USCIS Changes EB-5 Visa Process

EB-5, Immigrant Investor Program gave a US green card to investors on a first come, first serve basis. USCIS is changing that.  Starting March 31, 2020 foreign nationals from unrepresented countries that have not used up their per-country annual visa allotment will get first priority now.

Form I-529, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor is now accessible and will be processed for foreign investors from countries where these visas are not being actively utilized. Offering the chance to access permanent residency in the US by providing adjudication of their EB-5 petitions, allows for traditionally underrepresented countries to make a fair play at a US green card. As per the new process change, Form I-529 for these investors will now be approved in a more-timely fashion to receive consideration for a visa. All other USCIS operations will correspond to meet this intent.

This came on the heels of another recent change for the EB-5 investor program. The minimum investment was upgraded to $900,000 from $500,000 in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA).

EB-5 Minimum Investments

How Does the New EB-5 Process Change Affect India, China Investors?

Per the recent numbers issued by USCIS, there are approximately 770 EB-5 visas available per country for FY 2020. These are extensively utilized more by some countries over the others. India and China take the lead by submitting more than the annual cap each year which, in turn has led to backlogs and processing delays. These investors may now end up with a longer wait period for their petitions to get approval. It will also lead to a financial strain on Indian and Chinese investors as their investment funds will remain tied up without yielding returns.

To address concerns about delayed adjudications, USCIS is hosting a public engagement on March 13, 2020. Until then, they can contact the Immigrant Investor Program Office to follow up on their pending I-529 cases.

What is the future of the EB-5 Investor Program in 2020?

Find an alternate path to get a US green card without the long wait

Important to Know

  • Although this new visa availability approach gives priority to petitioners from countries where visas are immediately available, it does not create legally binding rights or change the basic requirements.
  • The Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative continues to be processed along the lines of the changes announced for it.
  • Now all applicants from all countries will be able to use their annual per-country allocation of EB-5 visas evenly and fairly.