EB-5 I-829 Receipt Notices Extended to 24 Months, But Extensions Don’t Go Far Enough
With Processing 36-60 Months, Litigation May Be the Only Option to Secure Permanent Green Card
USCIS has begun to issue receipt notices to all immigrant investors with pending Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status three months after announcing the policy change to extend Conditional Lawful Permanent Residency to 24 months upon a timely filing of a Form I-829. USCIS is issuing new receipts to immigrant investors who have already been waiting for adjudication for over 24 months, which hardly helps when the waiting line is 3-5+ years. Moreover, it appears USCIS has not yet issued new receipts to derivative spouses or children, so hopefully they are on the way.
USCIS online processing times show that it takes the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) 38 to 63.5 months to adjudicate a Form I-829. An immigrant investor is not even allowed to inquire on the status of one’s case unless the I-829 was filed before September 2016. This makes no sense, in particular nowadays when IPO does not have Regional Center-based Form I-526 petitions to adjudicate.
It appears USCIS will not adjudicate a Form I-829 unless being forced to as a result of mandamus litigation alleging unreasonable delay. In the past 30 days, it appears IPO has only adjudicated 100 Form I-829s.
For immigrant investors whose Form I-829 has been pending for more than 24 months, it is required by law to have evidence of lawful status, yet getting it is hard. One must obtain a Form I-551 ADIT stamp at a local USCIS office as evidence of lawful immigration status. This is required for international travel and as evidence of one’s lawful ability to work in the United States. Yet, USCIS remains reluctant to schedule Infopass appointments for I-551 stamping purposes creating headaches for immigrant investors and their family members. The law at INA 264(e) requires that permanent residents carry proof of resident status with them at all times; in fact. It’s a Federal misdemeanor to not have ORIGINAL evidence of status, as even a photocopy is not sufficient.
As a result, many of our clients have asked us to reach out to the courts for help with unreasonable delays and the courts have been helpful. The legal actions we file ask a Judge to order USCIS to finalize adjudication of the Form I-829 within a reasonable amount of time. These lawsuits are filed under the Administrative Procedures Act. WR Immigration has had to file numerous lawsuits against USCIS and all of the cases have been successfully resolved, either through a quick adjudication or a negotiated dismissal with USCIS that sets a schedule for USCIS to adjudicate. In the vast majority of cases, we have gotten final resolution within 90-120 days of filing the complaint in federal court.