As many of you have probably seen, according to the February 2020 Visa Bulletin by the Department of State, the priority date for India for EB-5 category visas for regional centers is now September 1, 2018 (February 2020 Visa Bulletin). While this is great for Indian born applicants that have either now become current or are closer to their priority date, this priority date is empty until USCIS expedites the processing of I-526 applications. Currently, USCIS has a timeline of 32.5 to 49.5 months for the application to be processed. USCIS is the government agency that adjudicates the application and the Department of State is who processes and issues the green card after the application has been approved by USCIS. Both of these agencies play an integral role in ensuring the applicant and his or her family receives their green card in a timely fashion. However, a current priority date with the Department of State is meaningless if USCIS is not adjudicating the I-526 applications in a timely fashion. It seems that the Department of State is catching up with its applications but USCIS now needs to follow suit.
In an effort to help our clients and ensure USCIS is doing its job, we are filing lawsuits against USCIS to get I-526 applications adjudicated in a timely fashion. We do not want great news like what the Department of State has released in its February 2020 Visa Bulleting to be meaningless to those individuals and families that have been patiently waiting for their green card. We want to ensure that if you have a filing and it is close to current, USCIS needs to do their job and process your file. While we cannot guarantee success on the filings, we truly believe that holding USCIS accountable for delays that are far beyond what is required by Congress is absolutely necessary.
We have been and will continue to monitor the Department of State Visa Bulletins and USCIS processing times for EB-5 applications. The new bulletin is great news in moving the finish line a little closer for the thousands of applicants from India. However, there is much more that needs to be done by USCIS to help those that have invested time and money to get the opportunity and privilege of saying they are green cardholders. If you have any questions on the new priority date, USCIS processing times or filing EB-5 lawsuits, please let us know as we are available to answer any questions you may have.