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Is there a premium processing alternative available through the USCIS for EB5 regional center applications?

Is it possible that my regional center application may be fast-tracked by the USCIS in exchange for an elevated processing fee?

Answers

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, there is no premium processing available.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This issue needs to be addressed in detail. The short answer to this question is that USCIS cannot fast-track your application for an elevated processing fee, because there is no premium processing. However, there are instances when an expedited processing procedure can be undertaken by USCIS, but it is on a case-by-case basis. The expedited processing does not operate like the premium processing, which requires USCIS to issue an order within 15 days upon petitioner''s payment of certain premium processing fee (for example, in H1-B premium processing requires payment of an additional $1,000, in addition to the regular filing fee). The expedited processing does not involve any fee; in fact, an applicant only needs to justify why its application should be given expedited processing. In the last few years, USCIS tossed around the idea of a generally applicable premium processing procedure for EB-5 cases even as late as 2011, but it has never put the idea into operation because of the unique nature of EB-5 cases. With regards to the current USCIS expedited processing procedure, an application can still be expedited if it meets at least one of the following 7 guidelines: 1) A risk of severe financial loss to either the prospective immigrant or the company/project receiving the immigrant''s investment. 2) Extreme emergencies situation exists that necessitate expedited processing of the application. 3) Humanitarian situation of the EB-5 project in question warrants that the application for the project be given an expedited processing. 4) If a non-profit organization makes the request, particularly if the EB-5 project in question will benefit and/or further the cultural and social interests of the United States. This should not be confused with a discretionary request, and the non-profit organization must have been designated as such by the Internal Revenue Service; in essence, the organization must be a 503(c)non-profit organization. 5) If a government entity makes the request for an EB-5 project that specifically involves both the Department of Defense or National Security Interest situation and any delay may be detrimental to the U.S. 6) If the delay is caused by USCIS error. Thus, the expedited request is to prevent further delay as a result of the pre-existing USCIS error before the expedited request is made, and the request must be intended to recover the time lost as a result of the USCIS error. The applicant has to be able to document, and USCIS have to be convinced that it made, the error and that such error warrants expedited processing of the EB-5 application in question. 7) If USCIS''s compelling interest is involved. This is clearly a higher standard to meet as USCIS have to be convinced, just as in reason six. Advisably, applicants should request expedited processing if they can justify their positions with any of the above seven stated bases. Finally, if applicants believe they can meet one or more of the above seven grounds, the chance their EB-5 applications can be given expedited processing by USCIS is pretty high.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no premium application process to expedite the processing of the application for regional center designation. However, you can prove statutory stated reasons for expediting the process and, if accepted by the USCIS, then your application for regional center designation will be adjudicated and hopefully approved faster.

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    Rohit Kapuria

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, there is not. The only alternative is if your regional center project is: a) an actual/exemplar project, and b) qualifies under USCIS''s strict standards for expedite processing. Note, as to the latter, the standards are discretionary and must be related to an emergent situation, humanitarian situation, severe financial loss, etc. Bottom line, it is very difficult to qualify for expedite processing.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    We all wish we had this premium processing option for EB-5. Although USCIS has proposed instituting this for the last 3 years, I don''t think it is likely to happen any time soon. I hope I am wrong.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No. Unfortunately, there is no premium processing option. USCIS gave this much discussion and thought, but realized that they were ill-equipped to give this option. Cases can be expedited under very limited circumstances.

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    Neville M Leslie

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, just standard processing.

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