USCIS Updates EB-5 Regional Center Processing Policy
BY: Sarah Salarano & Kyra Aviles
USCIS has updated its processing policy following the sunset of the Regional Center Program on June 30, 2021.
On October 4, 2021, USCIS published an Alert providing EB-5 stakeholders with a timeline for re-evaluating the “hold” policy, which was initially implemented on July 1, 2021.
Since July, USCIS has not acted on any pending petition or application of the following forms for any Regional Center project:
- Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, except when the application type indicates that it is an amendment to the regional center’s name, organizational structure, ownership, or administration; and
- Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, when it indicates that the petitioner’s investment is associated with an approved regional center; and
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and any Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, associated with a Form I-485 application that is based on a Form I-526 filed by an approved regional center.
USCIS continues to put these forms on hold for the Regional Center Program but encourages any applicant to respond to USCIS correspondences dated on or before June 30, 2021. They state: “Although we cannot review your response right now, we will keep your response for review if circumstances change.”
USCIS is still accepting and reviewing Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, including those filed on or after July 1, 2021.
Another major update is that Form I-765 and I-131 will continue to be accepted and adjudicated for pending Form I-485s based on a Form I-526 for an approved regional center.
While the Alert does not explicitly state that USCIS will start denying EB-5 petitions in 2022 if the Program is not reauthorized by that time, they specify that applications will be reevaluated then. The current hold policy will be re-examined at the end of the calendar year 2021 unless new legislation for regional centers is executed before then.
To read the full Alert in detail, click here.
About the Authors
Sarah Salarano is a paralegal at Mona Shah & Associates Global. She graduated from Emory University in December 2020 with a degree in Political Science and English.
Kyra Aviles is a paralegal at Mona Shah & Associates Global. She graduated from Oberlin College in May 2021 with a degree in Political Science and Law & Society.