On March 18, 2020, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) closed all its offices to the public to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Nonetheless, USCIS continued to adjudicate I-526, I-829, and I-485 petitions for EB-5 investors because they do not require face-to-face contact. With the pandemic beginning to subside and the country starting to reopen, USCIS is planning to reopen its offices on or after June 4 and resume in-person services in accordance with health guidelines.
Individual offices may remain closed, so USCIS urges EB-5 investors to check its office closures page to check the status of the office in their area. Limited emergency in-person services are, however, available at all locations. Those who require emergency services should contact the USCIS Contact Center.
All visitors are expected to follow the new health and safety guidelines to avoid new COVID-19 infections. USCIS plans to reduce the number of appointments and interviews to adhere to the new guidelines, which is likely to lead to slower service than before the pandemic.
Finally, USCIS urges anyone who feels sick, even if they haven’t tested positive for COVID-19, to reschedule their appointment. Individuals who reschedule their appointment due to sickness will not incur a penalty.
Final Action Dates Move Forward in June 2020 Visa Bulletin
The final action dates for Chinese, Indian, and Vietnamese EB-5 investors have all moved forward in the June 2020 Visa Bulletin. India, which has experienced major leaps forward in recent months, continues to move ahead quickly. With a final action date of January 1, 2020, India is likely to become current by summer 2020, in line with USCIS predictions. However, retrogression is possible in the future, since USCIS has announced they are using the final action dates for I-485 petitions.
Webinar with Charles Oppenheim
On June 16, Charles Oppenheim, the chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, intends to hold a webinar with IIUSA to discuss the allocation of EB-5 visas during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar is expected to address the recent leaps forward in the final action dates, particularly for Indian EB-5 investors, as well as discuss what will happen if not all the visas allocated for EB-5 investors are issued in FY2020.