New Forms, New Program Requirements Announced For Entities Seeking Regional Center Designation Under EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – Work Visas


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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published two
new forms for regional center designation under the EB-5 Immigrant
Investor Program: Form I-956, Application for Regional Center
Designation, and Form I-956H, Bona Fides of Persons Involved with
Regional Center Program. USCIS said that all entities seeking
regional center designation must submit these forms in compliance
with new program requirements, which began May 14, 2022, and are
effective through September 30, 2027.

Below are highlights of related news:

  • USCIS said it will continue to adjudicate Form
    I-829
    , Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on
    Permanent Resident Status, and will adjudicate Form I-829
    petitions associated with Form I-526
    , Immigrant Petition
    by Alien Entrepreneur, filed before March 15, 2022, under the
    applicable eligibility requirements in place before enactment of
    the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.

  • USCIS said it also has resumed processing of regional
    center-based Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur,
    filed on or before the sunset of the previous regional center
    program
    on June 30, 2021. The agency 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
    will continue to reject all Form I-526 petitions received on or
    after July 1, 2021, when the petition indicates that the
    petitioner’s investment is associated with a regional
    center.

  • The filing fee for the I-956 is $17,795. (No,
    that’s not a typo.) There is no filing fee for the I-956H, but
    a biometric services fee of $85 per person is required. Filing and
    biometric service fees are final and non-refundable, regardless of
    any action USCIS takes on the application, or if the applicant
    withdraws the request. USCIS will reject the form if the applicant
    submits an incorrect fee.

  • The agency released a related Q&A and held a
    “Listening Session”
    on April 29, 2022, that
    received negative reviews.

  • Four senior members of Congress sent a letter
    on May 9, 2022, to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Among
    other things, the letter calls for DHS to confirm compliance with
    the new integrity measures required under the EB-5 Reform and
    Integrity Act of 2022 “without the need for a full-scale
    redesignation of existing regional centers.” The letter
    recommends a “transition” to avoid administrative burdens
    for the agency and “unnecessary complications to designated
    regional centers who have remained in good standing with USCIS and
    complied with the rules even during the program’s lapse.”
    The letter says, “Current guidance on the USCIS website
    requiring new regional center designations for every existing
    regional center is confusing and causing great concern in the EB-5
    stakeholder community. We believe that there should be stakeholder
    engagement and then guidance on the implementation of the
    program.” The letter notes that an interpretation requiring
    new regional center designations would “result in all existing
    investors without approved conditional permanent residency facing
    denial.” The letter was signed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
    and Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Lindsey
    Graham (R-SC).

Details:

  • USCIS alert, https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/two-new-forms-published-for-regional-center-designation

  • USCIS alerts, EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/eb-5-immigrant-investor-program

  • USCIS Q&A (EB-5 Questions and Answers, updated April 2022),
    https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fifth-preference-eb-5/eb-5-questions-and-answers-updated-april-2022

  • EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (H.R. 2471, Consolidated
    Appropriations Act, 2022), https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2471/

  • USCIS EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 Listening Session,
    https://www.uscis.gov/outreach/notes-from-previous-engagements/uscis-eb-5-reform-and-integrity-act-of-2022-listening-session

  • Listening Session remarks by Ur Jaddou, USCIS Director, Apr.
    29, 2022, https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/outreach-engagements/EB-5_Reform_and_Integrity_Act_of_2022_Listening_Session.pdf

  • Form I-956, Application for Regional Center Designation,
    https://www.uscis.gov/i-956

  • Form I-956H, Bona Fides of Persons Involved with Regional
    Center Program, https://www.uscis.gov/i-956

  • “USCIS Drops Bombshell EB-5 Q&A Hours Before
    One-Sided, Overwhelmingly Negative “Listening Session,”
    Investment Migration Insider, May 3, 2022, https://www.imidaily.com/program-updates/uscis-drops-bombshell-eb-5-qa-hours-before-one-sided-overwhelmingly-negative-listening-session/

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