U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a process change for Form
I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, “from a first-in, first-out basis to a visa availability approach.”
“Changing our approach from a first-in, first-out adjudication process to one that prioritizes petitions connected to individuals from countries where visas are currently available better aligns the EB-5 program with congressional intent and makes it more consistent with other USCIS operations,” said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans. The new visa availability approach prioritizes petitions “where visas are immediately available, or soon available, and will not create legally binding rights or change substantive requirements,” the agency noted. Applicants from countries where visas are immediately available “will now be better able to use their annual per-country allocation of EB-5 visas.” USCIS said this new approach, which takes effect March 31, 2020, will apply to petitions pending as of the effective date of the change.