We previously blogged that in responding to RFEs and NOIDs on a Form I-526 or I-924, it appears that traceable mail, including FedEx and UPS deliveries, are delivered first to an office of the National Security Council in Capitol Heights, MD for screening before being forwarded to USCIS in Washington, DC. We have received communication from USCIS indicating that the responses are forwarded internally by USCIS from Capitol Heights, MD to Washington, DC and that it takes the online USCIS case status system approximately five days to reflect receipt of such a response.
Additionally, the EB-5 Program office has been issuing I-924 Application approvals without issuing an RFE in certain cases. The current processing time for I-924 Applications is approximately 10 months. It appears that the new EB-5 Program Office is streamlining case adjudication, as promised by Director Colucci during the March 2014 EB-5 Stakeholder’s Call. The May 30, 2013 EB-5 Policy Memorandum specifically allows for three separate types of I-924 Applications: hypothetical projects, actual projects, and exemplar projects. The different types of projects provide for a submission of a sliding scale of evidence, with hypothetical projects requiring the least amount of detail for approval. With the new adjudications at the EB-5 Program Office, it appears that USCIS has been sending notifications to attorneys of records as well as I-924 applicants advising them when their case is with an officer for adjudication. Likewise, GT has seen a significant reduction in the number of RFEs being issued in I-924 cases. There have been a number of approvals issued for hypothetical projects without RFE if the regional center designation requirements are satisfied by the original submission. This welcome development will lead to a reduction in the RFE rate should lead to quicker processing times and more predictable adjudication standards.