LawQuest US Immigration Alert | USCIS Guidance Regarding the Lapsed EB-5 Regional Center Program

USCIS Publishes Guidance Regarding the Lapsed EB-5 Regional Center Program 

On June 30, the EB-5 Regional Center immigration program formally expired. So, what does this mean for investors? There is no definitive answer to this question.

Thousands of investors are affected by this and stake holders in the industry, including most EB-5 attorneys believe that appropriate accommodations will be made so that investors are not penalized by the expiration of the program.  However, it could be a while until these measures are put in place.

In view of the anticipated expiration of the program, the USCIS issued the update, set out below, on June 30, 2021.  From this guidance it appears that investors and their dependents in possession of conditional green cards could proceed with filing their applications to remove the conditions.   However, those with pending I-526 petitions and those with approved I-526 petitions who have yet to receive their conditional green card will be “on hold” until the government takes further action. This will be similar to how the USCIS handled things in 2018 when the program lapsed for a short while before it was reauthorized.

Approved EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Centers  

Alert: Statutory authorization related to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program expired at midnight on June 30, 2021. This lapse in authorization does not affect EB-5 petitions filed by investors who are not seeking a visa under the Regional Center Program. Due to the lapse in authorization related to the Regional Center Program, USCIS will reject the following forms received on or after July 1, 2021: 

    • Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, except when the application type indicates that it is an amendment to the regional center’s name, organizational structure, ownership, or administration; and 
    • Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, when it indicates that the petitioner’s investment is associated with an approved regional center. 

In general, we will not act on any pending petition or application of these form types that is dependent on the lapsed statutory authority until further notice. If you were issued written correspondence regarding your petition or application on or before June 30, 2021, you should review the written correspondence and respond by the due date (as applicable). Although USCIS is unable to review your response at this time, we will receive and maintain the response for review if circumstances change. 

We will continue to accept and review Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, in the normal course, including those filed on or after July 1, 2021. 

We will begin rejecting all Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and any associated Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Forms I-131, Application for Travel Document, based on an approved Regional Center Form I-526. 

We will provide further guidance to the public if circumstances change or further guidance becomes necessary.

The program has lapsed multiple times in the past but has been reauthorized each time.  LawQuest is closely monitoring this situation and will provide further updates as they become available.

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