The USCIS has recently announced a reallocation of resources in a dedicated effort to improve the efficiency of the EB-5 application process. In a December 3, 2012 stakeholders engagement, USCIS Director Mayorkas released plans to establish an EB-5 program office in Washington D.C. The new office will replace the California Service Center in administering the EB-5 immigrant investor program. This program office is expected to open within six months.
A new position, the Chief of Immigrant Investor Programs, will be established to head the program office. The office will also house a newly-formed special review board consisting of two Supervisory Immigration Services Officers and an economist. The special review board will review all pending applications for regional center designation in which denial has been recommended. Applicants will also have the opportunity to communicate directly in-person with the board before a final decision is rendered.
The creation of this office represents a significant realignment of USCIS resources and demonstrates USCIS’ continued commitment to improving the EB-5 program. As noted in previous posts, processing times for the various applications generally take eight to ten months. In his comments, Director Mayorkas expressed his hope that the adjudication time will be reduced to three to four months. Looks like somebody had access to my EB-5 Wishlist for 2013 a little early. (Unfortunately, however, wishes for premium processing will remain on hold. In the same meeting the Director commented that issues involved in EB-5 adjudication are currently too complex to be resolved within fifteen days.)
Please note that until further details are released, investors should continue to file their petitions with the California Service Center.
By Kate Kalmykov and Bryan Flannery