USCIS has begun implementing the first phase of a series of enhancements to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program initially proposed in May of this year. The enhancements were intended to respond to stakeholder concerns about the complex EB-5 process and to facilitate the realization of the Program’s full job-creation potential.
 
As of September 13, 2011, applicants with pending applications for Regional Center designation (“I-924 Applications”) are now able to communicate directly with USCIS adjudicators via email. Upon filing an I-924 Application, applicants will be provided with a unique email address, which can be used to ask questions and discuss issues related to their pending applications. Additionally, USCIS will use the new email system to informally ask for clarification of issues that arise during the adjudication process. USCIS has also stated that, although it will not issue formal Requests for Evidence (RFE) and Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID) via email, it may send courtesy copies of such notices to applicants and their representatives via email. In order to communicate with USCIS via the direct email process, representatives must include their email addresses on the Form G-28.

Some of the other proposed changes to the EB-5 Program include the prioritizing of applications presenting “shovel-ready” business projects, as well as the creation of Specialized Intake Teams. These teams will be comprised of economists, business analysts, adjudicators, and legal counsel and will handle initial intake and review of I-924 applications. In addition, USCIS intends to make the Premium Processing Service available to I-924 applicants, offer accelerated target processing times, and offer in person or telephonic interviews to recipients of Notices of Intent to Deny.

The full memorandum detailing the proposed changes, as well as questions and answers related to the direct email process, can be found at www.uscis.gov.