If an EB-5 visa application is missing sufficient evidence or contains reports and records that are questionable, the USCIS adjudicating official will often issue an EB-5 RFE (request for evidence) to the applicant in order to gain clarification or additional evidence before approving their petition. The applicant has a 90-day response period from the issuance of the EB-5 RFE. If the adjudicator still does not believe there is enough evidence to prove that the applicant meets the requirements for an EB-5 visa after he/she submitted their response, the adjudicator will then issue NOID (Notice of Intent To Deny). The applicant has a period of 33 days or less to respond to a NOID.
EB-5 RFE Proliferations
If an immigrant investor or their project receives an RFE, it is not an indicator of their petition being filed incorrectly or that their project is poorly designed. It is often a strategy used by the USCIS to determine if they will adjudicate in the investor’s favor or deny their application. EB-5 Regional Centers often anticipate and utilize RFE’s as a means to better explain their project and respond to inquiry. As the EB-5 industry has boomed, the new agreements and business models must be tested, and a common way of conducting this type of quality assurance is through the process of filing a petition and subsequently responding to an EB-5 RFE. With more complex business models structuring newer EB-5 service centers, these service providers must face scrutiny from the USCIS and the possibilities of RFE’s.
Avoiding EB-5 Visa RFEs
Qualified immigration attorneys with extensive experience in managing EB-5 investors’ cases have seen enough EB-5 business agreements to understand how the USCIS is adjudicating most RFEs. The most common RFE is a result of conflicting project details in an EB-5 project. This will usually occur when a project changes its details in the middle of document preparation. An example would be if a loan was with a different bank, or the terms of which slightly changed to create conflicting information, documents in the petition would be incongruent and the USCIS will usually issue an RFE. As an EB-5 investor, it is vital that you double check all the details of your project, making sure all information is congruent and provided in full. An experienced immigration attorney will help you in the process from start to finish to save you time and money and help you avoid any complications that may arise from an RFE.
Assistance With Common EB-5 Visa RFEs
Some common topics RFEs address include: accurate TEA evidence (Targeted Employment Area) “an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate”, providing evidence that the capital invested is “at-risk”, proving business activity functions, proving investor funding, documentation of senior bridge loans, job creation, and staffing timelines. To gain a better understanding of the many details that make up RFE cases in the adjudication of EB-5 visa approvals and to get help in responding to an EB-5 RFE, consult with an immigration attorney at Johnson & Masumi. Our legal counsel will help you create an appropriate response with all the necessary documentation needed to provide a best chances for a successful EB-5 investment.