Five AVS I-526s Approved in One Week - No RFEs!
The USCIS made five of our AVS EB-5 investor families VERY happy this past week by issuing I-526 approvals without RFE's. The USCIS EB-5 adjudications unit remains underfunded and understaffed (despite the promises of more resources made to stakeholders when EB-5 filing fees skyrocketed) but keeps chipping away at the veritable mountain of cases it faces. The "team" adjudication approach they adopted awhile back is obviously working as planned. As a former visa officer who all too well remembers his days facing a mountain of files, I appreciate their predicament and commend their resolve, which is all the more commendable when you consider the current mood in America toward all things "immigration"...
A few takeaways:
- After all of the GARBAGE we are seeing from EB-5 projects promising 3 month I-526 approvals, it's nice to see that the REAL "expedite request" protocol USCIS has in place still works to correct injustice: in the past month, AVS has helped two of our investors file legitimate expedite requests meeting regulatory criteria and USCIS promptly responded by granting the expedited handling to both families. To our delight, ONE of the two expedites granted just weeks ago resulted in one of this week's I-526 approvals!
- The USCIS adjudications unit is in turbo mode: AVS monitors each and every pending investor petition on a monthly basis and receives electronic email updates on all case action, so we are usually the ones who first hear about approvals. This week, all five approvals arrived via US mail to the investors or their attorneys and we found out from them. When AVS General Counsel Laura Callava checked online, she found that USCIS has been working so fast that the online case status for each approval still showed as "pending".
Since being approved as a regional center in 2011, AVS has never received a single RFE question about our projects, structures, or job creation methodologies. The only RFE's we've seen (subsequently approved by USCIS) have related to USCIS questions about source of funds. Many of those, frankly, were a bit nitpicky and unnecessary. While it's unfortunate that the EB-5 unit's continuing education has primarily been driven by all the industry hooligans lying about processing times, TEA status, and outright fraud, it is comforting to see their increasing discernment and progressive decline in avoidable RFEs.
Five wonderful families with bright futures in America and one tired old lawyer thank you kindly, USCIS. (-: