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December 16 2014

December USCIS Stakeholder Call

The December 5th USCIS EB-5 stakeholders call provided little new information.

Adjudications are still slow.  The processing times announced are:

    • I-526s are averaging 14.5 months;
    • I-829s are averaging 6 months;
    • New Regional Center and amendment I-924s are averaging 8 months.

USCIS acknowledged that when a Regional Center I-526 case is decided for a new project, many I-526 applications for the same project are granted at the same time, regardless of when filed, as this they said is “more efficient.”

USCIS is discouraged that their electronic filing system is not being used more often (our one experience with the system was not good).

A new USCIS memo is forthcoming regarding quota “retrogression,” which will be for Chinese investors only.  The USCIS said they will not hold age-out cases in abeyance to allow children aging out to apply with their parents.  Holding a case in abeyance is one strategy for maintaining a child’s age under 21.  The time the I-526 pends is deducted from the child’s age – thus the longer it takes to decide, the I-526 may help some remain under 21 for sufficient time to get a visa number.

On the stakeholders call I asked:

Q:      USCIS agrees the investor funds are at risk when put into the NCE or in escrow; before the funds are deployed to the JCE.  If the project is built, jobs created and then assets sold before the I-829 is decided and funds are in the JCE or NCE bank account, are the funds still at risk?  We have asked this question for a few years, and it would be very helpful to have an answer for condominium, housing construction and other projects.

A:       The USCIS requested that I email them this question and they will address it in a new memo related to visa retrogression.

We will see.  We have been asking this question repeatedly over the past three years.