USCIS on EB5, Religious Worker and Other Issues

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Service Center Operations / ISD Committee (SCOPS) recently released answers to questions posed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) service centers. These questions were from a meeting on August 20, 2008. Some of the questions addressed the “sunset” of several immigration programs. These programs have been extended in the past, often either at the last minute or, in some instances, after-the-fact. This raises questions and creates uncertainties for existing cases, as well as for future planning.

Sunset on EB5 Investor Program

Regular MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers may recall that the EB5 Investor visa program was extended until 2008, as noted in our December 12, 2003 MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Extension of Employment Verification and EB5 Programs. Thus, the program was set to expire on September 30, 2008, unless extended by an act of Congress and signed by the President. The program was extended, as the President signed the legislation on September 30, 2008.

Congress Passes Extension of EB5 Program

Congress has passed an extension of this, as well as the Conrad 30 waiver program for physicians, valid until March 6, 2009. However, as of this writing, the President has yet to sign the Conrad waiver extension into law, according to the Library of Congress (THOMAS) legislative tracking website.

Sunset on Religious Worker Program

The fate of the special religious worker program is in similar jeopardy. The special immigrant religious worker provisions also carry an expiration date of September 30, 2008. Congress has passed a bill extending these provisions until March 6, 2009. This bill has also been submitted to the President for his signature or veto. Long-time readers may recall a similar threat to this program covered in our August 15, 2003 article, Religious Worker Provisions “Sunset,” also available on MurthyDotCom.

Fate of Pending Religious Worker Petitions

When asked about the status of pending Special Religious Worker petitions, should the President not sign bills extending the program, a USCIS representative said that these cases will be held in abeyance through the end of the current Congressional session. This will allow for last-minute extensions of the program and for these religious worker petitions to still be processed.


We at the Murthy Law Firm appreciate the efforts of AILA and the information provided by the USCIS on these matters. Any developments on legislative extensions of the EB5, Conrad 30, or Special Religious Worker programs will be monitored and updates will be provided to MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.