Visa Processing and I-829 investigation

Visas cannot be issued to regional center applicants while the regional center program is expired, but processing steps short of visa issuance can theoretically be taken, if USCIS and Department of State are willing. USCIS appears to be doing nothing with pending regional center I-485, but Department of State confirms that it is still working on regional center visa application documents — at least for now. The following Q&A is transcribed from minute 17:30 of the Youtube Chat With Charlie for the September 2021 Visa Bulletin.

Q: Is NVC still processing the documents that are being submitted by R5 and I5 applicants who were previously contacted despite those preferences having expired as of June 30?

A: The answer is yes, at this time the National Visa Center has not implemented any type of changes and continues to be processing the cases submitted by R5 and I5 applicants who were previously contacted. These procedures remain under constant review and they may need to be changed if Congress does not authorize an extension of the I5 and R5 categories in the future.

[September 7, 2021 Update: I’m told that NVC has started sending emails with this content, contradicting what Oppenheim said in the chat.

“The EB-5 category pilot program has expired as of June 30, 2021, for applicants seeking a visa under the Regional Center Program.
This includes the following visa categories:

  • I5, for an investor Pilot Program in a targeted area
  • R5, for an investor Pilot Program not in a targeted area

The National Visa Center (NVC) will not act on any new or pending EB-5 visa petitions as described above until further notice. Please do not submit any additional fees or forms to NVC.

If this visa program is extended by Congress, new notification letters will be sent to all case parties. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when a decision will be made. All previously submitted fee payments will remain valid if this program is extended in the future.”]

Other insights from the September and August Chats with Charlie: USCIS is expected to use the Dates for Filing chart for all EB categories in October 2021, no EB categories that aren’t already current are expected to become current in FY2022, Vietnam EB-5 is expected to remain Current throughout FY2022, and only China is expected to have a Final Action Date for EB-5 in FY2022. Mr. Oppenheim stated that he is moving dates based on the numbers theoretically available, despite the pandemic restricting visa issuance in practice. He noted the large EB visa limit for FY2022 (262,288, which would mean a record 18,622 visas theoretically available to EB-5), and also: more numbers available doesn’t necessarily mean more visas can be processed, considering staffing constraints and on-going COVID-19 restrictions.

With the USCIS Investor Program Office currently having little to do but work on Form I-829, I’m trying to find out whether they are, indeed, working on I-829, and more about the I-829 inventory. If you have a Form I-829 pending, or recently approved or denied, could you share a couple details about your case status and experience? I have set up a quick Google Form. (Or if you’d like to share info outside the form, just email me at, or Telegram to 626.660.4030.) Thanks!

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

6 Responses to Visa Processing and I-829 investigation

  1. Lui says:

    Congrats and thank you very much for your initiative.

  2. waitingi485 says:

    Do R5 and I5 applicants same as EB5 RC applicants?
    If so, My RFE documents were received on 12th July but there has been no update yet on my case.

  3. Peter says:

    It would be more interesting to get infos from investors since how many months they are waiting to get adjudicated of their I-526. Just to make it clear that the advertised 14 months are not the reality. Also great to have it for the congressmen. Hope it can be collected without a Google Form, not transparent enough.

    • Charlie says:

      Peter, you may download a free app called “CASE TRACKER FOR USCIS” @Apple Store. You can then search up to 500 cases after adding your receipt number. Once you have the results you can then filter them by process type i.e I-526, I-829, etc. You can also see a graph indicating approvals, denials, RFEs by process type. This first step will give you evidence if your own petition is behind compared to others who have filed for I-526 around the same date you have.
      You may also decide to further research by adding a receipt number from, let’s say 24 months prior to your receipt date, and see what the system shows you. Please note that the first three letters of a receipt number indicates the USCIS service center which is processing the petition. The next two digits represent the fiscal year in which USCIS received the petition. The next three digits represent the computer workday on which the receipt was processed and the fee was taken. Finally, the last five digits are used to identify uniquely the petition filed. My observation has been that these are sequential numbers which are issued as cases are being processed at the intake facility. Cases filed together are often given sequential (or close to sequential) numbers for the last five digits (and overall).
      Hope it helps!

  4. Lui says:

    Hey Suzanne, just wondering if you have some update to share regarding “I-829 investigation”. Thank you very much.

  5. Charlie says:

    Starting Sept. 4, 2021, USCIS is extending the time that receipt notices can be used to show evidence of status from 18 months to 24 months for petitioners who properly file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. They are making the change from 18 to 24 months to accommodate current processing times for Form I-829, which have increased over the past year.
    Conditional permanent residents who properly file Form I-829 will receive a receipt notice that can be presented with their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card), as evidence of continued status for up to 24 months past the expiration date on their Green Card, while their case remains pending with USCIS.
    Additionally, USCIS will issue new receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who properly filed their Form I-751 or Form I-829 before Sept. 4 and whose cases are still pending. Those receipt notices will also serve as evidence of continued status for 24 months past the expiration date on their Green Card.
    It is good to see common sense prevailing and this small step will significantly improve many lives. That said, the ideal extension should have been at least 36 months (current minimum processing time) as many conditional green card holders will continue to be in nowhere’s land, with no evidence of lawful status.
    Hope they can revisit the subject soon.

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