USCIS Issues New EB-5 Adjudications Guidance

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services is taking steps to significantly improve its EB-5 Program adjudication process by improving internal communication, streamlining application analysis and consolidating policy memoranda into a single comprehensive agency memorandum.

As background, Congress created the EB-5 Program as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 to encourage new international capital investment into domestic projects that would hire American workers. The program grants two-year conditional permanent resident status to immigrants who make at least a $1 million investment into a new or expanding business in the United States that will help create jobs, or $500,000 if invested in Targeted Employment Areas such as high employment or rural areas. The Program has an annual quota of 10,000 visas available. Just before the second anniversary, conditional resident investors must again file with USCIS and show the creation of 10 United States worker jobs consistent with the previously approved Business Plan, in addition to meeting other requirements.

USCIS’ adjudication process improvements include a new decision board that will help adjudicators reach a final decision on petitions. Department of Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas advised that DHS has hired economists and business analysts to help the adjudication team and a consulting firm to help streamline the entire process.

The agency already has introduced direct email contact between the USCIS adjudication team and petitioners from a Regional Center, which is part of a new pilot program under the EB-5 umbrella.

To give the adjudicators, the new consultants and the decision board a comprehensive policy, USCIS is creating an overarching policy memorandum for the EB-5 program to collect all of the relevant policies into one, and has recently released its first version of the memorandum.

The new overarching policy memorandum is intended to give the adjudicators a guide as they process applications, Mayorkas said, in addition to speeding up adjudication and yielding more predictable outcomes. Presently, USCIS takes about eight months to adjudicate an investor’s initial petition.

Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.