Intel & DataNorth America

EB-5 Application Volume Hits 14-Quarter High in Q4, Denial Rate Remains Elevated

Varvara Latyntseva

USCIS has released data forms for fiscal Q4 2023, which cover the period from July 1 to Sept 30, 2023. This data set concludes fiscal year 2023 and allows us to compare it with previous years. 

Here’s what the numbers tell us:

Investor form I526

Looking at the statistics for the first application in the EB5 process, the i-526 petition for a Conditional Green Card, we can see that EB-5 is application volume is accelerating. 

954 new investors filed their I526 forms in Q4. Of these, 888 chose the Regional Center program, while 57 proceeded with their own business. 

In total, 2,735 investors started their EB-5 journey in 2023. This represents a three-fold increase in new applicants compared to 2021 and 2022, when 814 and 829 petitions were submitted, respectively. 

The denial rate is down from 58.3% in 2022 to 39.5% in 2023, which is still uncharacteristically high for the EB-5 program. 

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The USCIS' processing capacity for I-526 petitions has more than doubled over the last year. In 2023, the agency reviewed 3,626 initial applications, compared to 1,415 during the preceding year. This still leaves an inventory of 12,140 pending petitions in the pipeline. 

The numbers released by USCIS for Q4 also show that processing times for investors who filed their case before the 2022 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) remain above 50 months, while 63 investors who filed their petitions after RIA got approval within a 2-year timeframe. 

Investor form I-829

Concerning the I-829 - the second application with a request to remove conditions, which is filed after living in the US for two years with a Conditional Green Card - the number of new petitions did not change notably between 2022 and 2023, numbering 1,157 applications. The denial rate did not increase significantly, going from 10.36% in 2022 to 12.76% in 2023. 

Regional Center forms 

25 new Regional Centers filed their I956 application with USCIS in 2023, and took an average of nine months to receive approvals. 

46 new EB-5 projects launched in Q4 and filed their I956F in 2023. 231 new projects have opened in the US following the RIA, 185 of which in 2023. The average processing time for I956F approval was 12.8 months. 

Migration agents and third-party promoters

The I956K form still shows inconsistencies, with 192 filed in Q4 2023, 644 in 2023, and 579 pending, with no information on any approvals or denials. So it is still impossible to guess how many third-party promoters completed their registration with USCIS as form I956K should have been filed for each entity and each professional working with EB-5 investors and in the case of any new agreements being signed with Regional Centers. 

Overall, we can see that the EB-5 program is waking up and is still able to attract thousands of investors from around the world. Clearly, USCIS is increasing its adjudicating capacity and, during the coming year, this positive trend has every chance of continuing.

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.

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Varvara Latyntseva AuthorSubscriber
Co-Founder and Managing Director , Second Wind

Co-founder and Managing Director of Second Wind EB-5, a company specializing in investment immigration opportunities in the USA.

My goal is helping and advising private individuals and their families with the process of relocating to the USA through the EB5 investment visa program, making their path easier, less risky, and more predictable.

I have been actively involved in the field of immigration for more than 14 years, coordinating immigration processes and managing our relocation agency teams.

Since 2017, my key focus has been on the EB-5 program, and the main area of my expertise. My professional background combines knowledge of Immigration, Finance, Planning, Marketing and working alongside some amazing people, both on the client and partner side.

At Second Wind, I working with our EB-5 clients, develop our network of partners in the US, and oversee marketing and management of the non-immigrant visa team.

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