[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 6 (Friday, January 9, 2009)]
[Pages 912-913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-231]



U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2462-08; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2008-0076]
RIN 1615-ZA80

Change in Filing Location for EB-5-Related Petitions and 
Applications and Regional Center Proposals

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This Notice announces the requirement that petitions and 
applications related to the Alien Entrepreneur (EB-5) immigrant 
classification, and Regional Center Proposals under the EB-5 Immigrant 
Investor Pilot Program, must be filed at the California Service Center 
(CSC). Currently, EB-5-related petitions and applications are filed at 
either the Texas Service Center (TSC) or the CSC, depending on where 
the alien's commercial enterprise is located. Regional center proposals 
are being submitted to the Chief of USCIS Service Centers at USCIS 
Headquarters. The change to one filing location for EB-5-related 
petitions, applications, and regional center proposals announced by 
this Notice is necessary to improve the efficiency in the processing of 
EB-5-related filings.

DATES: This Notice is effective January 26, 2009 for the filing of 
Forms I-526, I-829, and Forms I-485 based on an approved Form I-526. 
This Notice is effective January 26, 2009 for the filing of Regional 
Center Proposals under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph P. Whalen, Adjudications 
Officer, Service Center Operations, EB-5 Investor Program, U.S. 
Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20529-2060, telephone 
(202) 272-8355.


I. Background

A. EB-5 Immigrant Classification

    The employment creation immigrant classification (referred to as 
the ``Employment Based (EB-5)'' immigrant classification) allows 
qualifying aliens, and any accompanying spouses and children, to obtain 
lawful permanent resident (LPR) status if the qualifying aliens have 
invested, or are actively in the process of investing, $1 million in a 
new commercial enterprise. See Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 
secs. 203(b)(5)(A) and (C), 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)(A) and (C). Their 
investment must benefit the U.S. economy and create full-time jobs for 
10 or more qualifying employees. INA sec. 203(b)(5)(A)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 
1153(B)(5)(A)(ii). If the investment is in a rural area or an area that 
has experienced high unemployment (referred to as ``Targeted Employment 
Area''), the required capital investment amount is $500,000 rather than 
$1 million. INA sec. 203(b)(5)(C)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)(C)(ii); 8 
CFR 204.6(f)(2). Also, under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, 
qualifying aliens may meet the job creation requirement through the 
creation of 10 indirect jobs. See Departments of Commerce, Justice, and 
State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993, 
sec. 610(c), Public Law 102-395, 106 Stat. 1874 (1992), 8 U.S.C. 1153 
note. To qualify for the relaxed job creation requirement, an alien 
must invest in a new commercial enterprise that is located in a 
geographical region of the United States covered by a ``regional 
center'' (defined in 8 CFR 204.6(e)) approved by USCIS for 
participation in the pilot program. This pilot program is set to expire 
on March 6, 2009. See Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and 
Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009, Div. A, sec. 144, Public Law 110-
329, 122 Stat. 3574, 3581 (2008). USCIS approves a regional center 
based on the submission of a proposal which successfully:
     Describes how the regional center will promote economic 
growth in a particular geographical region of the United States;
     Describes how jobs will be indirectly created;
     Specifies the amount and source of capital committed to 
the regional center;
     Describes the manner in which the regional center will 
have a positive impact on the economy; and is
     Supported by economically or statistically valid 
forecasting tools. 8 CFR 204.6(m)(3).
    Obtaining LPR status under the EB-5 immigrant classification is a 
three step process, as follows:
    (1) The alien must first be classified as an alien entrepreneur. 
This step requires the alien to obtain an approval of a Form I-526, 
``Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.'' See 8 CFR 204.6(a).
    (2) The alien then applies to become a conditional resident on the 
basis of the approved Form I-526 petition. If the alien resides in the 
United States, he or she must obtain a grant of a Form I-485, 
``Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status'' from 
USCIS to become a conditional resident. See 8 CFR 245.1(a). If the 
alien resides outside of the United States, he or she must obtain an 
immigrant visa issued by the Department of State (DOS) and gain 
admission to the United States on this basis. Foreign Affairs Manual 9 
FAM 42.32(e) N12. After completing one of these steps, the alien will 
obtain conditional resident status. INA section 216A(f)(1), 8 U.S.C. 
    (3) The last step to obtaining LPR status is triggered 90 days 
before the second anniversary of the alien entrepreneur's conditional 
resident status. INA section 216A(d)(2), 8 U.S.C. 1186b(d)(2). During 
this 90-day period, the alien entrepreneur must submit to

[[Page 913]]

USCIS a Form I-829, ``Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions.'' 
8 CFR 216.6(a)(1). Failure to timely submit Form I-829 or to obtain a 
removal of conditions may result in termination of conditional resident 
status and USCIS taking action to place the alien and accompanying 
dependents in removal proceedings. 8 CFR 216.6(a)(5).

B. Filing Locations

    The regulations provide that EB-5 petitions (Forms I-526 and I-829) 
must be filed with the service center having jurisdiction over the area 
in which the new commercial enterprise is or will be principally doing 
business. 8 CFR 204.6(b); 8 CFR 216.6(a)(2). Currently, the Texas and 
California Service Centers have jurisdiction to adjudicate EB-5 I-526 
and I-829 petitions. 63 FR 67135 (Dec. 4, 1998). EB-5-related Forms I-
485 must be filed at Texas Service Center (TSC), regardless of where 
the alien resides. See Instructions to Form I-485, p. 6.
    For proposals submitted by regional centers under the Immigrant 
Investor Pilot Program, the regulations provide that proposals must be 
submitted to the ``Assistant Commissioner for Adjudications,'' a 
position held at the Headquarters of the former Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (INS). However, this position was rendered 
obsolete following the abolishment of INS in March 2003. See 6 U.S.C. 
291; Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 
(Nov. 25, 2002). No parallel position is present in USCIS. In the 
absence of further guidance, regional centers wishing to participate in 
the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program have been submitting their 
proposals to the Chief of Service Center Operations.
    In an effort to improve the consistency and timeliness of EB-5-
related adjudications, USCIS has determined that it is necessary to 
consolidate such adjudications under the jurisdiction of the CSC. USCIS 
has established a unit at the CSC comprised of specially-trained 
adjudicators dedicated to EB-5 adjudications. The deciding official 
will be the Director of the CSC. By consolidating adjudications at the 
CSC, USCIS believes that it will be able to reduce overall processing 
times and better monitor EB-5-related adjudications.

II. Filing Location Change

    Beginning on January 26, 2009, Forms I-526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5-
related only), and regional center proposals under the Immigrant 
Investor Pilot Program must by filed at the following address:
    For Direct Mail:
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, California Service 
Center, ATTN: EB-5 Processing Unit, P.O. Box 10526, Laguna Niguel, CA 
    For non-United States Postal Service (USPS) deliveries (e.g. 
private couriers): U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 
California Service Center, ATTN: EB-5 Processing Unit, 24000 Avila 
Road, Room, 2nd Floor, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677.
    For a 30-day period, until February 9, 2009, Forms I-526, I-829, 
and I-485 (EB-5-related only) received by the TSC will be considered 
properly filed, assuming all other filing requirements have been met. 
The TSC will transfer such forms to the CSC for adjudication. Likewise, 
for a 30-day period, until February 9, 2009, Immigrant Investor Pilot 
Program regional center proposals received by USCIS Headquarters will 
be considered properly filed. Such proposals will be transferred to the 
CSC for adjudication. After the 30-day transition periods, any Forms I-
526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5-related only) or regional center proposals 
that are received at a location other than the address specified in 
this Notice will be rejected and returned with directions to re-file at 
the appropriate address.
    Any Forms I-526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5-related only) at the TSC 
for which no adjudicative action has commenced as of January 26, 2009 
will be forwarded to the CSC. In addition, any regional center 
proposals for which no adjudicative action has commenced as of January 
26, 2009 will be forwarded to the CSC.

III. Paperwork Reduction Act

    USCIS is amending the instructions to the Forms I-485, I-526 and I-
829 to reflect the new filing location. Accordingly, USCIS has 
submitted Information Correction Worksheets (OMB 83-C) to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction 
Act. The instruction changes will not impose any new reporting or 
recordkeeping requirements. The OMB control number for these 
collections are contained in 8 CFR 299.5, Display of control numbers.

    Dated: January 5, 2009.
Michael Aytes,
Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
 [FR Doc. E9-231 Filed 1-8-09; 8:45 am]