Currently, there is a belief that rural projects will receive priority processing; however, USCIS has not defined what this means and how it will affect the overall processing timeline. On the contrary, USCIS has defined that petitions with an already reviewed project will move into a different line than those projects that have not been previously reviewed. On October 19, 2022, USCIS stated:

“The third queue contains I-526 petitions that have an available (or soon to be available) visa and either a reviewed project or “non-pooled” (single investor) standalone project. This queue is organized by receipt date of the I-526 petition (from oldest to newest). This is the queue from which Form I-526 petitions are assigned to officers for adjudication. Petitions are generally assigned to officers in first-in, first-out order.”

The Four Seasons New Orleans project is a “reviewed project.” It is exemplar approved. Under Section C.2.b of the settlement agreement, USCIS agreed to give deference to previously exemplar approved projects. USCIS only required proof of compliance with new components of the RIA like securities, etc. The settlement also states under B.2b. that “investors in projects sponsored by Previously Approved Regional Centers [like the Four Seasons New Orleans project] need not wait for approval of Form I-956 in order to file and receive adjudication on any other Forms [such at the I-526e].” (emphasis added). This means that investors in the Four Seasons New Orleans project should be placed in a different line and receive faster processing. Moreover, since the project documents have already been reviewed, USCIS only needs to review investor Source of Funds documents – minimizing risk of project denial.

For more information on the benefits of exemplar approved projects or the Four Seasons New Orleans project, please email us at