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How does the I-526 backlog work?

The USCIS website shows that CSC is still processing I-526 applications from Mar 2012. That is almost a 21 month backlog. Does it mean if I apply now, the processing time for I-526 is at least 21 months? How does that work?

Answers

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is difficult to determine exactly how long it will take for your I-526 to be adjudicated. The backlog itself is not strictly indicative of the amount of time it will take for your I-526 petition to be processed.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, it means that the processing time for an I-526 was at least 21 months as of when you checked USCIS processing times. However, the USCIS regularly revises its processing time information from month to month. If you apply now, your processing time depends on USCIS decision, which may be at least 21 months, less, or even more than 21 months. Processing time information for a particular category of visa, just like EB-5, from USCIS is simply an indication of when the USCIS is likely to process your visa application.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No one really seems to know how it works. USCIS says that it processes petitions on a FIFO (first in, first out) process, but the facts just don't support that type of processing. Regional center cases are taking a year or longer and direct investment I-526 petitions are processed quicker at the present time, but still take more than six months.

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    Roberto Ortiz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The backlog depends on several things. You are correct that I-526s are taking 21 months. However, in some instances, cases are being approved sooner than that. It also depends if the project you are investing in already has approvals, then the cases might be approved sooner. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The time for the adjudication of the I-526 petitions is based upon government administrative time delays and therefore the time delays are constantly changing , not consistent and therefore the adjudication time delays are not predictable. Therefore the sooner you file the petition the sooner you will receive your conditional permanent residency.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The backlog is very difficult to predict - we have had applications approved in as little as 58 days and as long as 16 months. Predicting from today would be a guess at best.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    That is their posted time. Right now about 18 months for new cases filed but they are always promising to get caught up so who knows.

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    James Wolf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It means that if you apply now, you will need to wait a long time to get the I-526 approval. How long? No one really knows. This year, I have had I-526 cases reviewed after 4 months and other cases no response after 11+ months. But the sooner you apply the sooner you can expect to get that approval notice. Like the old proverb: Q: When is the best time to plant a tree? A: 25 years ago Q: When is the second best time to plant a tree? A: Today

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Actually, USCIS was reporting the 'normal processing time' for I-526 as approximately 18 months. We all agree that USCIS is seriously mismanaging handling of these EB-5 cases since they supposedly moved EB-5 unit to their headquarters in Washington, D.C. in April. Having people who invest $500,000 or more in order to do the EB-5 cases to wait more than other Employment Based cases is counter-intuitive to encourage economic growth and job creation. We are not sure if the old unit workers in California are still working or if anyone has been hired in D.C. and it is not clear how EB-5 cases are being handled as the Quarterly Stakeholders meeting has not happened in over a year. No matter what may be happening at USCIS, they need to get their acts together and get back to 5-7 months processing time as quickly as possible if this EB-5 program will survive.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is indeed possible that the processing could take another 21 months. However, it is just as likely that the backlog can be processed in a very short period of time and more recent filings can be processed more quickly. The lesson here is that no one can predict the timeline for processing. What we can do, as experienced EB-5 attorneys, is assist investors with preparing approvable petitions to avoid further delays by requests for evidence or denials.

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