and will not create legally binding rights or change substantive requirements. Applicants from countries where visas are immediately available will now be better able to use their annual per-country allocation of EB-5 visas. The new visa availability approach will apply to petitions pending as of the effective date of the change. USCIS will implement the visa availability approach on March 31, 2020.

USCIS will hold a public engagement on March 13, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. to noon eastern time, to provide information and answer questions from the public about these operational changes to the management of Form I-526 petition inventory. Applicants from China, Vietnam, and India with pending I-526 need to organize to inform IPO how you feel about this.