June 30, 2021 Newsletter Powered by ABIL

EB-5 Program Set to Expire June 30, Outlook is Uncertain in Short Term

The EB-5 regional center program, under which foreign investors indirectly finance projects in the United States in exchange for green cards, is set to expire on June 30, 2021. Whether Congress will be able to reach agreement on a plan to extend it remains uncertain, at least in the short term. The program’s regional centers have funneled billions of foreign investor dollars into large projects such as City Pier A in Battery Park, New York; Hudson Yards in New York City; and the revitalization of Cleveland, Ohio’s riverfront.

A bill proposed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) would restructure the program. Some in the industry support the proposal as a way of avoiding the program’s expiration, while others support shortening the EB-5 program’s reauthorization period or making other compromises. However, some developers want to make it easier to raise money and indicated they would not support any bill that doesn’t do that. The program has taken other hits in recent years, such as a regulation that raised the minimum investor contribution from $500,000 to $900,000.

Even if the EB-5 regional center program expires, the direct EB-5 program, under which investors invest in their own projects, would continue.

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USCIS Clarifies Evidence Requirements for Adjustment Under Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 17, 2021, that it is updating guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding eligibility for adjustment of status under Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF). The updated guidance clarifies what evidence an applicant may submit to establish Liberian nationality when applying for adjustment of status under LRIF.

The updated guidance includes examples of secondary evidence that could support an applicant’s claim of Liberian nationality, as part of the totality of the evidence; for example, expired Liberian passports, baptismal records or other religious documents, school records, and medical records. USCIS said it will evaluate all evidence an applicant provides, including the applicant’s testimony during an interview, to evaluate their eligibility for adjustment of status.

USCIS will accept properly filed applications from LRIF applicants until December 20, 2021.

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Vermont Service Center Address Changes

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of June 25, 2021, the Vermont Service Center will no longer receive any incoming mail at the St. Albans, Vermont, facility, which is being decommissioned.

Mail sent to the previous address will be forwarded for one year, but any mail sent to the previous addresses after June 2022 may be returned to the sender by the U.S. Postal Service or the courier service used.

A chart in the USCIS alert lists the updated addresses. The alert states that senders should continue to use the St. Albans addresses in the chart under “Previous Address” through June 24, 2021.

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USCIS Allows Resubmission of Certain FY 2021 H-1B Petitions Rejected or Closed Due to Start Date

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on June 23, 2021, that it will accept resubmitted fiscal year (FY) 2021 H-1B cap-subject petitions that were rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020.

Those whose FY 2021 petitions were rejected or administratively closed solely because the petition was based on a registration submitted during the initial registration period, but the petitioner requested a start date after October 1, 2020, may resubmit that previously filed petition, with all applicable fees, at the address provided in the USCIS alert. Such petitions must be resubmitted before October 1, 2021, USCIS said. If properly resubmitted, the agency will consider the petition to have been filed on the original receipt date.

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Flexibilities Extended for Responding to Certain USCIS Requests

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending to September 30, 2021, the flexibilities it announced on March 30, 2020, to assist applicants, petitioners, and requestors responding to certain requests, including:

  • Requests for Evidence
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14)
  • Notices of Intent to Deny, Revoke, or Rescind
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate (regional centers)
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

In addition, USCIS will consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if (1) the form was filed up to 60 calendar days from the issuance of a decision USCIS made; and the agency made that decision from March 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021. USCIS said it will consider a response to the above requests and notices received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice before taking any action. Additionally, the agency will consider a Form N-336 or Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision before taking any action.

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