Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently published a notice on proposed changes to USCIS’ fee schedule for the EB-5 Regional Center Program.
Key Highlights of the Proposed USCIS Fee Changes:
- Annual Form I-924A Filing: $3,035 fee – – Additional new fee for all existing Regional Centers
- Form I-924 Application Filing: Increase from $6,230 to $17,795 – – For New Regional Center Designation or Amendment (including Amendment to Geographic Coverage, Project Exemplar Application)
- Form I-526 Petition Application: Increase from $1,500 to $3,675
- Form I-829 Petition Application: No change (still $3,750)
A Few Thoughts our Team has on Value Add Strategies before Any Proposed USCIS Fee Changes go into Effect:
- If you are considering filing a Regional Center, file it now. The fee will be over 3x the current amount in the future ($6,230 to $17,795)
- If you are considering expanding your existing Regional Center through an amendment, file the amendment now and do not delay
- If you have an existing Regional Center, you should confirm that you are fully compliant with any potential regulations to keep your Regional Center in good standing. In the event of an avoidable Regional Center termination, applying for a new Regional Center in the future will be much more expensive.
It isn’t clear these will be the final fees implemented by USCIS, but in the event that these fees are implemented there are several recommended actions Regional Center operators and EB-5 project sponsors can take in the near future before fees go into place.
Starting from yesterday, there will be a minimum 60 days for the public to comment before any changes go into effect.
There is good news and bad news with these proposed changes.
Good News: (i) there is time to prepare for these changes and take the appropriate actions to avoid increased fees where possible, and (ii) the ongoing fees associated with existing Regional Centers are much more reasonable than previously contemplated in prior legislation, and (iii) ideally this should enable USCIS to operate more efficiently and provide more consistent and reasonable processing times.
Bad News: It will be more expensive to start, maintain, and file projects for Regional Centers going forward.
Official USCIS Fee Announcement
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to adjust certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees charged by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS conducted a comprehensive fee review, after refining its cost accounting process, and determined that current fees do not recover the full costs of the services it provides. Adjustment to the fee schedule is necessary to fully recover costs for USCIS services and to maintain adequate service. DHS proposes to increase USCIS fees by a weighted average of 21 percent and add one new fee. In addition, DHS proposes to clarify that persons filing a benefit request may be required to appear for biometrics services or an interview and pay the biometrics services fee, and make a number of other changes.