USCIS releases new EB-5 investor forms
By Anayat Durrani
The USCIS announced on July 12 that it is revising Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, to meet the requirements of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, which changed the EB-5 program filing and eligibility requirements for investors.
Form I-526 will now be split into Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor, and Form I-526E, Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor. The first form is to be used by solo immigrant investors not pooling their investment with others and is similar to the prior Form I-526. The second form, I-526E, is to be used by investors who pool investments with one or more investors under the regional center program.
“We welcome the changes that are being put into place by USCIS in accordance with the RIA and look forward to more seamless and efficient adjudication of EB-5 applications,” says Vivek Tandon, CEO, EB5 BRICS, LLC.
New form for EB-5 investors in the regional center program
The announcement said Form I-526E was created “to reflect elements of the new regional center program,” which allows for the ability to include evidence by reference derived from a regional center’s Form I-956F.
“By statute, a potential immigrant investor cannot file Form I-526E until the regional center has filed Form I-956F for the particular investment offering through an associated commercial enterprise that the potential immigrant investor is investing in,” the statement said. Upon receival of a receipt notice for Form I-956 confirming a regional center’s filing, investors can then file Form I-526E based on that receipt notice.
“While the industry appreciates the incorporation of the "bona fides" requirement in the new I-526E, there was significant frustration amongst EB-5 practitioners this afternoon, at the lack of notice from USCIS,” says Mona Shah, head of the law firm Mona Shah & Associates Global.
EB-5 investors have two new forms to fill out with USCIS
Starting July 12, 2022, the two forms I-526 and I-526E are required to be submitted in adherence to new program requirements with a filing fee of $3,675 for each form. For Form I-526E, filing a regional center-related form on or after October 1, 2002 requires paying an additional $1000 as required by the RIA and does not apply to amendment request. A separate biometrics fee of $85 is also required for applicants submitting an initial I-526E petition.
“USCIS overlooks the fact that EB-5 differs from other immigration petitions as considerable time and effort is put into drafting detailed Offering Documents,” says Shah. “It is particularly exasperating when USCIS creates sudden changes without notice causing executed project documents to require re-drafting.”