i-526 Backlog benefits Latin American Investors
In late January, USCIS announced changes to i-526 adjudications, changes that will benefit the Latin American EB5 Investor:
“Changing our approach from a first-in, first-out adjudication process to one that prioritizes petitions connected to individuals from countries where visas are currently available better aligns the EB-5 program with congressional intent and makes it more consistent with other USCIS operations,” said USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans. “This new approach increases fairness, allowing qualified EB-5 petitioners from traditionally underrepresented countries to have their petitions approved in a more timely fashion to receive consideration for a visa.”
In simple terms:
This news is good news or bad news, depending on where you live.
EB5 Investors from backlogged, high application countries like China, Vietnam, India lose out.
However, EB5 applicants from non-backlogged, low application countries such as those from Latin America benefit from the current petition processing changes.
The USA dispenses a certain amount of VISAs per year to each country. Countries with higher EB5/ i-526 application rates may be going over their yearly allotment of VISA dispersal. On the other hand, countries with low application rates are not surpassing their VISA quota. So, under the new rules, if you live in a country with low application rates, your application will be processed first, up until the yearly VISA quota is filled. Here’s more:
According to USCIS:
The new visa availability approach simply gives priority to petitions where visas are immediately available, or soon available, and will not create legally binding rights or change substantive requirements. Applicants from countries where visas are immediately available will now be better able to use their annual per-country allocation of EB-5 visas. The new visa availability approach will apply to petitions pending as of the effective date of the change.
For a thorough analysis of country application rate and how they will be affected under the new process, please follow this link:
The changes to i-526 adjudication processing order went into effect on March 31st, 2020.