EB-5 Form Fee Increases, RC List Changes

Proposed Fee Increases
USCIS published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register inviting public comment, for 60 days, on the proposed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule: (http://federalregister.gov/a/2016-10297). The rule explains that: “USCIS conducted a comprehensive fee review, after refining its cost accounting process, and determined that current fees do not recover the full costs of the services it provides. Adjustment to the fee schedule is necessary to fully recover costs for USCIS services and to maintain adequate service.” Here are fee changes affecting EB-5 forms (see Table 9 on page 87):

  • Form I-924A (to be titled “Annual Certification of Regional Center”): new $3,035 fee
  • Form I-924 application for regional center designation or amendment: increase from $6,230 to $17,795
  • Form I-526 immigrant petition: increase from $1,500 to $3,675
  • Form I-829 petition to remove conditions: no change (still $3,750)

The public has three months to comment (see pages 1-2 of the proposed rule for directions). The rule specifically invites feedback from regional centers, noting that:

DHS does not have sufficient data on the revenue collected through administrative fees by regional centers to definitively determine the economic impact on small entities that may file Form I-924. DHS requests any data that would help to further assess the impact on small entities in the regional centers. DHS is publishing the initial regulatory flexibility analysis to aid the public in commenting on the small entity impact of its proposed adjustment to the USCIS Fee Schedule. (page 89)

In commenting, consider DHS’s attempt to analyze regional center revenue sources and the potential impact of the proposed I-924 fee increase (page 99-101).

The rationale for fee changes in the proposed rule gives an interesting look behind the scenes at DHS. For example, Table 6 on page 8 lists “Completion Rates per Benefit Request” – meaning “touch time,” or the time an employee with adjudicative responsibilities actually handles a case (not including queue time or time spent waiting for additional evidence or supervisory approval). EB-5 processing times run to months and years, but (prepare to gasp) the average amount of time an employee actually works on EB-5 forms, according to this table: I-526: 6.5 hours; I-829: 5.5 hours; I-924: 40 hours; I-924A: 5 hours. And footnote 61 on page 55 gives more detail than I’ve seen before on compliance efforts for EB-5:

USCIS is committed to strengthening and improving the overall administration of the EB-5 Program. The EB-5 Program encompasses Forms I-526, I-829, I-924, and I-924A. The cost baseline includes $16.0 million in FY 2016 and $15.9 million in FY 2017 for additional staff that would comprise a specialized team of forensic auditors, compliance officers, and other staff, whose primary focus would be to ensure regulatory compliance. This would directly contribute to the integrity of the program by providing the USCIS Investor Program Office with employees who have specialized knowledge required to adjudicate these benefits. In addition to enhanced staffing, USCIS would make additional IT systems investments to make case processing more efficient. USCIS would add $1.7 million in FY 2016 and $1.8 million in FY 2017 to improve the case management system and further develop its risk management strategy to ensure program compliance.

Regional Center List Changes
Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List, 04/25/2016 to 05/03/2016.

  • American Lending Center North Carolina, LLC (North Carolina, South Carolina): usa-rc.com
  • Atlantic Coast Regional Center, LLC (Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia): www.eb5acrc.com
  • Excelsior EB-5 Regional Center LLC (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York): excelsioreb5.com

New Terminations

  • Hidalgo McAllen Reynosa Regional Center, LLC (Texas) Terminated 4/26/2016

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

2 Responses to EB-5 Form Fee Increases, RC List Changes

  1. Jeff says:

    This is a great start on fees. If it helps processing times, that’s great. If it helps get rid of the riff raff even better. All eb5 operators should have the same requirements to register as a broker does for FINRA

    • I hope that comments encourage USCIS to distinguish between I-924 initial applications and amendments, which are not comparable in processing burden. A $17K fee may be reasonable for initial applications but is not reasonable for amendments, and absolutely counterproductive to the effort to encourage voluntary amendment filing for structural changes and Exemplar I-526 review.

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