USCIS will be unveiling and discussing the most recent I-526, I-829 and I-924 receipts, approvals, denials and approval percentages. The most interesting observation from the statistics released was the increase in I-526 receipts showing the growing interest in the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program by both developers promoting their projects to capture overseas funding and investors applying for permanent residency (these figures reflect information for only the first three quarters of 2012 so are probably underrepresented by about 25% for FY 2012). The I-526 approval percentage for Q1 – Q3 2012 came in at 79% which is slightly under the mean for figures reported from 2005 – Q3 2012.
Surprisingly, the numbers for the receipts and approvals of I-829 petitions fell by 77% for receipts and 2% for approvals. USCIS is actually showing more approvals than receipts which would not make sense except that they are counting petitions received from 2011 which were then approved in 2012. The figure to focus on is the actual overall approval percentage and that fell slightly, but is still well above the 7 year mean of 84%.
For all categories reported, the statistics were as following:
I-526 Receipts: up 9% from 3,805 to 4,156
I-526 Approvals: up 92% from 1,563 to 3,002
I-526 Denials: up 108% from 371 to 775
Approval Percentage: down 2% from 81% to 79%
I-829 Receipts: down 77% from 2,345 to 546
I-829 Approvals: down 67% from 1,067 to 639
I-829 Denials: down 9% from 46 to 42
I-829 Approval Percentage: down 2% from 96% to 94%
The drop in I-829 filings is also very interesting given the huge number filed last year and that figure should rise substantially in the near future.
The number of EB-5 Regional Centers as of 3Q 2012 is at 209, but that number is higher now.
The USCIS table below is showing 163 I-924 Receipts petitions for Regional Center designation for Q1 – Q3 2012 compared to 278 for FY 2011 (which would be about 1/3 less than the running rate from 2011). One might say the reason why Regional Center designation petitions were down from last year is the increasing uncertainty, murky adjudication process and high denial rate on petitions for adjudication and amendments from USCIS which have discouraged developers, Economic Development Councils and PPPs from applying for RC status.
Of those 30 were approved and 44 denied, so of those 2012 I-924 applications which were adjudicated (74), 44 (59%) were denied which is not a great batting average if you have just spent a hundred thousand dollars and a year preparing a petition.
USCIS has stated that they are trying to improve the process of applying for designation and clarity on the decision / adjudication & review process as well as on the speed at which those decisions are being made (some I-924 designation and amendment petitions have been outstanding for more than 18 months) and once those changes are implemented then perhaps the I-924 application rates may increase again.
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