The USCIS has updated its EB-5 petition processing statistics, displayed on the Immigration and Citizenship Data page, to reflect information about the petitions received and processed duringthe first quarter of the 2019 financial year (October to December 2018).
The overall number of EB-5 forms processed by the Immigrant Investor Office (IPO) during this period decreased significantly, from 4,941 in FY2018 Q4 to 3,116 in FY2019 Q1. The number of I-924 applications processed decreased from 156 to only 69, with I-829 applications falling from 746 to 474 and I-526 applications decreasing from 4,039 to 2,573. This has been the IPO’s least productive quarter since FY2016 Q3, when it processed only 2,093 applications.
Of the 2,573 I-526 petitions processed, 398 petitions were denied and 2,175 were approved.Thus, the percentage of I-526 petitions approved decreased slightly, from around 87% in FY2018 Q4 to 85% in FY2019 Q1. Additionally, I-829 application approvals decreased from approximately 97% to 93.5%, and I-924 approvals from around 54% to 36%.
The number of I-829 and I-526 applications received increased compared to the previous quarter, at 797 compared to 467 for I-829 applications, and 1,808 compared to 1,338 for I-526 applications. The number of I-924 applications dropped from 31 to only 19, a surprisingly low number considering the 855 currently approved regional centers should file the I-924A annual report during Q4 to remain in good standing with USCIS. However, it is possible that all filings were not included in the data.
In relation to all types of employment-based petitions, those related to the EB-5 program constitute a small percentage. For example, in FY2019 Q1, USCIS received 388,338 Applications for Employment Authorization, compared to only 3,116 for all three categories related to the EB-5 program (I-526, I-829, and I-924).
A total of 21,775 petitions remain unprocessed, a number that consists of 13,508 I-526 applications, 8,119 I-829 applications, and 148 I-924 applications.Processing times for I-526 applications have increased slightly for FY2019 (up to January 31, 2019) compared to FY2018, at 20.4 months compared to 22.1 months, but processing times for I-829 petitions dropped from 27.1 months to 30.9 months for the same period.