In recent years, USCIS’ EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa program, which enables foreign nationals who invest a certain amount of capital in U.S. businesses to obtain visas and a path to residency in the U.S., has seen exponential growth. In FY2012, the federal agency approved over 3,100 Form I-526 petitions, a more than three-fold increase over the number approved three years prior.
Since 2009, USCIS has quadrupled the size of its EB-5 adjudications teams, and has hired expert economists dedicated to the investor program. In the coming months, USCIS plans on multiple additional staffing and resource upgrades, as part of its new special Review Board. Two full-time attorneys with transactional experience will be brought on. At the end of July, a new review board, made up of two supervisory immigration services officers and one economist, will review all pending applications for regional center designation for which denials have been recommended. Applicants will be given the opportunity to discuss their cases in-person before any final decision is made.
A new dedicated program office will be led by a new Chief of Immigrant Investor Programs, who will be responsible for ensuring the efficient administration of the program with a focus on business reality.