Expected Timeline For the EB-5 Investor Visa Application Process
In the last 2 years the number of people that have decided to participate in the United States EB-5 Investor Visa program has more than tripled, with just under 4,300 applications being filed in 2009. Additionally we have seen dramatic growth in available EB-5 Regional Center projects that have become available for these applicants to choose from with the number of these Regional Centers more than doubling in the last 4 months to now exceed 80 available EB-5 projects.
With such explosive growth in the number of applications, as well as the number of choices of which to invest the natural question would be, “Just how much time should I expect the EB-5 application process to take?” Keep in mind that the processing visa consultancy timelines for any application filed for immigration is always an issue of concern. These timelines will always vary depending upon the sheer number of applicants being processed at nUSCIS or at the respective Consulates around the globe. It is also easy to understand that when an individual is investing such a large amount of money (as is required for an EB-5 investment) that the natural expectation would be for this to be processed immediately.
It is important to understand that for the timeline for the EB-5 Investor Visa and to manage your expectations for the processing time, which could be between 6-12 months from start to finish (this being when you are awarded your “conditional” green card). Many items must be clarified and researched during this time period and receiving your conditional green card in this time frame would be dependent on your application being filed correctly the first time, with no additional requests for evidence (often referred to as an RFE) coming from USCIS. This is why it is so important to make sure you are working with a qualified Immigration Attorney as well as an independent EB-5 Consultant.
Once the foreign investor has identified which one of the available 80+ Regional Center projects that they would like to invest their money with, they then have a specific timeline of events to follow which will assist in making sure this is a smooth process. You should begin with a full review of the “offering statement” from the Regional Center, it is also highly recommended that you engage with an EB-5 Consulting Service that will provide you with an in-depth “due diligence” research report on the prospective Regional Center. This research report should provide you with all the detailed information needed to make an educated decision on your EB-5 investment. Once you have thoroughly researched the EB-5 project and you have determined that you are comfortable moving forward you will then transfer the remaining required money to complete your EB-5 investment.
After you have completed the investment of the required $500,000 USD you will then submit your form I-526 through a qualified US immigration attorney, this is also known as the “adjustment of status”. This must be submitted through the USCIS service center along with applicable fees and supporting documentation. Once the application has been granted preliminary approval the applicant must then clear a final interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.
Finally once all the above has been proved and documented the investor must wait the required 21-24 months and then submit their form I-829 for removal of conditions. This document must be supported by documentation and compliance from the EB-5 Regional Center. Upon approval of this application the investor will be granted a “Permanent Green Card”.