EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 2 Issue 2 | Page 12

ELIS for E B-5 Big Brother and Your EB-5 Petition by Soyini Coke The Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) was introduced in May 2012 to streamline the process of submitting petitions to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While the I-526 is the only form relevant to the EB-5 process currently accepted by the system, USCIS has a stated objective to migrate away from a paper-based model to an electronic model, much like the banking industry. The promises of improved efficiency will be welcomed by all stakeholders. However, digital submissions will have far-ranging implications beyond the obvious improvements in customer service. When weighing implications, it is important to examine why electronic submission matters and how one can adjust to meet the changing environment. Although not explicitly stated, ostensibly, e-filing through ELIS has been instituted to help address the extensive backlog of EB-5 petitions. As of the fourth quarter of 2013, there are 7,131 I-526 petitions pending. USCIS is taking 11 months to process I-526 petitions, 12