WASHINGTON, D.C – Recent lawsuits regarding the EB-5 Regional Center Immigration Program have received successful outcomes that open the program to foreign investors who want to immigrate to the United States.
What is the status of the lawsuits surrounding the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
- Most recently, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California ruled that previous USCIS treatment towards EB-5 Regional Centers were unnecessary and unpredictable.
- Judge Chhabria granted an application by the Behring Regional Center for nationwide preliminary decision to block the USCIS from “treating as deauthorized the previously designated regional centers” and is requiring that the USCIS allow those Regional Centers, such as USIF, to be allowed to function under the rules created by the new EB-5 reform and Integrity Act.
- The EB-5 Act “includes processing new Form I-526 petitions from immigrants investing through previously authorized regional centers” which includes USIF.
- I-956 forms formerly required from Regional Centers to the USCIS is no longer required and Regional Centers with USCIS I-924 exemplar approvals and availability to accept new investors can also support new EB-5 investor I-526 petitions.
What does this mean for Foreign Investors looking to Immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
- All the existing pre-authorized Regional Centers (‘Legacy Regional Centers’) that were in business before the enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 will continue to be able to sponsor EB-5 foreign investors with applications for green cards.
- Waiting lists have decreased and the likelihood of processing applications will hopefully become more attainable.
- At the I-526 stage the investor may be considered “in the process of investing” and can concurrently file multiple forms including Form I-485 (adjustment of status), Form I-765 (employment authorization) and Form I-131 (application for employment) – all so they can live, work and travel in the United States.
It’s Time to Apply Now
- The waiting list has decreased significantly for China and India which can be seen on the latest visa bulletin.
- With the doors open for applications it this is likely to increase the demand quickly and backlogging could potentially become a hurdle in the near future.
Ultimately this is still a preliminary decision by the courts and USCIS has 30 days from the date of decision to appeal. Until an appeal is filed, the opportunity for investors to apply for green cards is currently open and will remain so until a summary judgement has been made. As indicated by Judge Chhabria’s statements in the Behring case it could be likely that the summary judgment will be the same as the preliminary decision.