According to a public announcement, beginning October 2, 2020, participants in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program can generally expect to pay higher fees when filing immigration petitions through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While the agency’s specific adjustments vary based on petition, the new fee schedule for EB-5 investors reveals particularly high increases for I-526 and I-829 petitions.
Why? Because, as USCIS explained in a news statement, without the increases, the agency predicts a $1 billion or so deficit in the coming year, attributable to two heavily contributing factors:
The agency is by and large funded by the fees that applicants pay to file their petitions and other forms. Every 24 months, it performs an audit to determine whether the fees are adequate to meet the costs of operation. When factors like travel bans and legislation result in far fewer immigrant petitions being filed, the agency naturally loses revenue.
Take a moment to review the following adjustments to the fees for filing various EB-5 petitions:
INCREASE: I-526 Immigrant Petition
- Fee Prior to October 2, 2020: $3,675
- Fee Beginning October 2, 2020: $4,010
- Difference: +$335
DECREASE: I-485 Application
- Fee Prior to October 2, 2020: $1,140
- Fee Beginning October 2, 2020: $1,130
- Difference: -$10
DECREASE: Biometrics Services
- Fee Prior to October 2, 2020: $85
- Fee Beginning October 2, 2020: $30
- Difference: -$55
INCREASE: I-829 Petition
- Fee Prior to October 2, 2020: $3,750
- Fee Beginning October 2, 2020: $3,900
- Difference: +$150
UNCHANGED: I-924 Application
- Fee Prior to October 2, 2020: $17,795
- Fee Beginning October 2, 2020: $17,795
- Difference: $0
INCREASE: I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center
- Fee Prior to October 2, 2020: $3,035
- Fee Beginning October 2, 2020: $4,465
- Difference: +$1,430
Overall, average EB-5 investors can expect to pay a few hundred dollars extra in filing fees, but some will take a significant hit. While immigrant investors can partially compensate losses on an I-526 petition through lower biometrics fees, regional center owners, for instance, will wind up paying nearly 50% more on their annual recertification. Worse, this added cost comes behind a series of challenges for them. Both 2019 and 2020 have already been tough on regional center owners, with a large number of regional center terminations industry-wide.
Nevertheless, the EB-5 program remains a steadfast opportunity for foreign investors seeking a new life in the United States, as well as a viable solution to improving the U.S. economy. Many investors find the fee increases a minor inconvenience when compared to easily accessing high-quality health care and enjoying the freedom to choose where they live, work, and study, ensuring the EB-5 path to permanent residency remains a popular one.