USCIS Updates EB-5 Processing Times

July 7th, 2020 Peter Bibler

USCIS has published updated processing times for EB-5 related petitions.

  • I-526 Petition: 29.5 to 61 months
  • I-829 Petition: 25.5 to 47.5 months
  • I-484 Application to Adjust Status:
    • California Service Center – 7.5 to 29 months
    • Nebraska Service Center – 8 to 13 months
    • Texas Service Center – 7.5 to 29 months
    • Vermont Service Center – 13 to 26 months
  • I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation: 58.5 to 119 months

(Visit Behring’s website to learn more about the EB-5 Program process and requirements)

At first glance, these numbers can be discouraging to current and potential EB-5 investor. While these ranges provide some guidance to USCIS’s expectations of reasonable processing times, note that these estimates do not apply to the majority of EB-5 cases.

Using the I-526 petition time for example, as USCIS explains here, the first number (29.5 months) represents the time it takes to complete 50% of the cases. It represents the medians, i.e. most cases are processed faster than 29.5 months. The second number (61 months) is the time it takes to complete 93% of cases. Only 7% of the pending I-526 cases (estimated to consist primarily of direct EB-5 investments) fall in latter category of stalled cases.

Importantly, EB-5 investors should also look at the historical averages (as of March 31, 2020):

Future processing times for EB-5 petitions should adjust as a result of a new USCIS approach for reviewing the I-526 petition on the basis of visa availability. See Behring’s blog regarding new I-526 review policy effective March 31, 2020.  In short, USCIS will prioritize I-526 petition review for those who have a visa available or soon to be available, waiting to review EB-5 petitions from EB-5 investors facing retrogression, or visa backlogs (historically, those from China, Vietnam, and until recently, India).

Processing times can vary and are sometimes uncertain. USCIS reports that is has around 245 personnel dedicated for processing EB-5 petitions. USCIS and consular processing may be impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, USCIS announced that it anticipating furloughing more than 13,000 workers beginning August 3, 2020. The EB-5 Program was not mentioned specifically.

Nevertheless, EB-5 remains one of the faster ways for families to obtain a U.S. green card. It offers a more certain path than the H-1B work visa and employment-based green card programs, such as EB-2 and EB-3 that have experienced seemingly endless wait times and increased limitations imposed by the Trump administration.

To learn more EB-5 processing times and how EB-5 might work for you and your family, contact Behring for a free consultation. Behring welcomes you to visit our expansive library of EB-5 resources available for download as well as our FAQs and blogs to enable you to get the information you need to best prepare you for your EB-5 investment and green card journey.

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