12
Dec

Q4 2017 EB-5 Petition Status

The USCIS Immigration Forms Data Page has posted EB-5 petition processing data for the 4th quarter of FY2017 (July to September 2017).

The good news is that in FY2017, IPO finally – for the first time since FY2009 – adjudicated more EB-5 petitions than it received during the year. That’s what needs to happen for the backlog to shrink and processing times to fall.

In FY2017, I-526 receipts were down 14% and I-526 adjudications up 31% from the previous year. I-829 receipts were down 24% and adjudications up 42% from the previous year.

I-526 receipts were down 14% and I-526 adjudications up 31% from the previous year
I-526 receipts were down 14% and I-526 adjudications up 31% from the previous year

Although I-526 receipts fell slightly in FY2017, they were still unsustainably high – enough to claim nearly four years of visa numbers if the annual EB-5 visa cap stays at 10,000. As before, the quarterly receipt trend shows filing surges around regional center program sunset dates.

I-829 receipts fell every quarter in FY2017, which is troubling. The State Department has issued the maximum number of EB-5 visas annually since FY2014, so I would expect a steady stream of petitions to remove conditions. Instead, it seems that an increasing number of people who received conditional permanent residence are failing to complete the EB-5 process. I-829 denial rates remain very low, however.

I-829 receipts were down 24% and adjudications up 42% from the previous year
I-829 receipts were down 24% and adjudications up 42% from the previous year

The most dramatic processing improvement in FY2017 came for I-829 petitions, particularly in the fourth quarter. I-526 processing has improved year-over-year, but not consistently by quarter.

The most dramatic processing improvement in FY2017 came for I-829 petitions, particularly in the fourth quarter
The most dramatic processing improvement in FY2017 came for I-829 petitions, particularly in the fourth quarter
I-526 processing has improved year-over-year, but not consistently by quarter.
I-526 processing has improved year-over-year, but not consistently by quarter.
IPO has committed to reducing processing times in 2018, and continues to hire new staff.
IPO has committed to reducing processing times in 2018, and continues to hire new staff.

IPO has steadily increased their processing capacity since 2013, and I hope that the trend will continue into 2018. IPO has committed to reducing processing times in 2018, and continues to hire new staff. (Last month USAjobs.gov posted a job announcement recruiting for “many vacancies” as Adjudications Officer at IPO. Fortunately for the poor pending petitions, I decided not to apply.)

USCIS apparently continues to refine its record-keeping system. The Q4 data report not only provides Q4 numbers but some revised figures for previous quarters and years (with variation by several hundred from previously-reported figures). The pending petition count remains a mystery. (One would expect quarter-end pending petitions to equal previous quarter-end pending plus current quarter receipts minus current-quarter adjudications, but that’s not the case.)

Blog.Lucidtex

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