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July 18 2012

Expediting EB-5 Investor Green Cards and Regional Center Applications

The USCIS announced a proposed new rule that will allow expediting many, but not all, EB-5 investor green card petitions. The proposal also includes applications for regional center designation and their amendments for new projects.

The May 19, 2011 announcement only applies to investments involving a “shovel ready” project that is about to be constructed (as opposed to a hypothetical project).

Under the proposal (it is not yet in effect), one can pay a premium processing (expedite) fee, the amount of which is not yet announced by the USCIS, and have the application reviewed in a few weeks. The decision may be an approval, or a request for more evidence, or a notice of intent to deny the application.

Developers and financiers setting up regional centers will also be afforded the opportunity to have a telephone hearing to resolve questions the USCIS may have. The hearing will be before a board comprised of a USCIS officer and an economist assisted by a government attorney. The hearing is intended to quickly identify and resolve issues.

This is a breath of fresh air if the program is implemented and cases proceed timely. With most seeking the expedited processing the system may not run as smoothly as one would hope.

I will keep you posted on developments of this new procedure.