The Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced several actions related to the newly reauthorized EB-5 regional center program. Below are highlights.
Department of State
DOS has resumed processing immigrant visas associated with the EB-5 regional center program based on approved USCIS Forms I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur), including those filed on or before the expiration of the previous regional center program on June 30, 2021.
DOS explained that on March 15, 2022, President Biden signed a law, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, that made changes to the EB-5 program, reauthorized the EB-5 immigrant investor regional center program, and directed that certain “grandfathered” immigration benefits be processed.
Also, DOS’s Visa Bulletin for May 2022 includes revisions and new EB-5 visa preference categories. Among other things, the bulletin notes the creation of two new “pools” of visa numbers in the EB-5 category: one pool “reserved” for certain set-aside categories and a second “unreserved” pool.
The bulletin notes that the Employment-Based Fifth Preference Unreserved (C5, T5, and all others) category is Current for all countries. The Employment-Based Fifth Preference Unreserved (I5 and R5) categories are Current for all countries except China-mainland born, which is subject to a 22NOV15 final action date. All set-aside categories are Current for all countries. DOS said it may become necessary to establish a China-mainland born final action date and application filing date for the C5 and T5 categories as early as June to keep number use within the maximum allowed under the fiscal year 2022 annual limits if sufficient demand materializes.
Pursuant to the new law, USCIS announced that the reauthorized regional center program will be in effect through September 30, 2027. The agency said it is reviewing the new law and will provide additional guidance.
USCIS noted that the new law requires all entities seeking regional center designation to provide a proposal to comply with the new program requirements effective May 14, 2022. USCIS said it is not accepting Form I-924, Application For Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, for this purpose.
USCIS has resumed processing regional center-based Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, filed on or before the sunset of the previous regional center program on June 30, 2021. USCIS said it will adjudicate all Form I-526 petitions filed before March 15, 2022, according to the applicable eligibility requirements at the time such petitions were filed (that is, the eligibility requirements in place before the enactment of the new law). USCIS will continue to process Form I-526 petitions under the “visa availability approach,” prioritizing those Form I-526 petitions for investors with an available visa or a visa that will be available soon.
USCIS said it will continue to reject all Form I-526 petition received on or after July 1, 2021, when it indicates that the petitioner’s investment is associated with a regional center.
The agency also said it will continue to adjudicate Forms I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence. The agency will adjudicate Form I-829 petitions associated with Form I-526 filed before March 15, 2022, under the applicable eligibility requirements in place before enactment of the new law.