Today, USCIS held the first 2016 national engagement concerning the EB-5 Program. Clearly, as expressed in this summary, the Program is as popular as ever, and the September and extended sunset periods spurred many investors to apply. This is a testament to the confidence investors and stakeholders share in the existing program, in its current form.

Currently, 113 employees work on adjudicating EB-5 petitions. USCIS expects to expand its EB5 adjudicators to 171 from the current 113, by this year’s end. As of February 3, 2016, there are 21,780 pending I-526 petitions, and the average time for adjudications is now 15.5 months, indicating an increase in adjudication time-frames.

In 2015, there were 85 new EB-5 Regional Center adjudications and 9 EB-5 Regional Center terminations. USCIS has created a compliance department to increase supervision of over 800 licensed EB-5 Regional Centers. The compliance department is tasked with reviewing I-924A petitions and issuing notices of terminations, when necessary.  This year, by means of conducting site visits and interviews, USCIS intends to increase its’ supervision over EB5- Regional Centers. According to the current policy, the Regional Centers that are not operating or promoting job creation shall be terminated.

Relevant Topics raised in the Question and Answer Session:

  • For purposes of EB-5 investment, private currency exchange is accepted. Evidence of lawful source of funds is the essential requirement
  • Tax Records and bank statements are not mandatory
  • It is possible to file a I-526 petition with only part of the investment made. The investor must prove that he or she is in the process of investing the required amount of capital. No minimum amount was established to allow for the filing of an I-526 petition
  • Loans are still permitted
  • Failure to timely file form I-829 Removal of Conditions will result in the termination of the investor’s temporary green card
  • Termination of an EB-5 Regional Center does not automatically terminate an investor’s petition. This allows investors an opportunity to present evidence that the project complied with the regulations

A new USCIS EB-5 Policy Memorandum is expected to be published soon. More updates to come on the next national engagement conference scheduled for April 25, 2016.