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EB5 Processing Time, A Journey Towards Green Card 2024

Get 2024 Green Card insights with PaperFree.com: Detailed EB5 visa processing time, essential steps, and insights for investors.

last updated Sunday, February 25, 2024
#eb5 processing time #eb5 visa processing time eb5 processing time



John Burson     Subscribe
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Here’s a quick overview of the requirements to get an EB5 Visa:

  • Eligibility of the Business
    Your investment should be in a commercial business established after November 29, 1990. The business must be profit-oriented and operate within legal boundaries.
  • Minimum Investment Requirements
    There are two investment thresholds:
  • Source of Funds
    Ensure that your money comes from legitimate sources.
  • Job Creation Criterion
    Your investment should generate at least ten full-time jobs for American workers.
  • Risk Factors of Investment
    The investment must actively engage in the business. It's insufficient to deposit the funds in the business’s bank account; they must be actively utilized in business operations.

EB5 Processing Time Overview

Obtaining a Green Card via the eb5 visa timeline involves several distinct stages. Grasping the EB5 processing time necessitates a clear comprehension of these steps.
Eb5 visa processing time Overview:

Step # Action or document Processing Time (Average)
1 Form I - 526 Two years
2 Adjustment of Status Seven months
3 Form I - 829 Two years

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is recognized as a swift and reliable path to acquiring a U.S. Green Card. This program allows the investor, spouse, and unmarried children under 21 to gain permanent residency in the United States through a single investment.

By opting for an EB-5 investment, families can live, work, study, and travel anywhere in the United States without restrictions. Furthermore, EB-5 immigrant investors who have secured their Green Card status can apply for U.S. citizenship just five years after obtaining permanent residency.

While navigating the EB-5 process can be complex and typically requires professional legal guidance, the historical success rates of the EB-5 program suggest that it is a beneficial route for many eligible investors.

This article aims to provide the minimum investment-intensive insights into what immigrant investors need to understand to successfully secure an EB-5 investment visa and establish permanent residency in the U.S. for their family.

In this discussion, we focus on the "EB5 Processing Time: A Journey Towards Green Card 2024", detailing the timeline and steps involved in this process.

EB5 Visa Processing Time Details

1. I-526 Form Processing

Processing time: 2-Years Average

Initiating the EB5 visa process starts with submitting Form I-526, the “Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.”

In the EB5 pathway, achieving unconditional permanent residency involves first being a conditional permanent resident for two years.

This conditional permanent residency is granted upon filing Form I-526. Presently, processing the I-526 form takes around two years.

After approval of the I-526, applicants become eligible to either adjust their status or proceed with applying for their EB5 visa.

2. Consular Processing and Adjustment of Status Processing

Processing time: 6 to 8 Months Average

After receiving approval for Form I-526, you have two choices: either proceed with an adjustment of status or apply for the EB5 visa through a consulate or embassy outside the United States.

Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status refers to the transition from a non-immigrant to an immigrant status while in the U.S. To be eligible, you must legally hold a valid non-immigrant status within the U.S. The procedure for adjusting status involves submitting Form I-485. Typically, the processing time for Form I-485 ranges from 6 to 8 months.

Consular Processing

Consular processing involves applying for an EB5 visa from an overseas consulate or embassy. This method is typically chosen if you are not legally residing in the U.S. The initial step in this process requires filing Form DS-260 online. The relevant consulate or embassy then evaluates the submitted documents and arranges a visa interview. Following a successful interview for the EB5 visa, the visa is generally issued within a week. Overall, this procedure usually spans 6 to 8 months.

Upon approval of your status adjustment or entry into the country with a valid EB5 visa, you become a conditional permanent resident for two years.

Presently, a phenomenon known as visa retrogression affects EB5 investors born in Mainland China. This occurs due to the overwhelming demand for EB5 visas among these investors, leading to an extended waiting period. This delay kicks in after the approval of Form I-526 before investors can apply for an EB5 visa or adjust their status. This additional waiting time for investors from Mainland China is around three and a half years.

3. I-829 Form Processing

Processing time: 2-Years Average

The final phase of the EB5 process involves submitting Form I-829. As an EB5 investor, you initially obtain conditional permanent residency for two years. During these two years, it's mandatory to maintain your investment in the EB5 business and fulfill the requirement of creating ten full-time jobs.

Approximately three months before your conditional residency expires, you can file Form I-829, also known as the “Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.” Following the approval of Form I-829, your status is upgraded to that of an unconditional permanent resident.

What is the process and timeline for obtaining an EB5 Visa through investing in the Regional Center?

The EB-5 visa process is multistage. Your EB-5 visa filing process depends on whether you reside in the US or overseas.

Regional Center EB5 Visa Processing Steps
A. Applicants Residing Outside the United States B. Applicants Residing Inside the United States
  • Documented source of funds
  • Scouting projects for investment
  • Applying for a conditional green card (form I-526E)
  • Preparing for the counselor interview
  • Receipt of Conditional Green Card
  • Filing for Removal of Conditions
  • Return of Capital
  • Receipt of Unconditional Green Card
  • Documented source of funds
  • Scouting projects for investment
  • Applying for a conditional green card (form I-562E)
  • Applying adjustment of status (form I-485)
  • Applying for work authorization (form I-765)
  • Receipt of work authorization
  • Receipt of Conditional Green Card
  • Filing for Removal of Conditions
  • Return of Capital
  • Receipt of Unconditional Green Card

Related content: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Centers

EB-5 process for applicants residing outside the U.S.

  1. Documented Source of Funds.
    A foreign investor must demonstrate that the capital they invest in an EB-5 project is legally obtained. A US-licensed immigration attorney can help assemble all necessary documentation at this stage. Applicants commonly acquire their investment funds through gifts from parents or relatives. These funds can come from various sources, such as earnings from professional work, investment portfolios, property sales, or loans.
  2. Choose a Project and Invest.
    The USCIS scrutinizes the business plan of your chosen investment project to ensure it aligns with immigration law requirements. The minimum investment threshold is set at $800,000 for projects in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) and $1 million for those in non-TEAs. The adjudication process for this application typically spans between 18 to 24 months.
  3. Conditional Green Card Application.
    File an Immigrant Petition (I-526E form) with the Regional Center and Receive a Conditional Green Card. Following your investment, the regional center will issue a receipt confirming your contribution to the EB-5 project. Subsequently, your attorney will proceed to apply for a conditional Green Card. The processing time for this application, specifically for Form I-526E, generally ranges from 18 to 24 months.
  4. Consulate Interview.
    After receiving approval for Form I-526E, the case is transferred from USCIS to the National Visa Center. Within approximately 6 to 8 months, an invitation for a consular interview is extended. The investor and any dependents seeking the conditional Green Card must attend this interview. The Regional Center team, along with immigration attorneys, assists in preparing for this interview. They provide comprehensive information, including updates on the project's progress, details about using EB5 funds, and how these funds contribute to job creation in America—the examples of questions to expect at the interview:
    1. Where did you invest your capital?
    2. What is the nature of the project, which includes the asset class?
    3. What is the latest update on the project?
    4. How were the funds sourced and invested in the project?
  5. Entry Visa Received.
    After a successful interview, an immigrant visa stamp is issued on your passport, granting you a six-month window to enter the United States.
  6. Activate Conditional Green Card.
    For eb5 green card processing time, upon your arrival in the United States, your conditional Green Card becomes active. An immigration officer at the port of entry will record your details, and your Green Card will be mailed to you.
  7. Removal Conditions.
    File form I-829 within a specific timeframe – 21 months after receiving your conditional Green Card and before it reaches its 24-month expiration – your immigration attorney will apply for the removal of conditions. A crucial aspect of this process is demonstrating that your funds, initially held in an escrow account, were ultimately utilized in the project outlined in the business plan. It's essential to prove that these funds were spent and contributed to creating at least 10 American jobs per investor.
  8. Repayment of Capital.
    EB5 projects are typically structured so that investors become eligible for capital repayment after completing two years from receiving their conditional Green Card. Once the loan term, usually 5 to 7 years, concludes and investors have surpassed the two-year mark after receiving their conditional Green Card, they are entitled to receive their funds back. Importantly, EB5 investors are not required to wait for their application's approval to remove conditions to get their investment returned.
  9. Receipt of Unconditional Green Card.
    The issuance of an unconditional Green Card typically spans around 30 to 36 months. Consequently, USCIS has implemented a policy to extend the conditional Green Card for an additional 48 months from the date of applying for removal of conditions. This extension ensures there's no lapse in your residency status. There are no differences between a conditional and an unconditional Green Card regarding rights, responsibilities, and obligations. Whether you reside inside or outside the United States, your investment requirements and the obligation to create ten American jobs remain constant.

EB-5 process for U.S.-based applicants

The EB-5 application procedure varies for individuals already residing in the United States under different visa categories. Suppose you transition to an EB-5 visa from an employment-based visa such as H1B or L1, a student visa like F-1, J-1, or M-1, or an entrepreneur visa such as an E2 Visa. In that case, you must follow specific steps tailored to this situation.

  1. Documented Source of Funds.
    Investors must prove the legality of the origin of their investment funds. To fulfill this requirement, they can enlist the assistance of a US-licensed immigration attorney, who can aid in gathering and preparing all the requisite documentation.
  2. Choose a Project and Invest.
    The USCIS evaluates the business plan of your investment project to confirm its compliance with immigration law standards. The necessary investment is at least $800,000 for projects in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) and $1 million for non-TEA regions. The adjudication of this application generally requires a timeframe of 18 to 24 months.
  3. Conditional Green Card Application.
    Concurrent filing for a Conditional Green Card (Form I-526E), Adjustment of Status (Form I-485), and Work Authorization (Form I-765). The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, enacted on March 15, 2022, allows applicants in the United States to simultaneously file for an adjustment of status with their conditional Green Card application. This provision allows U.S. citizens to legally live and work while processing their EB5 Petition Green Card. By applying for an adjustment of status and work authorization, applicants indicate their intention to transition from their current visa status to permanent residency. This application type grants the right to reside in the U.S. until the Green Card is issued, irrespective of the future validity of the underlying visa. Work authorization is typically received within 3 to 6 months, allowing applicants to continue living in the United States until they receive their Green Card, regardless of their current visa status.
  4. Application Approval.
    Approval of application for a conditional green card or Form I-526E and receipt of conditional Green Card Following the examination of the EB5 investor's source of funds and the business plan of the EB5 project, USCIS typically issues an approval within 18 to 24 months from the filing date and grants a conditional Green Card.
  5. Unconditional Green Card Application.
    Apply for an unconditional Green Card or Form I-829. After the initial steps, obtaining an unconditional Green Card takes around 30 to 36 months. During this period, you need to demonstrate to USCIS that your investment was indeed made in the project outlined in the business plan and that it led to the creation of 10 American jobs. To ensure the continuity of your residency status, your conditional Green Card is extended by 48 months, eliminating any potential gap in your status.
  6. Repayment of Invested Capital.
    The EB-5 program offers a reliable route to obtaining a Green Card and eventual U.S. Citizenship while also focusing on the safeguarding and potential repayment of the investor's capital. EB5 Investors can qualify for the repayment of their capital even before acquiring their unconditional Green Card, subject to meeting specific criteria under the terms of the EB5 project. Typically, Regional Centers arrange for the return of capital upon the fulfillment of two specific conditions:
    • Completion of loan term of 5 to 7 years and
    • Completion of 2 years from receipt of a conditional green card.

How long does the EB-5 process take?

After a successful interview for the EB5 visa, the EB5 visa is usually issued within a week. The entire process leading up to this point typically spans 6 to 8 months. Following the approval of your adjustment of status or your entry into the U.S. with a valid eb5 visa timeline, you attain the status of a conditional permanent resident for two years.

What is the success rate of EB-5?

Immigrant investors submit Form I-526 or Form I-526E to show USCIS their adherence to the requirements and regulations of the EB-5 visa program. The approval rate for these I-526 petitions typically varies between approximately 75% and over 80%.

Is USCIS processing faster in 2023?

During the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2023, there was a notable improvement in the processing times for Form I-485 and Form I-130 (specifically when sponsored by a U.S. citizen). In contrast, the processing duration for Form I-129F continued to be relatively lengthy.

What is the current processing time for the EB5 visa in 2023?

As of 2023, the EB5 current processing time is approximately 18 to 24 months for the I-526 petition, with additional time for conditional and permanent residency processes.

Why is the EB5 I 526 processing time so long?

The EB5 I-526 processing time, according to the EB5 visa timeline, is lengthy due to the intricate verification of investment details and the legal complexities in ensuring compliance with immigration laws. High demand and a backlog of applications also contribute to extended processing times.

What is the processing time for GC through EB5?

The processing time for obtaining a Green Card through the EB5 program generally spans from 18 to 24 months for the I-526 petition. After that, obtaining conditional residency and an unconditional Green Card can take 2 to 4 years.

What is the processing time for an EB5 visa application for a rural project?

Due to prioritized processing for rural investments, the EB5 rural processing time can be slightly shorter, often ranging from 15 to 18 months for the I-526 petition.

Related content: Rural TEA EB-5 Project Advantages for New Investors

The EB5 visa offers a significant opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs seeking residency in the United States.

Understanding the timeline for obtaining a Green Card through the EB5 visa is crucial, and it involves three main steps:

  • filing Form I-526,
  • either adjusting status or undergoing consular processing,
  • and finally, filing Form I-829.

For more detailed information and guidance on each of these steps, resources and assistance are available at paperfree.com/en/eb5

 
 
 

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