Processing, TEAs, Virtual Meetings

Processing Developments

USCIS has not yet updated the Check Case Processing Times page to a new format or with any new content to reflect the Visa Availability Approach that’s now being implemented for I-526. The page update may not happen until June, considering that the report is nominally based on the situation two months earlier. Or the update may never happen, considering the long-term disconnect between this page and reality. However, I see positive signs that IPO is picking up the pace of adjudications, at least with I-526. The USCIS historical processing times page indicates a significant drop to the average I-526 processing time for October 1, 2019 to January 31, 2020, despite what the check case processing times page said (with the historical average reported at 12.6 months,  vs. 19.8 months average for FY2019). And I’ve personally noticed a significant uptick in volume of decision reports since the COVID-19 situation started.  I guess that the lockdown has two benefits for EB-5 adjudications: (1) that IPO adjudicators now have nothing to do but work on IPO adjudications, where before their time was also occupied with non-adjudicative work like meetings and interagency coordination and site visits and agency priorities outside IPO, and (2) that current conditions make it no longer such a fun game to strain for reasons to delay and deny petitions that represent economic development and job creation.

TEA Resources and COVID-19 Unemployment

As U.S. unemployment skyrockets, what will this mean for the EB-5 program, which exists to promote economic development and job creation, and particularly to incentivize investment in areas of high unemployment?  Under current policy and practice, EB-5 is not positioned to react in a timely manner. We see unemployment rising in real time, but will not have the data to prove it for TEA analysis until 2021.  Next year, TEA analysis will be based on annual averages for 2020, which may or may not be astronomical depending on how long the current crisis lasts, and whether or not job loss will become permanent based on employers going out of business. Incentive programs are currently trying hard to prevent such an eventuality.  If by chance the entire country ended up with absolute high unemployment, the EB-5 TEA incentive would not help because it defines “high” in relative terms: local as 150%+ of the national. So future changes to the TEA map will depend on relative economic impacts on different areas. It will be interesting if New York City, which the “TEA reform” drafters tried so hard to eliminate from the TEA incentive, ends up in play again after all thanks to disproportionate COVID-19 impact. Alternatively, Congress could make statutory changes to EB-5 with the goal to make it more flexible and able to react and be a genuine tool to help in our current economic crisis. For that to happen, people lobbying for EB-5 reform should get realistic, proposing changes that can possibly be enacted because they’re designed to look reasonable and public spirited and reflect well on the enacters, not greedy and blind to repercussions from the next day’s headlines.


Virtual EB-5 Meetings and Resources

EB-5 Investors Magazine is holding a Virtual EB-5 Expo this week April 16-17. This includes virtual exhibiting and real-time networking opportunities besides educational panels. Significant discounts are now available.

IIUSA has been holding webinars with expert panels in lieu of the usual Spring conference.  There are two live panels coming soon:

Recordings are available for previous IIUSA courses and panels:

EB5 Talk Podcasts remain a helpful resource

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

8 Responses to Processing, TEAs, Virtual Meetings

  1. Leslie says:

    Thanks Suzanne as always for your guidance.

    My question is on how to interpret processing times. Take the 12.6 months for FY2020. What exactly does the 12.6 months mean? Is it that someone who applied for I-526 in FY2020 can expect to have their case adjudicated in the next 12.6 months? Or something else?

    • The notes on the page say:
      These processing times, which combine data from all USCIS offices, are based on the length of time that an office’s application/petition receipts have been awaiting adjudication (pending).
      Discrepancies from past historical processing time reports may exist due to differences in reporting procedures.

      • Sergey says:

        I think this statistical improvement (12.6 months) has happened just because USCIS has been adjudicating tons of expedited i526 petitions lately. I’ve made an investment in a regular EB5 project (with an examplar aproval) and I’m waiting for almost 30 months already and still got nothing 😦

      • John says:

        My petition too, maybe half of investors received already, but I’ll complete 36 months waiting this April. I think I’ll need to wait the 50 months to ask.

  2. Abdullah Kareem says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    First of all, thank you so much for a lot of useful information and the forums and I appreciate your inputs on these situations, although I did find you mentioning that you should make sure the petition doesn’t fall through the cracks, and that made want to submit case inquiry to the USCIS. I contacted my attorney to see if he can contact the USCIS, but they keep sending back that they tried numerous times, but they end up getting instructions to visit the USCIS website. I wonder if general support number is the right way to contact them, or am I missing something else? And also when do you think my petition will be approved

    My PD is 1-19-2018 and I’m from Saudi Arabia.

  3. J says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    Do you think the temporary immigration ban will significantly impact adjudication for pending I-526 petitions or only those applying for a visa (outside of the US, rather than adjustment of status)?

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