Highlights of the Settlement Agreement Regarding the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 – An Overview by the NPZ Law Group

On August 24, 2022, the parties (the US Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS], the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], and stakeholders) involved in the lawsuit regarding the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 filed a settlement agreement (the “Agreement”). The agreement clarified previously certified regional centers’ status and other procedures for filing documents relevant to the EB-5 program. Thus, this article provides highlights of the Agreement.

Highlights of the Agreement are as follows:

• Regional centers that were previously approved (i.e., existing RCs) are deemed to be in “good standing” before June 30, 2021. Moreover, such existing RCs have not lost their designation because the Integrity Act was enacted.

• Existing RCs have to file Form I-956 as an amendment to sponsor new investors. The final date to file the document with USCIS is December 29, 2022. The document must provide evidence that the existing RC has met the required Integrity Act procedures and policies. An existing RC that completes and files this document can sponsor investors and keep its previous geographic designation area without needing to wait for approval or further showing. That said, existing RCs must submit new project plans and economic analyses to request an expansion of a prior area to contiguous areas.

• USCIS will return to its decision in its previous designation notices when adjudicating existing RCs’ Form I-956s. It will do so when judging specific issues and use attachments included in past filings to make its determinations.

A New Policy

• Form I-956Es within the Form I-956 process should have evidence of a receipt notice from an I-956F project application. However, USCIS has implemented a new policy to help manage processing delays. This policy states that EB-5 investors can use filing fee payment and evidence of physical delivery of a Form I-956F as evidence of receipt notice for Form I-956E if USCIS takes over 10 days to issue a receipt for Form I-956F. They can also then file the receipt numbers after they receive them. This policy is also applicable to I-956Fs that are filed already. For the first 16 weeks at least after the Agreement is approved by the judge, USCIS will issue receipt notices for I-956F via email.

• USCIS will consider the new Forms I-956, I-956F, I-956G, I-956H, and I-526E interim until the notice and comment rulemaking concludes. The comments deadline is October 24, 2022.

• Within 21 days of the judge approving the settlement, USCIS will publish an FAQ about it to help others learn about it in greater detail.

If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family members or if you want to access additional information about the United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to contact the U.S. and Canadian immigration and nationality lawyers at the NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at info@visaserve.com or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at www.visaserve.com