Impact of USCIS Fee Adjustment on EB-5 Visa Applications

On January 30, 2024, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced, for the first time since 2016, adjustments to certain fees for requesting immigration and naturalization benefits. The final rule aims to enable USCIS to fully recover its operating costs, fostering efficiency in handling new applications.

For individuals interested in the EB-5 visa, this announcement is a timely motivation, since the fee adjustments come into effect on April 1, 2024. This development presents opportunities and deadlines that demand immediate attention.

LCR Capital Partners, known for its commitment to providing comprehensive and up-to-date information, emphasizes the importance of staying informed about USCIS policy changes. We believe that taking advantage of the current fee rates before the deadline can be a strategic move for individuals contemplating US permanent residency through the EB-5 visa.

New Numbers

Fee increases vary considerably, with fees for some visas remaining unchanged and others increasing between 2% and 204%, according to the USCIS New Fee Schedule Table.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program fees are being adjusted, as shown below:

Type of Filing Current Fee(s) New Fee(s) Amount of Increase Percentage of Increase
I-526/1-526E Immigrant Petition by Standalone/Regional Center $3,675 $11,160 $7,485 204%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $1,140 $1,440 $300 26%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with biometric services) $1,225 $1,440 $215 18%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (under age 14 in certain conditions) $750 $950 $200 27%
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions $3,750 $9,525 $5,775 154%
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions (with biometric services) $3,835 $9,525 $5,690 148%
I-956 Application for Regional Center Designation $17,795 $47,695 $29,900 168%
I-956G Regional Center Annual Statement $3,035 $4,470 $1,435 47%
I-956F Application for Approval of an Investment in a Commercial Enterprise $17,795 $47,695 $29,900 168%

Impact on Processing Times

USCIS currently has a considerable backlog, particularly for EB-5 applications. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun the fee study required by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 to meet the additional fee guidelines and processing time requirements. The law requires

DHS to set fees for EB-5-related immigration benefit requests at a level sufficient to recover the costs of providing those services and completing the adjudications within certain time frames (likely 6 months).

Will the proposed EB-5 fee increases result in better service and shorter processing? Stakeholders from immigration attorneys to regional centers to (in particular) EB-5 investors expect so—but this question is yet to be answered. We sure hope so.

Should You Rush Your EB-5 Application?

For individuals and families considering EB-5 visas, this announcement is a compelling incentive to expedite their application process. Filing before the deadline, April 1, 2024, allows investors to benefit from the existing lower fees, potentially saving up to 204% on costs compared to the adjusted fees that will come into effect on that date.

If you have already applied for an EB-5 visa by filing an I-526/I-526E form, you may consider applying for a Concurrent Adjustment of Status before the new fees go into effect.

In case you are considering applying for the EB-5 program, it is important to allocate the time needed to prepare a petition before you can file. Applying for the EB-5 visa is an important life-changing decision, and we strongly recommend acting now to take advantage of the current filing fees and save a few thousand dollars.

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