Invest In the USA (IIUSA), the industry trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program (the “Program”), with over 260 Regional Center members that account for well over 95% of the capital flowing through the Program, recently submitted a list of 17 questions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office of Public Engagement in advance of the April 22nd EB-5 Stakeholder Engagement.
This engagement is part of ongoing efforts by the USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) to enhance dialogue with EB-5 stakeholders. During the first part of the engagement, USCIS will provide EB-5 program updates. The second part will be a question-and-answer session.
See below for the full list of questions proposed by IIUSA. To view the questions in PDF format, click here.
1. Please provide the most recent quarterly statistics for:
a. Form I-526 received/approved/denied/
b. Form I-829 received/approved/denied/
c. Form I-924 Regional Center proposals received/approved/denied?
d. Form I-924 Regional Center amendments received/approved/denied?
e. How do these statistics compare to the preceding four quarters?
f. How many Regional Center proposals are pending?
g. How many Regional Center amendments are pending?
2. Please list the processing times for the following EB-5 related Forms and how the times compared to target processing times.
a. Form I-526
b. Form I-829
c. Form I-924 for new Regional Centers
d. Form I-924 for amendments to Regional Centers
3. How many questions are currently pending in the EB-5 e-mailbox? What is the average response time for these inquiries?
4. How many adjudicators currently work on EB-5 related petitions?
5. What other personnel changes have been made at the USCIS Investor Program Office (IPO) since the last stakeholder engagement?
6. What are the major goals for the EB-5 unit in 2015?
7. What is the plan to address the backlog of over 13,000 I-526 petitions?
8. Does USCIS operate in teams by Regional Center for adjudication purposes? In other words, do you have the same adjudications team and economists review I-526 petitions filed through a particular Regional Center?
9. How much is the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) being used for the EB-5 Program?
10. To what extent does USCIS share information with other agencies, particularly the SEC, Commerce, Treasury, and other relevant federal agencies? Does USCIS have a formal or informal memorandum of understanding with those agencies or any others regarding EB-5 cases or issues?
If so, could those memoranda be made public?
11. What is the status of the Department of Commerce economic impact study on the EB-5 Program?
12. How often is the “Special Review Board being utilized?
13. What is the status of USCIS drafting new regulations for the EB-5 Program, as described in the USCIS response to the recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on the EB-5 Program?
14. How many Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOITs) have been issued this fiscal year to date?
15. What is required to “maintain investment” for I-829 purposes? More specifically, can USCIS devise a policy that allows successful projects to be sold or refinanced (i.e., not have to miss out on an attractive liquidation opportunity) before the end of conditional residence of EB-5 investors?
This is particularly important for if/when there is “retrogression” of EB-5 visa availability.
16. Is it ever OK for Regional Centers or other stakeholders to utilize the USCIS logo? If so, what are those circumstances and what are the consequences for inappropriate use?
17. When will draft guidance on policy issues that arise from EB-5 visa retrogression going to be made available for public comment?