United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) recently announced it would change the way it will processes I-526 Petitions (“petitions”) for EB-5 investors.  Called a Visa Availability Approach, (“VAA”) this process will apply to all petitions filed after March 31, 2020.

During a March 13, 2020 public stakeholders meeting, USCIS discussed how the new processing will work.

Petitions filed by investors from countries for which there is a backlog/waiting list for visa availability (China, Vietnam and India), the Investor Program Office (“IPO”) will not assign a petition to an examiner until the priority date is close to becoming current for that petition.  The IPO will watch the Department of State Visa Bulletin, Table B “Dates for Filing”, and when the priority date becomes current on Table B, the petition will be assigned to an examiner. {link to the explanation of PDs, Table A and Table B}.

The new policy could have a positive impact on any children that might be close to aging out because a child’s age is frozen when a petition is filed and only begins to advance when the petition is approved.  For example, for a Vietnamese investor that might wait 6 or 7 years for a visa to become available, instead of a petition approval in 2 or 3 years which would start the child’s age moving forward, a child’s age may be frozen for 5 or 6 years.  This would allow for older children to remain eligible to immigrate as a dependent.   Although potentially beneficial to investors who have teenage children,   it will be difficult to accurately predict at what age a child might be considered safe when filing a petition.

Enterline Immigration Consulting Ltd President David Enterline has many years of experience representing EB-5 investors and can help you navigate the complex process.  If you have any questions about this VAA or the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, please contact us at info@enterimmi.com.