In late April, USCIS published the quarterly statistics for all application and petition form types for the first quarter (Q1) of fiscal year (FY) 2021, including the latest data from October to December 2020 for Form I-526, Form I-829, Form I-924, and Form I-924A.
However, important data points such as the number of I-526 petitions filed during Q1 FY2021 were redacted from this data release. IIUSA filed a request for this data with USCIS via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in January 2021, but we have yet to receive a response. We are preparing another FOIA lawsuit to compel the data from USCIS, citing a lack of a timely response per FOIA statute. (Click here to learn more about IIUSA’s FOIA litigation in 2020.)
With the latest statistics for Form I-829 performance, IIUSA produced this data report (members-only) to inform industry stakeholders of the latest data trends on the final step of the immigration process for EB-5 investors in Q1 FY2021.
(Figure 1 at I-829 Data Report: Form I-829 Filings vs Adjudications Year-Over-Year Comparison)
KEY DATA HIGHLIGHTS
Form I-829 Filings:
Only 205 EB-5 investors filed their I-829 petitions during Q1 FY 2021 (October 1 – December 31, 2020), a significant decline of 80% in a year-over-year comparison when the volume of I-829 filings was at a record high in Q1 FY2020.
Form I-829 Adjudications:
In Q1 FY2021, USCIS adjudicated 685 I-829 petitions, down by 14% from the previous quarter but up 54% year-over-year.
Form I-829 Approval Rates:
The average approval rate of I-829 petitions was approximately 94% in Q1 FY2021. Overall, the average I-829 approval rate remained above 90% since Q4 FY2018.
Form I-829 Backlog:
As of December 31, 2020, 9,894 I-829 cases were still pending at USCIS. Based on the current I-829 adjudication trends (on average 227 cases per month), it could take approximately 3.6 years for USCIS to clear out the current backlog of I-829 cases.