January 29, 2020 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a change for Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor) from a first-in, first-out basis to a visa availability approach. This change will allow for prioritization of petitions associated with individuals from countries where visas are currently available.
USCIS Deputy Director, Mark Koumans, stated that “This new approach increases fairness, allowing qualified EB-5 petitioners from traditionally underrepresented countries to have their petitions approved in a timelier fashion to receive consideration for a visa.”
This new approach will give priority to petitions where visas are immediately or soon available, without creating legally binding rights or changes to 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. These changes will be applied to petitions pending as of the effective date of the change, which is March 31, 2020.