USCIS Asks Regional Centers To Still File Annual Certifications
Even though statutory authority for the EB-5 regional center program lapsed on July 1, 2021, USCIS recently updated its guidance to clarify that it still will accept and review annual certifications for Fiscal Year 2021. Generally, these annual certifications are filed by regional centers on or before December 31st following the end of each fiscal year. USCIS requires regional centers to submit these forms to demonstrate that the regional center maintains eligibility for USCIS designation as a qualified regional center and that it remains compliant with EB-5 regulations.
USCIS previously stated that it would not accept any new Form I-526 Immigrant Petitions or Form I-924 Applications for Regional Center Designation during the program’s lapse. It stated further that it would hold in abeyance, i.e. not review or make a decision on, any investor’s I-526 Petition or I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status. USCIS further stated it would reevaluate its hold after December 31, 2021 if Congress had not yet passed EB-5 reauthorization. It is positive that USCIS will continue to accept and review regional center annual certifications to continue to monitor regional center compliance. See USCIS full guidance here.
To date, Congress has not yet passed reauthorization for the EB-5 regional center program. The EB-5 industry anticipates that Congress will reauthorize the regional center program on or before February 18, 2022 when Congress is expected to pass the annual omnibus appropriations bill. Behring has previously been invited to review and comment on the draft bill, which also provides for grandfathering existing investors among other features and protections for EB-5 investors to ensure a more robust and sustainable EB-5 program. We will continue to update on the progress for EB-5 reauthorization.