EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program participants who file immigration petitions with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will face increased fees starting on October 2, 2020. The immigration agency has announced adjustments to most of its filing fees to varying degrees, depending on the petition. For EB-5 investors, however, the new fees are generally higher, particularly for the I-526 and I-829 petitions.
USCIS is largely funded by form and application fees, and every two years, the agency launches a review to determine whether the fees adequately meet the operating costs. In a news statement, USCIS explained that if it did not adjust these fees, it anticipated a deficit of roughly $1 billion in the coming year. Significantly reduced travel and President Trump’s 2020 immigration ban are likely additional factors behind USCIS’s expected deficit, since they result in fewer immigration petitions.
The below EB-5 petition filing fees will be adjusted as follows:
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor
Current fee: $3,675
New fee: $4,010
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence
Current fee: $1,140
New fee: $1,130
Current fee: $85
New fee: $30
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions
Current fee: $3,750
New fee: $3,900
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation under the Immigrant Investor Program
Current fee: $17,795
New fee: $17,795
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center
Current fee: $3,035
New fee: $4,465
For the average EB-5 investor, filing fees have increased by a few hundred dollars. What investors lose in the I-526 petition filing fee increase they can partially compensate for with the lower biometrics service fee. However, regional center owners have been hit with a fairly substantial increase for their annual certification renewal. 2019 and 2020 have been difficult years for regional center owners to begin with, given the large number of regional center terminations the industry has been struck with.
Nonetheless, the EB-5 program remains a viable path to a new life in the United States. The fee increases are minimal compared to the drastic increases in life quality investors can expect in the United States, including high-quality health care and unparalleled freedom. Through the EB-5 program, foreign investors can foster the U.S. economy and, in turn, receive the right to reside in the United States indefinitely.