Mar 18 2014

USCIS has just updated new processing times, statistics, legislation, AAO deference decision

USCIS has just updated new processing times, statistics, legislation, AAO deference decision

Processing Times: As promised in the 2/26 EB-5 stakeholder meeting, a new section has been added to the USCIS Processing Time Information page. Now, instead of selecting “CSC – California Service Center” from the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page, select “IPO Processing Dates” button to see processing times for I-526 and I-829 (with I-924 promised to appear any day now). The news still isn’t good (indicating that as of January, IPO was working on I-526s filed April 2013 and I-829s filed May 2012), but at least it’s easy to check.

EB-5 Petition and Visa Statistics: This week USCIS updated its Immigration and Citizenship Datapage with reports on I-526 and I-829 adjudications through Q4 2013. The stats show that USCIS made decisions on fewer EB-5 petitions overall in FY2013 than it did in FY2012, despite an increasing number of receipts. On the bright side, the second half of FY2013 had a significantly higher volume than the first half, particularly for I-526 adjudications, so we can hope for a continuing upward trend. On the dark side, pending petitions topped 7,000 for I-526 in 2013. For visa statistics, note that the State Department has reorganized its website, with the annual Report of the Visa Office from 2000 to 2013 now collected on one Visa Statistics page. To see the EB-5 visa numbers (itemized by Country of investor origin) for any year, open that year’s report and visit Section V. Part 3. For statistics related to the volume, use, and impacts of EB-5 investment, note that IIUSA has published a sneak peek of data highlights from the IIUSA-commissioned 2012 Economic Impacts Report, and will be featuring exclusive new program data in its forthcoming edition of the Regional Center Business Journal.

Legislation: The House is talking about EB-5 again, with a new bill proposed this month (The American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2014) that would permanently authorize and make some modifications to the EB-5 program. See Laura Reiff’s post “House Member Introduces Bi-Partisan Immigration Legislation to Enhance and Augment the EB-5 Regional Center Program


New AAO Decision: USCIS has uploaded another 2013 AAO decision (DEC302013_01B7203) on a Regional Center case in which “the AAO remands the matter to the chief for a new decision that explains its compliance with the May 30, 2013 Policy Memorandum.” The AAO found that “the chief did not explain why the economic impact analyses filed in support of the instant petition were not afforded due deference.” The decision requires USCIS to support its determination that deference is not warranted by providing examples of underlying change to material facts between the impact analyses supporting the approved Regional Center application and the denied I-526 petition. (See also SEP232013_01B7203, another deference-related decision on a different Regional Center case.)