Policy Updates, Webinars

USCIS Updates Policies to Improve Immigration Services

Today USCIS announced policy updates “to clarify the criteria and circumstances for expedited processing; improve request for evidence (RFE) and notice of intent to deny (NOID) guidance; and increase the validity period for initial and renewal employment authorization documents (EADs) for certain noncitizens with pending adjustment of status applications.”

These actions are part of a series of planned improvements designed to modernize USCIS and “to eliminate policies that fail to promote access to the legal immigration system.” The USCIS press release quotes Acting USCIS Director Tracy Renaud: “USCIS is committed to promoting policies and procedures that ensure we operate in a fair, efficient, and humane manner that reflects America’s heritage as a land of opportunity for those who seek it.”

Yay! Looking forward to several more years of improvements like this!

AIIA Webinar Invitation

In debates over regional center program reauthorization, EB-5 legislation, and USCIS processing, EB-5 investors have had little voice and influence. A few investors are trying to change that, and have formed American Immigrant Investor Alliance, a non-profit organization with plans for investor-focused advocacy and community development activities. “AIIA hopes to provide investors a seat at the table with respect to the decisions that directly affect them. As investors, we believe our stories and our investments are the best representatives of the good that the EB-5 program brings to the United States.” Interested in this effort? The organizers are hosting an introductory webinar on Saturday, June 12 at 8 am PDT/11 am EDT to discuss goals and plans and invite participation. UPDATE: A recording of this excellent webinar is now available on YouTube.

Behring Companies Webinar Recording

On June 7, Behring Companies hosted a webinar covering topics including the Behring V Wolf et. al. lawsuit on the EB-5 regulations (including goals, arguments, and potential outcomes), EB-5 program reauthorization efforts, and reform priorities from a holistic perspective. Register to view the recording.

Know of other EB-5 advocacy events and activities that should be mentioned? Email me at suzanne@lucidtext.com

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.

24 Responses to Policy Updates, Webinars

  1. Cecilia says:

    Thanks for the updates Suzanne ! Will register for the webinar.

  2. Hugo says:

    Suzanne, do you have any sense of how long the turnaround for RFEs has been. Sep. 2018 I-526, received an RFE in Feb 2021, responded Mar 2021, and still no further action. Thank you.!

    • I have seen a huge range on turn-around time for RFE. A few weeks is most common, but a few months is not unusual. Your lawyer can advise about when you might start to contact the Customer Service mailbox to request status update.

  3. Indian Investor says:

    Hi Suzanne, We have a PD of Sept 2018 for our I-526, RFE received in Dec 2020, replied to RFE in Dec 2020 and heard nothing after that. Any idea if we go back in the queue or if we can expect a response. Thank you!

    • Once a case has been assigned, it is work-in-progress and does not go back in the queue. I’ve seen a large range in RFE response time from a month or so (what I expect) to over a year. An extended time could mean extra security checks, or it could mean that your file just fell through the cracks, which can happen especially when staff leave or get reassigned. An I-526 adjudicator at IPO told me this a couple years ago: “Anyone who has filed a response to a notice prior to three months ago with no subsequent processing would be wise to send an email inquiry. It is hard to know what files are stuck in neverland. The files are supposed to get reassigned [when the responsible adjudicator gets reassigned or leaves] but some recent mandamuses have shown some just sitting on shelves. Petitioners shouldn’t be forced to pay for mandamus filings to get files back in normal processing.”

      • Indian Investor says:

        Thank you Suzanne. Just feel so helpless and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel! 😦

  4. RM Lokesh says:

    Hi suzzane,

    If the EB-5 Regional center expires on June 30th, What happens to pending I526 ? Will It be processed?

    If the pending I526 from regional centers is not processed… will the direct Eb-5 I526 be processed? IF so how many applications are of direct eb-5 Indian applications is pending? Will it be processed quickly?

    • Historically, when the regional center program lapsed just for a short time, I-526 were held unprocessed and direct I-526 processing continued. Direct EB-5 has historically been less than 10% of total demand so direct EB-5 I-526 should indeed be processed quickly if they’re the only petitions on the table.
      “U” in the visa bulletin means that visas cannot be issued to investors through the regional center program. You can read more about the situation on my Reauthorization tab https://blog.lucidtext.com/reauthorization/

      • RM Lokesh says:

        Hi suzzane,

        thanks for the update

        if that’s the case, in how many months nov 2019 direct i526 processing will be over for Indians? 2 months? if the regional centre program expires??

        • USCIS has been processing about 1,000 I-526 per quarter, and I estimate there are fewer than 1,000 total direct EB-5 petitions left in the inventory. USCIS seems to almost always issue RFEs on direct EB-5 cases though, so the processing could still take awhile.

          • RM Lokesh says:

            Hello Suzzane,

            Thanks for the update Suzzane.

            Why RFE are issued for direct EB-5? RFE for source of FUNDs or what is the RFE in regards to?

            Assuming if the regional center expires and to takes a few months to be authorized again? So all 1000 pending applications will be processed and issued RFE or approval or denial notice?

            Also I filed the application as single and change of status in 2019 NOV….

            but now I got married and have to do consular processing…

            what needs to be done to add my wife and change to consular processing?

          • Your lawyer can give you specific instructions on the status change question.

            Regarding RFEs, both project RFEs and source of funds RFEs are very common. Regional center I-526 get somewhat fewer RFEs overall, thanks to pooled investments with project documents that USCIS theoretically only has to review once for the first I-526 in the project, not one by one for every I-526.

            I do not know how Investor Program Office will decide to arrange their workflow if the regional center program lapses for an extended period of time. I can guess that they’ll let resources focus on direct EB-5 I-526, thus expediting the direct EB-5 queue, but that’s not guaranteed. They could as well move people over to I-829 or another division entirely, as has happened in the past.

  5. Narinder says:

    Hi Suzanne
    Thanks for all your efforts.
    My question is what happens to approved I-526 regional centre investors
    Who have USCIS approval but still waiting to hear back from NVC?
    We got approval in mid-April 2021 but haven’t heard back yet.
    We are doing consular processing.

    • The July 2021 Visa Bulletin has “U” for EB-5 regional center only in Chart A Final Action, not Chart B Dates for Filing. So Department of State still allowing regional center visa applications to be filed, just not completed. So it seems that your schedule to hear from NVC should not be affected — just your ability to complete the process.

      • RM Lokesh says:

        Hi suzzane,

        can you please explain what you meant by the statement of chart B in the US visa Bulletin?

        Approved I526 can move forward and start doing the consular process? is that what you meant?

        Pending I526 say approved after July cannot proceed further?

        Very stressed..

        • Yes. You can read in the visa bulletin what “C” means in Chart B for regional center EB-5. “Applicants for immigrant visas who have a priority date earlier than the application date in the chart may assemble and submit required documents to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, following receipt of notification from the National Visa Center containing detailed instructions…. The “C” listing indicates that the category is current, and that applications may be filed regardless of the applicant’s priority date.”
          Regarding what happens with pending regional center I-526, USCIS will have to decide and announce its policy. Here was the policy during the last lapse: https://www.aila.org/infonet/uscis-guidance-impact-lapse-eb-5-program

    • RC says:

      Hi Narinder
      I also got USCIS approval mid April 2021 and till now my case has not been sent by USCIS to NVC. I was wondering if you have any update on your case? Has yours been received by NVC yet? Thank you

  6. RM Lokesh says:

    Hi suzzane,

    I request you kindly to please let me know if the EB-5 Regional center reauthorization bill will be passed within 7 days( June 30) ? as there is only 7 working days left in June?

    If the bill of reauthorization doesn’t pass within June 30. Will it be passed in October 2021?

    Please do let us know, its becoming very stressful.

    What happens to the pending i526?

  7. RM Lokesh says:

    Hi suzzane,

    Will the Eb-5 regional center Expire? Will the regional center be reauthorized before June 30?

    Will it be only a short term lapse? if it lapses will it be atleast 6 months to be reauthorized?

    please do let us know

    what happens to the pending i526 filed in regional center?

    What happens to pending i526 filed as direct eb5?

    any updates on how Uscis will process the applications?

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