FY2019 Q1 EB-5 Petition Processing Statistics

USCIS has updated the Immigration & Citizenship Data page with data for petitions processed in FY2019 Q1 (October to December 2018).

The data shows that the Investor Program Office had an unproductive first quarter, with the fewest EB-5 forms processed since 2016. No wonder processing times remain long. Sometimes the data reflects a workload trade-off (e.g. fewer I-526 but more I-829 processed), but FY19 Q1 just had very low output overall. What’s up, IPO? Are you losing staff? Burning time with extreme-vetting RFEs? I-526 and I-829 receipts were up from the previous quarter, but still relatively low.

The All Forms report is interesting as a reminder of just how small EB-5 is in the grand scheme of employment-based petitions, and because the report now has separate line items for I-924 and I-924A.

All regional centers that want to remain in good standing should file the I-924A annual report between October and December, yet the report shows only 322 I-924A receipts for Oct-Dec 2018. Did the rest of the 885 currently-approved regional centers decide that designation isn’t worthwhile anymore? Or does the report not capture actual I-924A submissions? Certainly I-924 filings remain very low. No surprise considering the high form fee, the difficulty of operating in the current environment, and the fact that exemplar approvals have no value if they come too late to be usable.

UPDATE: I’ve added a EB-5 Timing page to collect links to data and posts related to EB-5 visa availability, visa allocation, and wait times. If you would like to order a personalized timing estimate, see the EB-5 Timing Estimates Page.

RC List Updates

There has been little activity on the USCIS regional center list since the beginning of the year.

Additions to the USCIS Regional Center List, 12/31/18 to 04/19/19

  • BC East Coast Regional Center LLC (Pennsylvania)
  • EB5 Affiliate Network Washington, D.C. Regional Center, LLC (District of Columbia)
  • Pride Capital, LLC (New York)
  • Greystone EB5 Southeast Regional Center LLC (former name Greystone Florida Regional Center LLC) (Florida) (This RC had previously been terminated for inactivity — termination letter here.)

Removed from the approved list, but not added to the terminated list

  • Three Streams Mid-Atlantic Regional Center (Maryland)

New Terminations

  • San Francisco Regional Center (California) Terminated 2/13/2019
  • Midwest Investment Fund, LLC (Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio) Terminated 2/5/2019

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.

32 Responses to FY2019 Q1 EB-5 Petition Processing Statistics

  1. Pete Chase says:

    Well, we filed our I-924A! Does anyone really think that 885 RCs just left the program? I don’t think you can file an extension 🙂 Meanwhile, it will be interesting to know what the deal is with the slow processing.

  2. kishore says:

    I think the 526 numbers are inflated .As per my calculations they have only received 1350 for the months of Oct – Dec 2018

    • Dude says:

      Anecdotally, from the Telegram group and from my RC info, the I526 approvals in Jan-Mar 2019 quarter are so very slow.

      I hope someone asks Charlie what’s going on when he gives his presentation on May 6th.

    • Nickolas says:

      How did you calculate?

  3. tpk129 says:

    Interesting…something is up! 🙂

  4. henry says:

    I-526 Filed in 2015… Nothing yet.

  5. S R says:

    Chirag and Suzanne, Thanks for your interest in my case. We appreciate it. Me and My attorney have tried the (1) Case Inquiry, (2) Direct Email contact, (3) Escalate route and (4) the ombudsman DHS 7001 route. No proper response.

    We have not used the senator route and I am a little hesitant to use the WRIT OF MANDAMUS route as it sounds very litigatory just by the sound of it. Do you have any experience on the WOM route and the PROs and CONs. How often does it result in an unintended outcome ?

    • tpk129 says:

      What does “no proper response” mean? Did they respond and you didn’t like the answer, or didn’t they respond at all?

      • S R says:

        by “no proper response” what I meant was that it was a programmed response…All responses were identical…probably coming from a system logic (not typed by a person)… Here is the response(s)…All of them are identical ..
        Quote

        The status of this service request is:

        Your petition is currently pending with the Immigrant Investor Program Office.

        While our processing times currently are beyond what we would like, USCIS has taken steps to increase capacity and is striving to ensure our commitment to our customers is being met. We hope this information is helpful to you.

        Unquote

        • tpk129 says:

          OK…a “very lame response”! They haven’t told you anything that you don’t already know.

          This is a bummer and obviously very frustrating. I would lean on my attorney and tell him/her you want some answers. If he/she is a cut rate lawyer, you may just have to live with this, if the lawyer is any good, they should have contacts within the USCIS that can tell you what is happening.

          The WRIT OF MANDAMUS is a heavy hammer and I wouldn’t use it unless I was already a citizen so they couldn’t put me on the slow boat to nowhere. Pretty confrontational and it won’t endear you to many people at the USCIS.

        • Kishor says:

          Call the Twitter chief in the White House . What’s the point if you don’t want to contact the senator ? Unless you know Jared kushner you are going to keep waiting

    • My understanding is the WOM is a heavy hammer, to be used with caution, but I’ve seen it succeed in multiple cases. A 2014 article by Ira Kurzban in the Regional Center Business Journal discusses considerations in mandamus and other federal court action. It’s written from the optimistic perspective of a litigator. See p. 24-25 of https://issuu.com/iiusa/docs/iiusa_rcbj_2014-q1-web-final

  6. S R says:

    Suzanne, TPK129, Kishor and Chirag, Thanks for your input. I agree that the Writ of Mandamus is a very heavy hammer with unintended consequence and I will stay away from it for now. Keeping the fingers crossed on the normal process outcome. The October 2018 PDF analysis does show some real outliers. I was hoping against hope that I dont fall into the outlier list but looks like I am…

    • Bob says:

      Did you invest in a new project? I was the second investor in my project, filed late 2015, it took 33 months to get approval. I think they waited for more investors before bulk processing

      • S R says:

        Bob, I am actually a replacement investor in the project (this project had 19/20 approvals when I filed in 2016 and one investor backed out so I was a replacement)… So logically mine should have taken less time….

        • henry says:

          Hey S R,

          Sorry for the delayed response. My country of birth is in Latin America so it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Tried all routes besides WOM as well.

          • S R says:

            Henry, Can you share what happened when you served the WOM on the USCIS ? Did they acknowledge it and act on it ? What response did you get ? or has it gone into a blackhole ?

          • b.sarabu says:

            Hi Guys

            I am also an investor from 2016 PD. I tried senator route among other routes mentioned above. I too received a programmed response. I am at wit’s end !!

          • If you who’ve been commenting on delayed I-526 would like to be put in touch with each other for further discussion, email me at suzanne@lucidtext.com. If I get responses, I’ll send an email with addresses for everyone who emailed me. Sometimes unusually delayed cases turn out to have common features, making collaboration helpful.

  7. S R says:

    Suzanne, I have sent you a personal email to suzanne@lucidtext.com with my email contact. if other “tired” investors can do the same then at least we all can have each other’s shoulders to find some support !!! We appreciate your leadership on this front…

  8. #1 Fan says:

    The case processing time on the USCIS website recently changed to “22 – 28.5 months” for i526.

    Folks are translating that to read: “It takes 22 to 28.5 months to adjudicate an i526”.

    However, I think it should be read thus: “Over the past 2 months, 50% of the i526 forms processed were over 22 months old and 7% of them were over 28.5 months old”.

    And so the increase in the processing time could simply mean that IPO focused on the older applications in March and April. It doesn’t mean that applications filed in (say) Jan 2019 will take that long. But then again, maybe I’m misunderstanding the explanations on the USCIS website..

    • kishore says:

      Processing times are as good as picking lottery numbers. Some whacko intern is responsible for those time frames. It has no value and is of no significance. i would not read anything at it. No one is held accountable for those numbers so its a bunch of nothing.

    • S R says:

      #1 Fan, This is the first time I am seeing a mathematical explanation of the “XX-YY months” statistics…I had never seen this 50% and 7% linkage to this statistics… Is this information published somewhere on the USCIS Website or is this based on some information given out by some USCIS official at some panel. Anyway – Since there is no logical manner for processing this form the statistics even if it is accurate means nothing to an investor.

    • #1 Fan is looking at this page https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/more-info, which says that “We now show case processing times as a range. The first number is the time it takes to complete 50% of cases (the median). The second number is the time it takes to complete 93% of cases.” However, in context of that page, I believe that sentence only refers to “pilot” forms — i.e. Forms I-90, I-485, I-751, and N-400. EB-5 petitions are not included in that set. The page says that “For non-pilot forms, we will continue to use our old method to calculate processing times, but will add an upper limit that is generally 130% of the processing time.” The page does not describe “the old method.” According to a 2018 OIG report (http://src.bna.com/w35), the old method is simply a calculation that followed from number of petitions pending at any given point in time.
      In my opinion, the processing report is valuable not for the specific numbers reported so much as for the movement reported.

      • S R says:

        Suzanne, On the ball as usual ……. You are incredible !!!

        • henry says:

          Processing times have been updated on the uscis site… showing 29 to 45.5 months now. Wth?

          • I have a few thoughts about this that I’m about to blog about. I suspect one issue is that IPO is tired of being hassled with “out of processing time” inquiries, and so extended the case inquiry date to infinity to cut off the flow of inquiries.

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