Targeted Employment Areas from November 21

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization Regulation Final Rule took effect on November 21, 2019, and  changed USCIS Policy for Targeted Employment Area (TEA) definitions and process.  Rather than reacting with questions and complaints, I carefully review the specific content of current TEA policy, place changes in context, and address the theoretical background and practical … Read moreTargeted Employment Areas from November 21

11/21 Welcome to the New EB-5

The EB-5 Modernization Regulation takes effect today, November 21, 2019. As a reminder, the USCIS EB-5 Page summarizes what’s new, the full text of the final rule gives all the detail and background of the new regs, and the USCIS Policy Manual EB-5 section contains current policy as updated by the regs. It’s possible that … Read more11/21 Welcome to the New EB-5

EB-5 Legislation? (S.2778, S.2540)

Since 2015, when the last three-year regional center program authorization expired, there’s been much effort to get EB-5 legislation passed. At minimum, we need Congress to put the regional center program on a stable footing by giving it a long-term authorization. (Since 2015, the program has been extended 17 times, each time for just a … Read moreEB-5 Legislation? (S.2778, S.2540)

October 2019 Oppenheim EB-5 wait time estimates

Department of State Visa Control Office Chief Charles Oppenheim presented about EB-5 visa availability at the IIUSA conference on October 29, 2019. Here are his presentation slides and my recording. The October 2019 presentation suggested encouraging headlines: shorter wait times and faster-moving visa bulletin dates than previously predicted. Behind the headlines lies a vexed story … Read moreOctober 2019 Oppenheim EB-5 wait time estimates

10/29 Kendall remarks forIIUSA

The USCIS website has published Immigrant Investor Program Office 2019 IIUSA EB-5 Industry Forum Sarah M. Kendall Remarks October 29, 2019. (I also recorded the remarks, but my recording adds nothing of significance. Kendall followed the script.)  This post highlights what I did and did not learn from Kendall’s remarks. I-924A Tips Kendall helpfully offered … Read more10/29 Kendall remarks forIIUSA

Conference Rumors (partial investment, visa wait times)

I heard IPO Chief Sarah Kendall and Department of State Visa Control Office Chief Charles Oppenheim speak last week at the IIUSA conference in Seattle.  I’ll blog in detail about these talks and other news and insights from the conference as time permits, but first to quickly address a couple misconceptions that may affect current … Read moreConference Rumors (partial investment, visa wait times)

Insights from AAO Decisions (debt arrangements, currency swap, diverted capital, regional center activity, project progress)

So far in 2019, the Administrative Appeals Office has published 80 decisions on I-526 appeals and motions, and 16 decisions on I-924 appeals. As someone who prepares documents for USCIS review, I read the AAO decisions to keep up with current adjudication trends and unspoken policy. This post highlights a few EB-5 cases of particular … Read moreInsights from AAO Decisions (debt arrangements, currency swap, diverted capital, regional center activity, project progress)

Reauthorization, Country Caps, S.2540, Visa Bulletin

Since last writing, Congress gave the regional center program another short authorization, the Fairness for High-skilled Immigrants Act nearly passed the Senate, Senators Grassley and Leahy introduced a new piece of EB-5 legislation, and the Visa Bulletin offered a surprise window for Indians and Vietnamese to file I-485 regardless of priority date. I’ve had to … Read moreReauthorization, Country Caps, S.2540, Visa Bulletin

FY2019 Q3 EB-5 Forms Processing Data

In her talking points for the EB-5 Modernization Stakeholder Call (September 9, 2019), Investor Program Office Chief Sarah Kendall made the following statement regarding processing times. IPO UPDATES AND PROCESSING TIMES USCIS continues to process applications from regional centers and petitions from immigrant investors in a manner that strives to ensure timely adjudication while maintaining … Read moreFY2019 Q3 EB-5 Forms Processing Data

9/9 EB-5 Stakeholder Non-Engagement

In today’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Listening Session: IPO Chief Sarah Kendall made a statement that sounded promising in outline (IPO Overview, IPO updates, and comments on implementation of the proposed rule) but that proved insubstantial and unhelpful in fact. The statement was in very general terms, with no specific answers to the specific questions … Read more9/9 EB-5 Stakeholder Non-Engagement

August Updates (IPO Processing, Terminations, Marketing, Regs & Legislation, Visa Bulletin)

USCIS Investor Program Office Updates: There’s evidence of increased activity at IPO. Processing Times: The report on the USCIS Processing Time page improved this week for all EB-5 forms, with the “Case Inquiry Date” formula moving forward 76 days for I-526, 62 days for I-829, and 1,097 days for I-924. The months in the “Estimated … Read moreAugust Updates (IPO Processing, Terminations, Marketing, Regs & Legislation, Visa Bulletin)

Questions for USCIS Engagement

From: suzanne@lucidtext.com Sent: August 11, 2019 6:03 PM To: ‘public.engagement@uscis.dhs.gov’ Subject: EB-5 Engagement The following are my questions for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: Listening Session, Monday, September 9, 2019. Processing Volume Questions In the October 5, 2018 meeting with IIUSA, IPO Chief Sarah Kendall reported significant productivity improvements, which “represents that it was a … Read moreQuestions for USCIS Engagement

USCIS EB-5 Engagement 9/9

NOTE: Now updated with registration page link. From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services <uscis@public.govdelivery.com> Sent: August 9, 2019 10:58 AM Subject: USCIS: UPDATED – EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: Listening Session, Monday, September 9, 2019 Dear Stakeholder, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) invites you to participate in a public listening session on Monday, September 9, … Read moreUSCIS EB-5 Engagement 9/9

Business Plans and RFE Response

Do responses to Requests for Evidence need business plans? What if the RFE for an I-526 petition includes this dread sentence “Upon reviewing the business plan, USCIS finds that the evidence in the record does not establish that the business plan is Matter of Ho compliant.” Should the RFE response submit an updated/revised business plan, … Read moreBusiness Plans and RFE Response

Priority date retention and redeployment, with flow chart

Among other changes, the new final rule for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization “provides priority date retention to certain EB-5 investors.” This post (1) discusses context for this change, (2) summarizes the content of the change, and (3) provides a flow chart to illustrate the various options for changing course with an EB-5 investment. Context … Read morePriority date retention and redeployment, with flow chart

Country cap discussion (H.R.1044, S.386, S.2091)

— UPDATES — 7/22: Nothing seems to be happening with the country caps proposals anymore. There’s been no reported action in the Senate on S.386, and Rand Paul has not bothered to announce S.2091 or collect any cosponsors. 7/11: Rand Paul, one of the Senators responsible for blocking S.386 in the Senate, will reportedly introduce … Read moreCountry cap discussion (H.R.1044, S.386, S.2091)

EB-5 reg nears publication

On June 27, 2019, the regulation for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization (RIN: 1615-AC07) completed OMB review (Step 8 in the rulemaking process). This advances the rule toward the final rule-making step: publication in the Federal Register. USCIS will make an announcement when the Final Rule is published in the Federal Register. You can sign … Read moreEB-5 reg nears publication

FY2019 Q2 EB-5 Petition Processing Report

USCIS has updated the Immigration & Citizenship Data page with data for petitions processed in FY2019 Q2 (January to March 2019). The results are shocking. Instead of recovering from the already-dramatic 37% decrease in processing volume last quarter, IPO processing volume fell another 60% in Q2. To look at raw numbers, IPO was processing over … Read moreFY2019 Q2 EB-5 Petition Processing Report

Understanding the Visa Bulletin

The forthcoming Visa Bulletin for July 2019 includes an EB-5 final action data for India for the first time, and no change from June to the EB-5 final action dates for China and Vietnam. Chart A. Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases [excerpt from July 2019 visa bulletin] Employment- based All Chargeability Areas Except … Read moreUnderstanding the Visa Bulletin

Petition Processing Times Report Change, RC List Updates

The USCIS page to Check Case Processing Times, which updates at irregular intervals, has just published dramatic new time estimates for EB-5 forms. I-526 Processing: Estimated time range of 29 to 45.5 months (the previous update gave a range of 22 to 28.5 months) I-829 Processing: Estimated time range of 25.5 to 40.5 months (the … Read morePetition Processing Times Report Change, RC List Updates

Regulations Update (Spring 2019)

The Spring 2019 OMB Unified Agenda has been published with updated timetables for three EB-5 regulations in progress. RIN1615-AC07 EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization, with proposed changes to TEAs and the minimum investment amount: Timetable for Final Rule is May 2019 (The Fall 2018 agenda had anticipated November 2018) RIN 1615-AC11  Regional Center Program Regulation, with … Read moreRegulations Update (Spring 2019)

EB-5 Reform, Immigration Reform

Today, IIUSA and others published a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees laying out “consensus reform concepts” recommended for new EB-5 legislation. I’m heartened to see effort toward reform and reauthorization, and saddened by the letter’s content. Ideally, a consensus will appear to balance the interests of a variety of groups. I don’t … Read moreEB-5 Reform, Immigration Reform

Forecasting Visa Availability: 5/6 Oppenheim projections and big picture

[Post updated 6/19/2019] Today Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Controls Office at the U.S Department of State, gamely appeared again at IIUSA’s EB-5 Advocacy Conference to discuss EB-5 visa availability. So far Twitter just reports a few headlines from his talk. India is expected to reach its limit and get a cut-off date by … Read moreForecasting Visa Availability: 5/6 Oppenheim projections and big picture

FY2019 Q1 EB-5 Petition Processing Statistics

USCIS has updated the Immigration & Citizenship Data page with data for petitions processed in FY2019 Q1 (October to December 2018). The data shows that the Investor Program Office had an unproductive first quarter, with the fewest EB-5 forms processed since 2016. No wonder processing times remain long. Sometimes the data reflects a workload trade-off … Read moreFY2019 Q1 EB-5 Petition Processing Statistics