During the EB-5 Stakeholder Conference, USCIS indicated that the availability of premium processing service for the adjudication of any type of I-526 petitions (Regional Center based EB-5 petitions as well as stand-alone EB-5 petitions), will not be forthcoming in the immediate future.
USCIS Director Mayorkas indicated that they first intend to implement premium processing for petitions to create new Regional Centers (Form I-924). After premium processing is successfully implemented for these types of cases, then USCIS will turn their attention to trying to implement premium processing for EB-5 investors. The main reason this is postponed is that USCIS does not have a sufficient number of trained adjudicators. Mayorkas indicated they have hired more adjudicators and are in the process of training them.
USCIS also released various statistics for the EB-5 program. For the first 3 quarters of the Fiscal Year 2011, they received 2,608 petitions (up from 1,955 for all of 2010). So far there is an 82% approval rate for the I-526s (999 approvals, 224 denials), which is down from the 89% approval rate in 2010. For the I-829 petitions (filed 2 years after obtaining the I-526 approval to remove conditions on the green card), there is a 93% approval rate for the first 3 quarters of 2011 (436 approvals, 34 denials). This is up significantly compared to the 83% approval rate in 2010.
USCIS also acknowledged that actual processing times are much longer than the posted processing times. They are reviewing processing times for the EB-5 program and should update the website when the review is complete.