FY2020 Q1 EB-5 Processing Statistics

The USCIS Immigration & Citizenship Data page has posted the long-awaited EB-5 form data for October to December 2019 (FY2020 Q1).

The main questions in my mind before I saw the data:

  • Was there really a massive I-526 surge ahead of the November 2019 deadline to increase the investment amount?
  • Did IPO show any trend toward improved productivity?

I made my data summary charts go back to 2015 this time, to put recent trends in context. As the charts illustrate, there was a large but not historically large surge in I-526 receipts last quarter.  So far from clocking any productivity improvement, IPO once again broke its record for fewest adjudications of all time. Clearly, adjudication was not among IPO’s priorities in 2019.  IPO did not even accomplish the minimum of adjudicating sufficient I-526 over the past four quarters to claim a full annual visa quota. I-924 adjudications remain near 0, while I-829 adjudications continue at a steady low level. Now we’re left to hope for FY2020 Q2 data, which IPO Chief Sarah Kendall promised us last month would show some improvement — improvement we’ve been seeing anecdotally. To quote again from Kendall’s remarks about new processing procedures:

USCIS leadership views these initiatives as absolutely vital to the success of the EB-5 program. We acknowledge that case completion rates have decreased partly because of these activities, and we understand the concerns that raises for our stakeholders. With a lot of the infrastructure development now behind us, IPO is better situated to improve productivity. In fact, preliminary data for February shows a step in the right direction. The USCIS Office of Performance and Quality anticipates publishing new data in the coming month.

This quarter’s data release included a new table that I’ll analyze separately in another post.




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.

51 Responses to FY2020 Q1 EB-5 Processing Statistics

  1. kemoped says:

    Hello
    As regards Egyptian what do u expecte in the future, my i526 received in April 9 by USCIS
    according to new rules?
    Thanks

  2. Mr. Singh says:

    USCIS is playing a big part to kill this eb5 program. It’s not worth now for the people from Asian country to apply for eb5 and spend over a mil $ to get US green card. I would suggest them other osm countries with free healthcare and good business opportunities like Australia, Canada etc. Ez and best to settle. It’s hard for Chinese, Indians and other Asian countries. Wasting my time and resources in this drag race. Painful. Period.

    • An Exhausted EB-5 Investor says:

      It is noteworthy that in year calendar 2019, USCIS processed ~2.5k I-526s. If you take an average 2.5 applicants per I-526, it does work out to ~6,250 applicant approvals… way short of the run rate of 10K EB-5 visas reserved per year.

      USCIS is killing the EB-5 program even beyond what the government wants [the govt. just increased the investment amounts; they have not decreased the quota]. New applicants please beware! I have pity for those stuck in it like me!! EB-5 attorneys, this is your chance to shine – think about how you can get USCIS to deliver!!!

      Investors and talented engineers (in light of the parallel challenges with H-1B/EB-2 backlog for Indians and Chinese), I would second that Australia, Canada and other countries are better option for you!

      • Daniel says:

        I believe though that the 10,000 visas would still be issued, albeit to those in the backlog.

        I 100% agree though that the current state of this program is a disaster and a prospective applicant would be far better to look at other countries investment visas unless they have years to wait and don’t mind constant uncertainty.

      • I do think that processing issues are currently the single greatest and most urgent threat to the viability, integrity, and economic impact of the EB-5 program. I am thinking about collecting interviews and writing a position paper aimed at Congress, DHS leadership, and public opinion. The goal will be to show how processing delays specifically undermine Congressional intent for EB-5, with reference to the statute and Congressional Record and testimony from project companies, regional centers, and current/prospective investors. And to envision positive processing priorities. This assumes that the government does not actually intend to kill EB-5, but simply hasn’t been taught to see that efficiency is also an integrity issue. Such a paper will be a time-consuming effort, however…

  3. V J says:

    HI Suzzane
    what can be impact of current executive band on EB5 – I mean I 526 and I 485 processing ?

    • We won’t know until we see the executive order. I’ll blog about this as soon as I see what the order actually includes.

      • Cecilia says:

        Hi Suzanne,
        I would also like to know how the executive order will affect our I-526 petitions. Can congress intervene on this matter?
        Thank you again!

        • The courts could intervene, if it seems excessive. From what I could gather from the press conference, it sounds like a pause on issuance of some immigrant visas abroad for 60 days, which would effectively just continue/extend the situation that already exists due to consulate COVID-19 limits, and not necessarily imply anything for USCIS operations. But we’ll see what the order says tomorrow, and then how DHS and USCIS interpret it.

      • KumarD says:

        Hi Suzzane, My I 485 is under process for past 24 months at Calfi. Ctr.
        this executive order doesn’t make sense at least for Eb5 investors, it is high time for US to create jobs, while applications are on hold how can investors create jobs.
        Or is there better understanding for investors money other than creating jobs.

  4. Katy B says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    I too would like to know how the President’s recent announcement will affect EB-5 processing times.

    Thank you!

  5. Bappi says:

    Hi Suzzane;
    Today The President of US Mr. Trump issue a order “Temporary suspension of Immigration”. What dose it means and is it effect eb5 applicants who applied on 2018.

    Thank you.

  6. Today’s White House proclamation does not suspend all immigration, and does not affect EB-5. See my updates at https://blog.lucidtext.com/washington-updates/

    • Thengai Mandai says:

      Suzanne,

      With a PD of December 2017, do you think it’s worth having my lawyer reach out to USCIS to inquire about why my I-526 is taking so long to adjudicate? Doesn’t look like their regular outreach email get me anything but “check the USCIS website” etc. BS.

      I’m Indian fwiw.

      Thank you!

      • There were 24,992 I-526 pending at the end of December 2017, and 20,250 I-526 were adjudicated from December 2017 to December 2019. The difference between those two numbers is the number of 12/2017 and earlier petitions that could technically still be pending without being obviously left behind. However, as a practical matter, a number of people who filed I-526 more recently than 12/2017 have had success in suing USCIS to adjudicate their unreasonably delayed petitions, and inquiries could help as a step toward the suit. I’d strategize with your lawyer about options. Your I-526 would have been adjudicated long ago if USCIS hadn’t reduced processing volume in 2019 to less than 20% of the former level.

      • Dream ing says:

        I also got my PD of December 2017 and status just same as your case. My agent just let me keep waiting till end of this year. This is ridiculous. I am from Taiwan.

  7. Ravina says:

    Hi Suzzane

    Hope you are staying safe and sound.

    I greatly appreciate all the help I get through your readings, fact -finding, articles, and research. Your assistance and efforts mean a lot.

    I was hoping if you by chance had a rough idea or timeline for an approval of a i 526 petition with a priority date of August 28, 2018 ,India, ( Regional center). We have been waiting and we have not filed for an inquiry as such.

    • Raj says:

      Welcome to the club, Ravina! My PD is September 27, 2018. The last time I checked with Suzzane, she said I could hear back as quickly as a couple of months but it’s more likely to be longer than that. With the new directive and the fact that EB-5 is not affected, I hope it’s closer to the couple of months timeline. I’m curious if anyone with a PD of Q3 of 2018 has had a response back recently…

      • Wendy says:

        Hi Suzanne,

        I hope you and your family are safe during this time. I filed my EB5 petition in May 2018. I was wondering when can I expect a decision from the USCIS. All the waiting has put me and my family under a lot of stress.

        I am from Vietnam btw. And thank you so much for all the info and the researches you did.

      • Karan says:

        Same boat as You and Ravina. I am also having a PD of 30th August 2018. No movement yet but as per Suzanne’s research we should see some action soon. My lawyer says we should expect some movement by August this year.

      • zd says:

        There were about 30 petitions from India which were processed within 4-8 months in 2018. Not sure how USCIS validates petitions, but in absence of priority processing, there are few variables on top of PD. I believe project status, source of funds complexity plus the current residential location of the applicant influence the speed of adjudication. Are you already in the US or applying from India ?

        • I believe that those 30 petitions from India were likely all associated with projects with an approved expedite, which shortens the queue time. Source of funds complexity and project status certainly affect adjudication time, but not likely to shorten queue time by that much.

      • Rajesh Patel says:

        Mine is April 2018, still waiting for I-526.

  8. Mr. Singh says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    My question is, if all immigration to US is suspended (except EB5 and some other important one ) then what do you think that do we have better chance of getting adjudicated on faster pace than normal? Does USCIS has any provisions to change number of employees assigned to other immigration processes towards EB5?

    • The executive order technically just suspends entry by immigrants, but does not stop visa processing or adjudication of immigrant petitions. So the order does not suggest a direct effect on petitions at USCIS. USCIS does have discretion to move employees around based on agency priorities. I certainly wish that EB-5 forms could once again be considered priorities!

  9. Bhavik says:

    Hi Sujen
    you stay healthy and safe

    all your data till today i study it looks like this I-526 file all seems to be open if you want to know the date you filed my if done in 5 December 2016 yet But if it has no status or even open then what I understand is that the file is from India

  10. Bhavik says:

    Hi Suzzane
    you stay healthy and safe

    all your data till today i study it looks like this I-526 file all seems to be open if you want to know the date you filed my if done in 5 December 2016 yet But if it has no status or even open then what I understand is that the file is from India

    • A Form I-526 filed in December 2016 should have been processed already. There were about 23,000 I-526 pending in December 2016, and over 30,000 I-526 have been processed since then, according to USCIS data. Talk to the lawyer who filed your petition about the status.

  11. Lakshmi says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    When can we tentatively expect I-526 approval for the PD of Aug-19 ( India – Regional Center ).

    Many thanks.

  12. SS says:

    Suzanne,

    For any projects that have halted construction due to the government mandated shutdowns, do investors in those projects have their i526 petitions impacted? Specifically, with regard to complying with the requirement to create 10 jobs for a continuous 2 year period.

    • There is not a requirement to create jobs for a continuous 2-year period. The only mention of two years in policy is this sentence “jobs that are expected to last for at least 2 years generally are not considered intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature.” I will write more about this as time permits. A construction halt should not cause an eligibility problem, unless USCIS reviews the petition at a time when there’s no reason to think that construction can ever start up again.

  13. Ben says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    First, thank you for compiling all the information/data on this website. The site has been a valuable reference throughout my family’s EB5 journey. Currently, we have an I-829 pending for close to 4 years. It still falls within the normal processing time but is only 2-3 months short of the upper limit. The project was successful and we had our investment returned 1.5 years ago. We received RFE in mid 18 for proof that the investment sustained for the 2 year period (which it did). It has been radio silence since then. Should we start panicking as I saw many other approvals were received well ahead of the upper limit? Is there anything else we can do at this point?

    Your insights would be much appreciated!

    Best,
    Ben

    • Ben says:

      Accurately, the I 829 was file in late July 2016

      Thanks,
      Ben

    • Ben,
      Have you/your lawyer tried to inquire about case status using the IPO email inquiry process: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fifth-preference-eb-5/eb-5-support
      Two things make me think that your I-829 file just accidentally fell through the cracks:
      1. That you’ve heard nothing two years after RFE response. That’s not normal
      2. That IPO has progressed far beyond I-829 filed two years ago, according to data for pending and processed petitions. USCIS reported 6,000 I-829 pending in July 2016, and nearly 8,000 I-829 processed since then. So obviously a July 2016 I-829 that happens to be left now has been left far behind FIFO order. https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/Employment-based/I829_performancedata_fy2020_qtr1.pdf

      • Ben says:

        Hi Suzanne,

        Thank you so much for your response! Two quick follow up questions:
        1. What exactly does “fell through the cracks” mean?
        2. Since our filing date is still with the “estimated time range” and our filing date is after the “receipt date for a case inquiry,” our attorney hasn’t tried to inquire about the status. However, can our attorney do so even now?

        Best,
        Ben

        • “Fell through the cracks” means accidentally overlooked. IPO has a lot of paper to deal with, and also has experienced staff turn-over and reassignment. This can contribute to files getting misplaced and left unassigned. Discuss with your attorney, but I don’t see any reason not to make an inquiry. The USCIS processing times report is just one source of info about when your I-829 should be processed. You can also reference the other two pieces of evidence that I pointed out in the first comment, as evidence that you’re experiencing delayed response.

          • Ben says:

            Awesome, thank you so much for your insights!
            Ben

          • Ben says:

            Hi Suzanne,

            Just a quick update. I looked up case numbers today and found ten (10) pending I829 cases within fifty (50) of the WAC number (for principle) of our case (the remaining are all I-751s and many are still pending). All pending I829s have the same “on Mar 8, 2018, the I829 was transferred to local office” message (not sure if this implies anything meaningful but seems like all old cases have this message). Since the WAC numbers were so close to each other, can I assume they were all filed during roughly the same dates? Is it possible that USCIS were too lazy to update their page so some of the “pending” I829s may actually have been adjudicated?

            I also looked up cases near my CRI-89 number and found a bunch CRI-89s filed back in Aug. 16 that are still pending. Based on your experience, is it possible that the cases are adjudicated in batches and for some reason, ours just falls in a “lost/super slow batch?”

            Best,
            Ben

            P.S. I also spoke to my attorney today and we decide to send in case inquiry after our receipt date is officially outside of the normal processing time (which should reach in the next 1-2 months following today’s processing time update).

  14. Van Thanh Nguyen says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    I am Vietnamese and my I-526 form was submitted to USCIS on Sep,2018. Please advise when I can get approval?
    Thank you very much.
    Tony

    • Hi Tony,
      My best estimate is mid-2021, though the approval could come this year (if you are one of the lucky ones, or if USCIS has picked up speed more than I expect) or later than mid-2021 (if you are unlucky, or if USCIS keeps to a low volume of adjudications). I do know of a couple Sept 2018 petitions that already got approved last month. If you’d like a detailed discussion and data for averages and some individual circumstances, you can request my timing estimate service here: https://blog.lucidtext.com/resources/eb-5-timing-estimates/

  15. Venkat says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    I’m Indian national and my I-526 form was submitted in July 2019. What will be the best ETA on approval?

    Thanks in Advance.
    Venkat

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