On May 13, 2014, USCIS updated the data for I-526 petitions and I-829 petitions for the second quarter of the 2014 fiscal year (January – March). This newly released data includes data up to March 31, 2014. The original USCIS data for the I-526 petitions and I-829 petitions can be found on the USCIS website.
Data on I-526 Petitions
For the I-526 petitions, there have been a few changes between the second quarter and first quarter of fiscal year 2014. Overall, there has been an increase in number of filed I-526 petitions. There is likely an increase in the number of filed petitions because investors are concerned of the possible visa retrogression that may occur before October 1, 2014. Most notably, Chinese investors comprise approximately 80 percent of the I-526 filings, so they are hurriedly filing their I-526 petitions before visa retrogression hits.
The second interesting point of note is the huge decline of denied I-526 petitions. From Q2 to Q1, there has been a 68 percent decline in number of denied I-526 petitions. This may be due to the fact that investors and attorneys are becoming more familiar with the EB-5 program and its regulations, thereby submitting more improved and comprehensive I-526 filings.
Lastly, the statistics show that even though there is an increase in I-526 filings, there has been a decrease in both the approved and denied I-526 petitions. USCIS is having difficulty adjudicating the cases at the same rate they are being filed. These statistics demonstrate and explain why the processing times for I-526 petitions has slowly increased over the past few months.
Data on I-829 Petitions
For the I-829 petitions, there was an increasing trend for all the categories: filed, approved, denied, and pending. This means that the adjudication for the I-829 petitions is becoming more active. USCIS is receiving more I-829 petitions, and consequently, they are denying and approving more I-829 petitions. The statistics for the I-829 petitions will likely change over the next few months and years since previously approved I-526 petitions are quickly reaching the timeline where they will soon be filing I-829 petitions. Current trends indicate that the I-829 petitions will continue to grow, and to ensure reasonable I-829 processing times, USCIS will likely need to train additional adjudicators for adjudicating I-829 petitions.