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I-526 RFEs/denials/delays


I-526 immigrant petitions are submitted to California Services Center (CSC). Their stated goal is to try to adjudicate I-526 petitions within 6 months. One obvious way to avoid RFE in I-526 is to anticipate potential areas of RFEs before you submit your I-526 petition and just submit enough documents to establish the requirements: in other words, do not submit all kinds of unnecessary documents that have nothing to do with the I-526 requirements.

Recently, there is another way -- although costly and time-consuming -- that can help you avoid RFE for I-526 submission: advance pre-approval of the EB-5 project. This may be particularly advisable for a very large EB-5 project.

Most RFEs can be overcome, but sometimes, RFE issues that involve the regional center program or project (as opposed to the investor issues) may not be so easy to resolve. If these issues cannot be resolved through RFE channel, it may be better to just withdraw I-526 petition and refile rather than fight CSC via MTR and/or AAO appeals.

Generally speaking, AAO will almost "never" reach a different conclusion than the one reached by USCIS, although AAO may apply different reasonings. I believe one panelist during one of AILA's EB-5 seminar stated that out of all AAO decisions, AAO never overturned USCIS' final decision.

I-526 denials are not fatal, as you can always withdraw the filed I-526 petition, correct the problem areas and resubmit the case. Of course, you may lose valuable time, filing fee and effort . . .

Lastly, due to longer delays by USCIS in adjudicating I-526 petitions, some RCs are forced to file mandamus actions against USCIS because all other methods are proving useless. It's pretty sad when one has to file a mandamus action against USCIS on I-526 cases which requires high filing fees and are supposed to be adjudicated quickly.