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How quick is the EB-5 process versus other U.S. green card categories?

I currently reside in Saudi Arabia. I have read that EB-5 is a quick way to receive a U.S. green card and I would like to have a time line for the process. When do I first need to wire money to the United States for the EB-5 visa? How long is the EB-5 visa wait time? How quick is the EB-5 process in comparison with other U.S. green card categories?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Current processing of I-526 petitions is not quick, unfortunately, but is in general quicker than other employment-based or family-based preference categories to receive green cards in the United States (except certain countries such as China, etc). The EB-5 process is not faster than immigrating to the United States as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (i.e. spouse or child under age 21, or parent). The current processing time for I-526 petitions is about 14 months. The next step is either a consular process of an immigrant visa abroad (about six months on average) or adjustment of status to a green card holder (if you are in the United States in another lawful immigration status). After you are admitted to the United States on an immigrant visa (if consular processing abroad) or after your adjustment of status is approved (if adjusting in the United States from another lawful immigration status), you will receive a two-year conditional green card. You have to remove conditions by filing the I-829 petition within 90 days of the expiration of the two-year anniversary.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The required investment amount has to be wire transferred to the EB-5 project before the filing of the I-526 petition by the investor. The I-526 petition has to be approved first before the investor can apply for conditional permanent residency. The estimated timeline for the adjudication of the I-526 petition is 11 months. However, some EB-5 projects are being approved in less than four months. The process for obtaining conditional permanent residency after the I-526 petition is approved is usually three to four months. Of course, the Chinese nationals will have to wait longer because of Chinese retrogression. Other permanent residency processes may be quicker or longer.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 is not quick, but it is faster than most family-based preference categories. EB-5 is not faster than the immediate relative immigrant category and it is not faster than most of the employment-based immigrant categories (unless the applicant is born in India or China). The EB-5 wait time varies depending upon demand, and upon USCIS and DOS processing times. Currently, the USCIS is averaging over 13 months to adjudicate an I-526 petition. After the I-526 petition is approved, there is another 6 - 8 month period of processing either an immigrant visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, or an adjustment of status application in the United States. Then, after approval of either the immigrant visa (and the applicant's entry into the United States) or the adjustment of status application, the two-year conditional period of lawful permanent residence begins.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Employment-based visa categories such as EB-2 and EB-3 are based on specific employer sponsorship, which means you will have to find a U.S. employer who must attest that they cannot find any or enough U.S. workers to fill the job that they are sponsoring you for. For a Saudi citizen, if a U.S. employer could go through the PERM processing for you, you could enter the United States or adjust to receive the green card in as quickly as 18 months. However, finding the employer who will sponsor and go through the arduous PERM process is not easy. EB-5, on the other hand, is a self-petitioning process where you could choose the EB-5 investment vehicle to invest in and if that business can create 10+ permanent, full-time jobs, then you could get the green card without relying on any sponsoring employer. This means how quickly you are able to act could control, to a certain extent, how the general time line outlined below could be shortened. The EB-5 process time line is as follows: 1. Choose an investment project/business and wire the funds for investment (1 - 3 months). 2. Work with an immigration lawyer to prepare the I-526 (1 - 3 months). 3. I-526 adjudication by USCIS (13+ months). 4. Consular processing or I-485 adjustment (4 - 6 months).

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Other than marrying a U.S. citizen, the EB-5 process is one of the most direct processes to permanent residency. Your timeline will vary on your choice of project, your source of funds, and how quickly you can provide the necessary information and documentation to your immigration attorney. Your attorney will also advise you on when to make your investment, average timeline for processing of the I-526 petition (here is a freebie: it is currently about 13 months), and any other immigration and EB-5 questions you will have.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 is not the quickest way. After you decide on your investment and the paperwork is submitted you are looking at one year minimum before you receive an answer. The whole process could be 18 months. You do not wire any money until you decide on your investment project.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is not that quick - about 14 months in a stand-alone project. Could be quicker if its an established regional center with a template I-526 approval. Another option may be an L-1A/ EB-1C multinational manager/executive if you have an overseas business and have established or can establish a related U.S. business (need not be the same type of business but ownership must have the requisite relationship.)

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    Robert Cornish

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    Given your Saudi residency, you are likely looking at something in the nature of 14 months to conditional residency and 24 months to a green card. Be aware that the law may change at the end of September, so working with an attorney to get your papers in order and finding a suitable investment is critical.

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    Michael A Harris

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In terms of U.S. green cards, the EB-5 can be faster in part due to the availability of visas. Your options to immigrate generally fall into family (FB) and employment-based (EB) green cards. Other EB categories such as EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 require different processes and waiting times. For those three an employer generally must sponsor you for residence (with some exception for persons of extraordinary ability and those deemed to be of national interest). If you were eligible for the EB-1 or EB-2 categories, the waiting time to immigrate might be potentially faster than the EB-5.

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