EB5 Visa Lawyer – Important Statistics: How many cases approved/denied in 2012?

Recently USCIS provided EB-5 statistics provided for a stakeholder engagement meetig, including information on service-wide receipts, approvals, and denials of I-526s and I-829s; the number of approved EB5 Regional Centers by fiscal year.

The statistics reveal an increase across the board in all EB-5 related filings including I-924 applications for both initial regional center designation as well as amendments to existing regional centers. Individuals also filed the highest level of I-526, EB-5 Immigrant Investor Petitions and I-829, Petitions to Remove Conditions to date.

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by immigrant investors by creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business. There are 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas available annually. In 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, 3,000 EB-5 visas are also set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

There are two distinct EB-5 pathways for an immigrant investor to gain lawful permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family—the Basic Program and the Regional Center Pilot Program. Both programs require that the immigrant make a capital investment of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 (depending on whether the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area [TEA] or not) in a new commercial enterprise located within the United States. TEA is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”
The new commercial enterprise must create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR).

Summary of Statistics:
* 92% of all EB-5 applications submitted to USCIS are for Investors who are investing in Regional Center affiliated commerical enterprises.

* EB-5 Visa usage has increased tremendously with 1,293 Form I-526 petitions receipted in by USCIS in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 alone.

* In fiscal year 2011, USCIS receipted in a total of 3,805 I-526 petitions. This is a significant increase from a total of 1,955 in 2010 and only 332 applications total in 2005.

* USCIS also received their highest level of I-829 petitions to date in 2011, with a total of 2,345 receipted in as compared to only 768 in 2010.

* Denial rates have also increased. In fiscal year 2011, 39% of I-924 filings for either initial Regional Center Designation and/ or Amendments were denied by USCIS. Individual I-526 adjudications also saw an increased denial rate of 19% in 2011. Interestingly, although I-829 filings in 2011 were at their highest level in the history of the EB-5 program, they only saw a 4% rate of denial.