USCIS Proposes Significant Improvements to EB-5 Visa Processing

Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed significant improvements to the processing of the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program, commonly referred to as the EB-5 Program. The EB-5 Program was begun in 1990 with the intent to attract investors and entrepreneurs to create jobs in the United States. While this program makes 10,000 visas available annually to immigrant investors who invest in commercial enterprises that create at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers, this cap has never been met. The EB-5 investor may petition independently or as part of a USCIS designated Regional Center. Proposed changes include (1) an accelerated adjudication process, with premium processing available; (2) the creation of specialized intake teams to evaluate the EB-5 immigrant applications, coupled with the EB-5 immigrant investor’s ability to communicate with the specialty intake teams directly by email; and (3) the creation of an expert Decision Board which will render decisions regarding EB-5 Regional Center applications. This Decision Board will be comprised of an economist and adjudicators and will be supported by legal counsel.

These proposals will be available online for comment until June 17, 2011. Accordingly, interested individuals and companies are afforded the opportunity to offer feedback on the proposed changes to USCIS.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact any of Underwood’s EB-5 Immigrant Visa team, including Alan Rhodes, Chuck Mallard, Slater Elza, and Bryan Guymon.

This column is published for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

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