As of February 2014, the Investor Program Office in Washington D.C. will be adjudicating all I-924 and I-526 petitions. Overseeing this transition is Mr. Nicholas Colucci, the EB-5 Program Director. The Investor Program Office in Washington D.C. is hoping to have approximately 100 staff by September 30, 2014 and Mr. Colucci has expressed optimism that after training these new employees the processing times will be reduced. Despite a warning from Mr. Colucci that this transition may cause temporary slowdowns in processing times due to getting new employees up to speed, the most recent USCIS report shows remarkable improvement. Steps are being taken to hope that continue this trend in the right direction. This is certainly a welcome trend, but the question is whether it can continue.
As of January 31, 2014, I-526 petitions that were submitted on March 31, 2013 were being reviewed. Although this 10 month processing time is still too long, it is a far cry better than the expected 20 month processing time immigrant investors were facing in late 2013. This is great news for I-526 applicants as there had been an upward trend in processing times since late 2012.
Additionally, the newest report showed a much needed decrease in the processing times of I-829 petitions. As of January 31, 2014, I-829 petitions that were submitted on February 28, 2013. Once again, this 11 month processing time was a drastic improvement compared to what I-829 petitioners had recently been facing. The processing times for I-829 petitions followed a similar path as I-526 petitions. Beginning in late 2012, the expected processing time rose from around 6 months all the way up to 18 months in November 2013. Not too far behind was the processing time for I-924 petitions. In the most recent report, I-924 petitions were looking at approximately a 12 month processing time.
In a recent EB-5 Program stakeholder conference call that was held on February 26, 2014, Daniel Renaud, the Deputy Associate of USCIS Field Operations had stated that reducing processing times was a priority. It is encouraging to see that this is precisely what has occurred and we can only hope that this trend continues.