By Sonia Oliveri and Debbie A. Klis
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published its periodic performance report for its Q1 FY2021, which correlates from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020. The report contains data under the Immigrant Investor Program related to EB-5 form receipts and adjudications. The report does not provide the exact number of I-526 petitions filed in Q1 FY2021. That data has been withheld to protect applicants' privacy, according to USCIS.
USCIS adjudicated 1,123 I-526 petitions in Q1 FY2021, which represents a minor decrease from Q4 FY2020, where USCIS adjudicated 1,140 petitions. However, USCIS’ Q1 FY2021 approvals increased to 1,004 representing an 89% approval rate of I-526 petitions compared to an approval rate of 79% being in Q4 FY2020. The data shows that, likewise, I-829 approval rates remained high at a 94% approval rate in Q1 FY2021.
The next step is to increase processing times to clear the backlog of applications. The pending EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act strives to address the backlog. Additionally, with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, coupled with the presence of new USCIS leadership, it would not be unreasonable to expect higher approvals, adjudications and hopefully clear data of new I-526 receipts for Q2 FY2021.