USCIS data on processing times for I-526 and I-829 petitions adjudicated in May 2021 are now available. While every case is different, this data offers EB-5 investors a general idea of how long it will take for USCIS to adjudicate their case. USCIS reports processing times as a range where the lower end is the time it takes to complete 50% of cases and the second number is the time it takes to complete 93% of cases. It’s important to note that this data is based on how long it has taken USCIS to process past cases, and does not necessarily indicate how long it would take a new EB-5 investor to have their petition adjudicated.
Form I-526 Processing Times (Excluding Mainland China):
31 – 49.5 months
- As of the end of May the average processing time for I-526 petitions filed by non-Chinese EB-5 investors was 31- 49.5 months. Approximately half the I-526 petitions filed by non-Chinese were completed within 31 months and the majority were completed within 50 months.
Form I-526 Processing Times for Chinese EB-5 Investors:
69 – 88 months
- Unfortunately processing times for Chinese investors remain much higher than the rest of the world. However, Junes visa bulletin saw China’s final action dates advance for the first time since August 2020, indicating that visa processing for Chinese investors may be improving
Form I-829 Processing Times:
35.5 – 88 months
- 50% of I-829 petitions were processed within 35.5 months and the vast majority were completed within 64 months.
While potential EB-5 investors might balk at these numbers it’s important to consider them in the wider context of America’s current immigration system and the unique benefits of an EB-5 visa. Compared to other visas offered the EB-5 program remains by far the best and fastest option. Unlike the EB-5 visa, other employment based visas such as the H1-B don’t offer green cards to your spouse and children under age 21. Visas not based on employment such as Family Preference visas can take upwards of five years to be processed, and if you wish to move your entire family (spouse and children) that can be extremely complicated. Simply put, the EB-5 visa and its family-sized package of green cards is the most straightforward path to permanent residence for those who can meet its requirements.
HOW LONG WILL PROCESSING MY PETITION TAKE?
Potential Investors should also keep in mind that improving processing times is one of the top priorities of EB-5 advocates. Proposed reform legislation includes several provisions designed to increase the speed at which applications can be processed. Furthermore, the Biden Administration and USCIS have voiced a strong desire to improve the immigration system as a whole and ensure USCIS has the resources to process applications in a timely and efficient manner. Potential EB-5 investors should not be dissuaded by the current slower processing times for petitions. With reforms to the EB-5 program on the horizon, and incoming new leadership at USCIS, an EB-5 investor who began the process today would likely have their petition processed sooner than the current estimates indicate.
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