The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented an important improvement to its method to maintain the inventory of Form I-526, the Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. This update intends to increase efficiency within the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) by streamlining the processing of these applications. In this blog, we will go over the specifics of the upgrade and its purpose.

Overview of the Visa Availability Approach: 

USCIS utilizes the visa availability strategy to prioritize the assignment of Form I-526 applications for investors with available or soon-to-be-available visas. It mostly pertains to Form I-526 petitions filed prior to the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. The Form I-526 petition inventory is managed by the USCIS IPO through process queues, which take into consideration visa availability and project evaluations.

The Workflow Queues and the Update:

When a visa is available or will be available soon, process queues are normally managed in a first-in, first-out (FIFO) sequence under the current system. The IPO will, however, alter this technique beginning in July 2023 by grouping petitions by new commercial enterprise (NCE) with filing dates on or before November 30, 2019. This grouping will occur inside the processing queue of petitions when the project has been examined and a visa is currently available or will be available shortly. The goal is to attain higher processing efficiency.

The Purpose of the Update:

The primary goal of this modification is to increase USCIS efficiency and the processing of Form I-526 applications. Adjudicators can handle petitions related with the same NCE that share project materials and comparable concerns more effectively if they are grouped together. This method streamlines the review of overlapping cases, lowering backlog and Form I-526 completion times.

The updated visa availability inventory management approach involves three workflow queues:

The first queue consists of Form I-526 petitions for which a visa is not yet available and is not expected to be available soon. These petitions are ordered on a first-in, first-out basis.

The second queue comprises petitions related to projects that the IPO has not previously reviewed. These petitions have an available or soon-to-be-available visa. The IPO reviews these projects in chronological order, starting with the oldest petitions.

The third queue includes Form I-526 petitions with an available or soon-to-be-available visa. It consists of petitions related to either a reviewed project or a “non-pooled” standalone project (single investor). This queue is organized based on the receipt date of the Form I-526 petition, with the oldest petitions first. This queue is where Form I-526 petitions are assigned to officers for adjudication.

Petitions in the third queue will now be grouped by NCE if they are filed on or before November 30, 2019. These petitions will be assigned to officers based on the date of the earliest submitted petition in that queue for each NCE, using the FIFO process. This strategy capitalizes on the similarities of these petitions’ project papers and filing dates, allowing the IPO to increase processing efficiency, reduce the backlog, and preserve uniformity and accuracy in adjudications.

To conclude, the USCIS is dedicated to minimizing the Form I-526 backlog and processing delays. The new modification to the visa availability method is expected to make a major contribution to meeting this target. USCIS hopes to shorten the adjudication process, increase productivity, and assure justice in addressing these petitions by creating a more effective grouping system and exploiting overlapping project documentation.