Top EB-5 news 2020:
The visa wait time is the question on every interested investor’s mind as we start off the new year.
From investment to EB-5 visa, how long does it take to get EB-5 conditional permanent residency?
There are several factors that could impact how long it could take an investor to receive an EB-5 conditional green card. Here’s how to figure out what your estimated wait time may be.
First, why are they “estimated” times, and rough estimates at that?
There are several steps in the EB-5 process and each takes time. Some steps have a roughly predictable time, while other steps are dependent on the investor. Then there are other difficult to predict factors to account for, such as differing estimated wait times that are purely dependent on the office/service center location.
1. Time it takes to prepare to file the I-526 Petition:
The time it takes to prepare to file an I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is highly dependent on the individual investor. While it might only take one investor a few weeks to gather their relevant documents and wire their capital to an EB-5 escrow account, it might take another investor several months to go through the same process.
2. Time it takes to receive an I-526 Petition decision (Approval/Denial/Request for Further Evidence):
To see how long it takes the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) to process an I-526 Petition.
USCIS currently provides an estimated time range of 32.5 months to 49.5 months. This is how long it will take USCIS to process an EB-5 investor’s case from the date they received the petition. USCIS says that they generally process cases in the order that they receive them, regardless of an investor’s country of origin.
Interestingly, USCIS also provides historic national average processing data for all their offices and this page reveals a much lower I-526 case processing time of 19.8 months for fiscal year 2019.
One reason the estimated time range may be much higher than the historic national average time range is because USCIS may be using this higher range as a tactic to lower the amount of case inquiries they receive.
Please note, investors may slow their processing time down and receive requests for further evidence from USCIS if they do not provide adequate evidence with their petition. Work with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney to ensure that your petition is filed on time, correctly and with appropriate documentation.
3. Time it takes to receive a visa:
The time it takes to receive a visa depends on an investor’s country of origin. EB-5 investors from backlogged countries will have to wait until their priority date is earlier than the final action date listed on the current EB-5 Visa Bulletin. There are three countries currently facing EB-5 retrogression. These countries are Mainland China, India and Vietnam. All other countries are current, meaning that they can apply for a visa upon receiving I-526 Petition approval.
Even if an EB-5 investor from Mainland China, India or Vietnam receives I-526 Petition approval, they must still wait until their priority date to become earlier than the final action dates listed on the current visa bulletin. EB-5 investors from Mainland China must wait until their priority date (this is the date USCIS received their petition) is earlier than November 22, 2014. EB-5 investors from India must wait until their priority date is earlier than May 1, 2018, and EB-5 investors from Vietnam must wait until their priority date is earlier than December 8, 2016.
Once their priority date is earlier than the final action date listed for their country of origin, an EB-5 investor can apply to receive their visa and will receive one when one becomes available.
To obtain 2-year conditional permanent residency, an EB-5 investor either files the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status or, if they’re still living in their home country, they file the DS-260. For EB-5 investors from countries without a visa backlog, their immigration attorney can file their I-485 as soon as they received I-526 Petition approval.
The processing times depend on the USCIS field offices or the consulate posts and can vary wildly from just a few months to years.
Investors waiting on their I-485 Petition may be able to gain US work authorization or travel authorization while they wait.
Tips For Avoiding Processing Delays:
- Work with a knowledgeable and experienced immigration attorney.
- Work with a regional center with a strong track record of I-526 petition approvals.
- Utilize cross-chargeability if an investor’s spouse is from a country that isn’t facing an EB-5 visa backlog. Currently, Mainland China, India and Vietnam are facing EB-5 visa backlogs.
- New York
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