RC program extension to 12/9, reauthorization history, new RCs

Regional Center Program Authorization
The regional center program has been reauthorized through December 9, 2016 as part of the Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act signed today by the President. I held off on reporting this because I couldn’t find RC program reauthorization in the bill. But IIUSA assures me that they’ve gotten confirmation from multiple Congressional offices that RC program extension is in Division C (p. 125-127), so we’ll go with it. (UPDATE: If you’d like the detail, here are emails I received from a couple kind attorneys who explain how the language works. See also the article Congressional Research Service Analyzes Validity of EB-5 Program Extension.) The extension gives only a very short reprieve. Lawmakers are now leaving Washington and won’t be back until November 14, leaving just a few weeks to figure out what comes next — or (probably more likely) to redeploy short-term measures to defer substantial lawmaking to the next Congress.

For reference, I’ve compiled a timeline of regional center program legislation to date. Notice the varying authorization periods, the fact that new legislation has usually been finalized nearly on and sometimes after the sunset date, that RC program extension has usually been part of appropriations legislation, and that previous program extensions have been associated with few to no program changes.

  • 11/29/1990 – EB-5 is established as part of an immigration act (PL 101-649)
  • 10/6/1992 – RC program is established as a pilot within EB-5 and authorized for five years as part of an appropriations act (PL 102-395)
  • 11/26/1997 – RC program is authorized for an additional two years (with one small change) as part of an appropriations act (PL 105-119)
  • 10/30/2000 — RC program is authorized for an additional three years (with a couple small changes) as part of immigration-related legislation (PL 106-396)
  • 11/2/2002 – Significant changes are made to EB-5 as part of an appropriations act, but no change to the RC program sunset date (PL 107-273)
  • 12/3/2003 – RC program is authorized for an additional five years (with a few small changes) as part of standalone EB-5 legislation (PL 108-156)
  • 9/30/2008 – RC program is extended unchanged to 3/6/2009 as part of a continuing resolution (PL 110-329)
  • 3/11/2009 – RC program is extended unchanged to 9/30/2009 as part of an appropriations act (PL 111-8)
  • 10/28/2009 – RC program is extended unchanged to 9/30/2012 as part of an appropriations act (PL 111-83)
  • 9/28/2012 – RC program is extended (with one small change) to 9/30/2015 as part of immigration-related legislation (PL 112-176)
  • 9/30/2015 – RC program is extended unchanged to 12/11/2015 as part of a continuing resolution (PL 114-53)
  • 12/8/2015 – RC program is extended unchanged to 9/30/2016 as part of an appropriations act (PL 114-113)
  • 9/29/2016 – RC program is extended unchanged to 12/09/2016 as part of a continuing resolution (PL 114-223)

To be continued….(Note that Googling the PL number will readily bring up the legislation, and in most cases you can locate the RC program reference in the document by searching for 610(b).) We hope that the regional center EB-5 will eventually have the stability of a permanent program.

Regional Center List Changes

Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List, 09/12/2016 to 9/16/2016

  • American Southern Regional Center, LLC (Georgia)
  • California Bohong Premier Regional Center, LLC (California)
  • KCI Capital Limited (Colorado)
  • TLQ Partnership, LLC (California)
  • TriHaven Investment Group LLC (California)

Mysteriously re-added to the approved regional center list, though they’re also still listed on the page for terminated regional centers

  • Path America KingCo, LLC (Washington)
  • The Lawrence Economic Development Corporation (Ohio)

Removed from the regional center list (but not listed as terminated)

  • DC Partners Regional Center (Texas)
  • FP Advisors LLC (Colorado)

Regional center terminations:

  • American EB-5 Centers (Florida) Terminated 9/28/2016
  • Virginia Center for Foreign Investment and Job Creation (Virginia) Terminated 9/29/2016

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.

28 Responses to RC program extension to 12/9, reauthorization history, new RCs

  1. Shawn Teigen says:

    Suzanne, you really are the best EB-5 resource in existence. Thanks for you great work.

  2. Justin Lum says:

    Thank you for the up to date information. It sounds like both you and the IIUSA are correct based on the section you cited and IIUSA cited.

  3. Thank you again for keeping us up to date; your blog is very helpful & well informed.

  4. Han says:

    Page 127 of HR 5325, which just changes the ending date to December 9, 2016 for all programs.

    • P. 127 gives a date extension specifically to “appropriations and funds made available and authority granted pursuant to this Act,” so I’m comfortable if I can find the RC program referenced somewhere in “this Act.” That’s where I’m depending on p. 125, which references Division F of PL 114-113 (the section of the previous law where the last RC program reauthorization appeared) together with p. 124, which introduces the section by granting funds “for continuing projects or activities (including the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees) that are not otherwise specifically provided for in this Act, that were conducted in fiscal year 2016, and for which appropriations, funds, or other authority were made available in the following appropriations Acts.” But all this seems just as unclear and convoluted as can be to me, and I wonder that our lawmakers ever know quite what they’re voting on.
      (UPDATE: Here are emails from attorneys who explain how the language works: https://ebfive.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/explanations.pdf.)

  5. Cuong Nguyen says:

    Thank you from Vietnam. I always look for your posts about EB-5 update and valuable readings.

  6. Paul Bandall says:

    Hello Suzanne – like others, we really do appreciate the informative updates…

    Have been in the ‘filed petition’ stage for over twelve months and the retrospective aspect of Sen Goodlattes’ bill would knock us out of the process (with huge financial & emotional impact).

    Hopefully that aspect at least will get moderated come December….equally worrisome would be an I-526 approval with eventual I-829 impacted by retrospective legislation.

    Thanks again for the informed insight, really helpful and always look here first for updates.


    • Thank you for your comment! So many people are in your position (and so many US projects would be hurt by retroactivity) that there is enormous pressure to keep that suggestion from making it into law. Also, I’ve heard lawyers who would know say that I-829s would not in any case be affected by retroactivity, but are adjudicated under the rules that applied to the approved I-526.

  7. Alessandra says:

    Suzanne, cheers from Brazil! I fully echo everybody’s words. Your blog is awesome! Keep up the excellent work!
    My case is now falling noticeably outside averaging processing time… I have filed my I-526 petition in February 19, 2015 and have not heard back from USCIS yet. In fact, only 33 (out of 140) limited partners in my group have received their I-526 petition approvals. It looks like USCIS is still well under capacity.

    • Thank you for your comment, and sorry to hear about your experience. Processing times are a mystery. Even now some people are seeing I-526 approvals in 12-14 months, while many others are well outside the average time and still waiting. But indeed, the sheer number of pending cases compared with the number of IPO staff shows that IPO is still well under capacity. At least your case was filed before the petition surge. I hope that you hear good news soon!

    • John Maxkrewl says:

      Hello Alessandra – Im sorry to hear that you are still waiting to hear about your I-526 after 1.5 years. I am in the same boat as you but I have a long way to go. I was wondering if you know when the limited partners in your group (who got their approval) filed their I-526 petitions ?

      The project I filed my I-526 is a project with an approved exemplar and first petition filed in July, 2015.

      • Alessandra Mello says:

        Thanks, John. We all have filed between December and February 2015. First petition approval was just 3 and a half months later i.e May 29, 2015. As Suzanne stated, processing times are truly a mistery. Good luck with your process. Hope you have a better experience.

    • Marigotus says:

      Alessandra, interestingly, I submitted my I526 the same day and my group also has 33 approved of a total of 140. Also my group had submitted between Dec 2014 and Feb 2015. Are you working with CMB?

      I have analysed more than 1.800 submitted I526 between Sep 2014 and May 2015. And seems that within that period 87% of the I526 have been either closed (Approved or Denied) or are under review. The rest is had no movement.

      Looking at how they review I526s, at this moment they are focusing on June or July 2015 submissions. Seems to me that when they say that I526 takes 17 months to be reviewed, they average the time of the cases that have been closed in the last month. But they do not look at what is the actual delay of the pool of cases that are open. In this way, they close cases old and new in order to avoid signalizing an increase in the time needed to approve a case. I’ve seen cases approved in less than 3 weeks at the same time that we have I526s from Sep 2014 still pending.

      If they were looking at all the pool of pending cases, in Oct 2015 with the surge of new cases we should have seen a strong decline of the time, and we didn’t.

      • John Maxkrewl says:

        Thank you Marigotus for explaining your analyses. If you dont mind me asking, How were you able to draw the conclusion that they are processing the June or July 2015 submissions ? I think your explanation makes some sense but Suzanne pointed out some news from USCIS which state that they go First-In First-Out barring very few exceptions.

        Also, I feel there definitely is a decline in time from 12-13 months in mid 2015 to 17+ months now, which I believe is a substantial decline (increase by nearly 30%).

        Do you know if it is necessary that all the petitions from a project should go at the same time ? Because the first actual petition, on the pre-approved project I invested in, was submitted in July 2015 and I submitted my petition in August 2016. I am staying hopeful here because Suzanne mentioned that USCIS said they would try to process all petitions on a certain project a single go sometimes. Fingers-Crossed.

      • Marigotus says:

        John Maxkrewl. I track when the cases moves, either denied, approved or first RFE. As an example: I have 201 cases that were filled in Feb 2015 (Alessandra’s month of filing). They represent approximately 26% of the cases filed in that month, so is a good sample.

        By Jan 2016, only 9% of that sample had moved (19 cases), in Feb 2016 it started to move quickly (16 cases that month, or 8% of the total sample), March 2016 35 cases (17% of TOTAL 201 sample), and so it continued till July 2016. After July the activity declines. And today we have still 17% of the total pool of 201 cases without news (Alessandra’s and mine among them).

        This same curve (12 months low activity, 6 months high till it arrived to 80%, and then low activity again) replicates very closely in the rest of the months I sampled ( cases presented from September 2014 to May 2015). Give or take some months.

        My last month with good coverage is March 2015, with 238 cases, or 31% of the cases presented in that month. And the big activity started in March 2016. April 2015 I have only 73 cases (or 9%) activity started in Jun/Jul 2016 and May only 17 cases (or 2%), activity started in Jul also. Unfortunately I need to expand the sample of those months but it takes a lot of time to get the data.

        If I could paste graphs I would, and you would be able to see the trend very easily. They are 1,816 cases so far that I was able to track.

        Sep 2014, 319 cases, 30% cover, 96% cases closed or in review
        Oct – Dec 2014, 747 cases, 25% cover, 90% cases closed or in review
        Jan – Mar 2015, 660 cases, 28% cover, 84 % cases closed or in review
        April – May 2015, 90 cases, 4% cover, 59% cases closed or in review

      • Alessandra Mello says:

        Marigotus, yes, CMB it is. Thanks for sharing your analysis. I must say I gave up trying to figure out how processes are handled by USCIS. Quite frustrating process…

      • John Maxkrewl says:

        Wow Marigotus, this is extensive analyses. I am really surprised by your efforts and time you spend to get this data and make sense out of it. Kudos man.

        Just one last question – How are you able to track each case when its adjudicated by every month ? The reason I ask is your case will probably be adjudicated in the next 3 or 4 months and I have 12 to 18 months to wait. So may be I can take up your work and focus on months relevant for me going forward.

  8. Joe Whalen says:

    You want to know how to interpret USCIS “processing times” as reported on their website? Good Luck! I’ll take a stab at helping.

    17.1 Month(s) for I-526s; 22 Month(s) for I-829s; and 11 Month(s) for I-924s, is what is listed online right now and reflects a snapshot of the state of affairs at IPO on July 31, 2016.

    I believe that these are the waiting times until case review begins. These are NOT waiting times for a final decision. All times at approximated, and are averages. If your cases are outside these times whether earlier or later (longer or shorter waits), consider yourself an outlier. Picture a bell curve where the central curve is low and wide.

    • Thanks Joe for weighing in! (FYI for the rest of this conversation, Joseph Whalen spent almost 12 years as an INS/USCIS adjudications officer, and closely tracks current developments.)

    • Marigotus says:

      Joe, Many thanks for the insight!

    • Alessandra Mello says:

      Joe, thanks much for your insights. If I may leverage on your expertise as a former insider, how should we interpret the 45-delay in reporting i.e. on the 15th of every month, the USCIS publishes average processing timings for each of its processing queues as observed 45 days ago. I was once told that the 45-day gap is to allow the USCIS to verify the data for quality. What does that mean in practical terms? Should we actually be considering 45 days on top of the 17.1 months that is currently being reported for an I-526? Thanking you in advance.

  9. Daniel Shires says:

    Hi Suzanne, what do you make of this article on real deal. Very interesting indeed:

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