How long is the EB-5 Visa Processing Time?
The EB-5 visa has multiple steps and each one takes a different time to process. Below we will review the steps accordingly.
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EB-5 Processing Timeline
Step 1: Select either an EB-5 Direct Investment or an EB-5 Regional Center (1-3 months)
Selecting the right project may take up to 3 months and possibly longer depending on the path an investor elects to pursue. If an investor decides to choose an EB-5 Direct Investment, the process may take longer than 3 months depending on the type of enterprise the investor wants to invest in. The necessary due diligence and feasibility of the concept in starting a new enterprise along with government and/or state licensing could take time. However, with an EB-5 Regional Center, the process could be faster since there are a host of different projects offered by many different Regional Centers. Although, there may be a prospective project that an investor is interested in that has yet to accept subscribers, which may cause delays.
Step 2: Preparation of the EB-5 Petition, I-526 (1 month)
The preparation of the EB-5 petition is a delicate matter and it will take an immigration lawyer about a month to prepare an EB-5 petition for submittal. Documenting the source of funds and gathering all the necessary information requires time and patience and rushing this process could be detrimental to the outcome of the petition. Furthermore, this process could take longer depending on restrictions of money transfer from the investors home country. The investor should take great care and diligence to coordinate this effort with their immigration attorney in order to avoid delays or possibly a denial.
Step 3: Review of EB-5 petition by USCIS and required time for visa processing (18-24 months)
Once the EB-5 Petition has been submitted to USCIS, a decision will be rendered in approximately 18-24 months. Please note, that is date may vary from month to month. If the EB-5 petition is approved, the EB-5 Capital will be released from the Regional Center’s escrow account to be deployed in the designated EB-5 project.
EB-5 Priority Date
When the EB-5 petition is received by USCIS, the date on which it was received will be the priority date. The EB-5 priority date is important because it can affect on when a visa becomes available. Each month, the Department of State posts the visa bulletin, which lists the final action dates based on the type of green card each individual is pursuing broken down by country. The EB-5 priority date that the investor receives has to match or pass the final action date in that category.
Each country is different, and depending on the investors home country, this can be the shortest or longest part of the EB-5 visa processing time. For example, if too many people from a particular country have filed EB-5 petitions, then the final action date will move slower each month and potentially go backward. USCIS will not process your petition until your EB-5 priority date becomes current.
Step 4: Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status (6-12 months)
Depending on where you are, this timing will vary significantly. If the investor is in the United States, then the investor can file form I-485, adjustment of status. This may take up to 12 months or even longer depend on how backlogged USCIS is. If the investor is outside of the United States, then the investor will need to go through Consular Processing and file form DS-260. This process may also take up to 12 months or possibly longer. Once the investor has been issued a visa to enter the United States, they can travel to the US. Shortly thereafter the investor will receive a conditional green card, valid for 2 years after they enter the United States.
Step 5: Obtaining a Permanent EB-5 Green Card, Form I-829
After a period of 21-24 months of obtaining the conditional green card, the investor can file form I-829 to remove the conditions on the green card. The investor will need to evidence the creation of the 10 jobs. This process can take up to 24 months and may vary depending on how backlogged USCIS is.
Step 6: Citizenship
The investor can apply for Citizenship, form N-400, five years after receiving the conditional green card. This process may take up to 8 months.