Dec 27, 2018
Government Shutdown: USCIS Still Accepting Investors’ I-526 Filings Despite Lapse
On Friday, December 21st, 2018, Congress adjourned without reaching an agreement on a government spending deal, resulting in a partial government shutdown. There were a number of sunsetting immigrant programs relying on Congress’s reauthorization by the midnight expiration deadline, including the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program.
We previously covered what a lapse would look like based on USCIS’ guidance issued during the early days of the Obama Administration. This guidance stated that only Direct EB-5 petitions (i.e. those not relying on indirect job creation, the cornerstone of the Regional Center program), could be accepted following a lapse in authorization.
However, according to guidance from USCIS, the agency will continue to accept investors’ Regional Center-related filings, notwithstanding the lapse:
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program expired at the end of the day on Dec. 21, 2018, due to a lapse in congressional authorization to continue the program. All regional center applications and individual petitions are affected. USCIS will not accept new Forms I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, as of Dec. 21, 2018. Any pending Forms I-924 as of Dec. 21, 2018, will be put on hold until further notice.
Regional centers should continue to submit Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center, for fiscal year 2018.
We will continue to receive regional center-affiliated Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, after the close of business on Dec. 22, 2018. As of Dec. 22, 2018, we will put unadjudicated regional center-affiliated Forms I-526 and I-485 (whether filed before or after the expiration date) on hold for an undetermined length of time.
All Forms I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, filed before or after the expiration date, will not be affected by the expiration of the program.
USCIS will provide further guidance to the public if legislation is enacted to reauthorize, extend, or amend the regional center program.
To be clear, Direct EB-5 is not affected by the shutdown / lapse, as it is a permanent part of the Immigration and Nationality Act and accordingly does not require reauthorization.
At this time, there is no clear indication as to when Congress will agree on a new spending deal or when the government will be back to its full-functioning operations. We will continue to update our readers regarding developments in Washington.
If you have any questions regarding immigrating to the U.S. through investment, contact us today.