Monday, May 4, 2020 - How will my EB-5 process be different in light of the Coronavirus? Here is a collection of guidance U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of State (DOS) have published to help you navigate the course. Guidance is shifting every day, so be sure to check the USCIS or DOS website and consult your attorney for up to date information, but here is a quick reference to a few things you should know:
Minimum Investment Amount
If you have not applied yet, the minimum investment threshold for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is still $900,000 in a targeted employment area (TEA). Despite rumors, as of today, none of the passed COVID-19 emergency stimulus bills have included provisions impacting the EB-5 investment amount.
I-526 & I-829 Petitions
USCIS is still offering services and preforming duties that do not require face-to-face contact with the public. To our knowledge, Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor and Form I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status are continuing to be processed by USCIS. We have received approvals since limited service was announced. In addition, USCIS is adopting several measures to minimize the immigration consequences for those seeking immigration benefits during this time. They are providing an additional 60 calendar days to respond to any Requests for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Deny, Notice of Intent to Revoke, or Notice of Intent to Terminate issued between March 1 and July 1, 2020.
USCIS began accepting forms and documents with reproduced signatures on March 21, 2020, and plans to continue this policy during the duration of the National Emergency. Reproduced signatures are those scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced as long as it is a copy of an original document containing an original handwritten signature. USCIS already accepts various petitions, applications and other documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature. Be sure to retain all copies of the original documents containing the “wet” signature. USCIS may at any time request the original documents, for which a document bearing an electronically reproduced original signature was submitted. If not produced, this could negatively impact the adjudication of your immigration benefit.
Due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, the National Visa Center (NVC) is currently working with reduced staff. During this period of reduced staffing, they will not be able to answer general questions such as case status. They are however continuing to process DS-260.
The DOS has is temporarily suspended all routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates as of March 20, 2020. This includes immigrant visa appointments for approved EB-5 petitioners. They will seek to resume routine visa services as soon as possible but there is no specific date at this time. When Consular Sections resume routine services your case will be rescheduled for an interview.
Great news; EB-5 is excluded from the Presidents suspension of United States immigration. The suspension of other immigrant visas lasts 60 days starting April 22, 2020. This order only apples to immigrant visas and does not limit nonimmigrant visas, such as E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. In addition, it does not apply to lawful permanent resident of the United States, those that were already in the United States or who already have an immigrant visa that was valid April 22, 2020.
Who is exempt?
- All Non-Immigrant Visas
- Current Green Card Holders
- People in the United States
- Existing Immigrant Visa Holders
- Official Travel Documents
- and more…
Application Support Center (ASC)
Application Support Center (ASC) has temporarily suspended in-person services to slow the spread of the corona virus.
If your I-829 Receipt Notice has expired or your Permanent Resident Card has been lost or stolen, you may have scheduled an InfoPass appointment with your local USCIS District Office to obtain an I-551 stamp in your passport.Due to the ASC closure, InfoPass appointments have been canceled. Individuals who had InfoPass or other appointments must reschedule through the USCIS Contact Center once field offices are open to the public again.
I-485: Adjustment of Status
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is used by a person in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status. I-485 requires USCIS to conduct an FBI fingerprint background check on the applicant. Most applicants that require a background check will be scheduled to appear at a specific ASC for fingerprinting/biometrics. USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments.
I-765: Employment Authorization
Foreign nationals who are in the United States may file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). To process your I-765, USCIS must capture your biometrics at an ASC for fingerprinting. Please check to see if your field office has reopened before contacting the USCIS Contact Center. As of March 18, USCIS will process valid Form I-765, extensions using previously submitted biometrics and plans to continue doing so until ASC resumes normal operations.
I-131: Re-entry Permit
If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or conditional permanent resident (CPR) planning to travel outside the United States for 1 year or more, it is important that you apply for a reentry permit before you depart the United States. If you stay outside of the United States for 1 year or more and did not apply for a reentry permit before you left, you may be considered to have abandoned your permanent resident status. Re-entry permits are currently being processed; however you must file from inside the US and must attend a biometrics appointment prior to departure. Biometrics appointments are currently not available due to ASC closure.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides up to date information on entry procedures and what to do once you are home in the USA on its website. If you are a United States Citizen, LPR, or CPR this site provides everything you need to know about travel. This is a highly fluid situation. Check back regularly, to protect yourself, your family, and your fellow Americans as you travel. Safe travels and welcome home!
The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice or any type of relationship and is for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date information. This information was gathered by a non-attorney. Always seek legal advice from your own counsel before acting or refraining from acting.