USCIS Updates Guidance on the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022

On October 11, USCIS issued additional guidance on its interpretation of changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) made by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA).

Go deeper: On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the RIA as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Among other things, the RIA modified the required investment timeframes for investors who file petitions for classification Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor, or Form I-526E, Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor, after enactment and to subsequently remove the conditions on their lawful permanent resident status. The RIA also added other provisions to the INA permitting good faith investors to maintain eligibility in the event their regional center is terminated.

Key Points

Because these changes made by the RIA, investors filing petitions for classification after enactment of the RIA no longer need to sustain their investment throughout their conditional residence, which may be many years in the future and dependent on factors outside the investor’s control, such as visa availability

  • The INA now requires only that the investment must be expected to remain invested for at least two years, provided job creation requirements have been met. Although the statute does not explicitly specify when the two-year period under INA 203(b)(5)(A)(i) begins, USCIS interprets the start date as the date the requisite amount of qualifying investment is made and believes this interpretation is consistent with the statutory language.
  • If invested more than two years before filing the I-526 or I-526E petition, the investment should still remain at the time the I-526 or I-526E is properly filed so USCIS can appropriately evaluate eligibility.

Before enactment of the RIA, the termination of a regional center would have been considered a material change to eligibility for investors who had not yet obtained conditional permanent resident status and, consequently, would likely have resulted in denial or revocation of associated investor petitions. The RIA added a new provision at INA 203(b)(5)(M) that permits good faith investors associated with terminated regional centers to retain eligibility in certain circumstances. Because the statute does not explicitly specify whether it applies only to post-RIA investors or also to pre-RIA investors, USCIS is providing guidance on how it interprets this new provision for pre-RIA investors upon regional center termination:

  • USCIS interprets INA 203(b)(5)(M) to apply to pre-RIA investors associated with a terminated regional center (or debarred new commercial enterprise or job-creating entity). However, rather than strictly applying the notification timeframes at INA 203(b)(5)(M)(ii) and (iii)(I), USCIS will extend the deadline for pre-RIA investors to respond to a regional center termination notification until the agency adjudicates their Form I-526 petition. If needed, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny for the investor to establish continued eligibility.
  • USCIS may use the procedural flexibilities provided under INA 203(b)(5)(M) to extend the response deadline of 180 days for notices of continued eligibility. The extension will decrease the likelihood of operational burdens and expand the intent of the statute to permit good faith investors of terminated regional centers to retain their eligibility.
  • When a regional center is terminated for purely administrative noncompliance, USCIS may determine that the termination would generally not adversely affect a pre-RIA investor’s basic eligibility under INA 203(b)(5) (including the ability to continue to claim indirect jobs), because their investment and resulting job creation would likely remain undisturbed.
  • USCIS may choose not to extend applicable response deadlines when a regional center is terminated for substantive reasons that may affect continued eligibility of their associated investors.
Erickson Insights

For more information on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program or USCIS, please visit Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.