USCIS has issued guidance on the EB-5 regional center program’s lapse in authorization, which expired at midnight on June 30, 2021. USCIS guidance is as follows:
“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.”
As was expected, USCIS will not be accepting new I-526 petitions associated with a regional center, and will not be approving new regional centers.
Investors who’ve already received their EB-5 visa will be glad to know form I-829 petitions will continue to be accepted by USCIS, even if they are filed after June 30.
What should investors who couldn’t file before June 30 do Now?
Many potential EB-5 investors will be disappointed by the lapse in authorization, but they shouldn’t give up on applying for an EB-5 visa. The regional center program’s lapse in authorization is almost certainly a temporary one, and it may be reauthorized in the near future. Although congress failed to reauthorize before June 30, the EB-5 program is a valuable asset to drive economic growth and there is political will to ensure it keeps running.
In the meantime, potential EB-5 investors should take this time to continue working on their petitions. By using the next few months to consult with an immigration attorney and gathering all the necessary documents to evidence lawful source of funds investors can ensure that they’ll be ready to submit the moment the regional center program is reauthorized.