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How should posted USCIS processing times for EB-5 be interpreted?

I was wondering how the stated processing times for I-526s and I-829s should be interpreted. Should we be looking at whatever date the petition was filed and the number of months published for that month, or instead, the figures of the latest stats? For example, an investor files a petition in October 2014, and the published wait time is 8 months for that period. Today the processing times are at 13 months. Should the investor anticipate adjudication soon, since 8 months have passed since receipt? Or does the more recent 13 months apply, and thus completion can only be expected by the end of the year?

Answers

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The monthly State Department visa chart is an excellent guide to the waiting times before an investor can apply for conditional permanent residency. The Chinese investors currently have longer waiting times.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Truthfully, I would look to the longer period of time. I have been involved in the program since its inception and have seen the approval dates become longer and longer.

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    Wilka Toppins

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I think the processing time is whatever USCIS states on a monthly basis regardless of what the processing time was at the time of the filing.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I think you have to look at all of the available information. The posted processing times give one picture, which is of a true average of current processing times. By looking at the latest statistics, however, you get a different picture. The stats show that filings are outpacing case completions, which means the backlog of 13,000 plus is continuing to grow. I think the recent data shows for the first time that adjudications have caught up, but they IPO is going to have to do a lot better, and adjudicate more I-526 petitions quickly if we are going to see a drop in the actual processing time. Also, the petitions are supposed to be processed on a First In, First Out (FIFO) basis, but we know that is not happening for all cases.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    8 months.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The published processing times are just average times and some petitions could take longer and some take a shorter time. Although USCIS states that they are taking a first-come, first-serve basis, many cases get approvals much faster than others and some take much longer. Since the current processing time is 13+ months, it is best to take your file date and add 13 months to see if your case should be close to getting reviewed.

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    Rachel Lew

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The I-526 and I-829 petition adjudications appear to take an increasingly longer processing time. For example, USCIS has received 6,041 I-526 petitions for the 2012 fiscal year (October 2011 - September 2012) and 6,346 I-526 petitions for the 2013 fiscal year (October 2012 - September 2013). For I-829 petitions, USCIS has received 712 petitions for the 2012 fiscal year, 1,217 petitions for the 2013 fiscal year, and 2,516 petitions for the 2014 fiscal year, almost doubling the amount for both I-526 and I-829 petitions. As a result, USCIS adjudication processing times can be very unpredictable and become delayed. In addition, even with the USCIS published wait time for I-526 and I-829 adjudications, the factors and circumstances contributing to the average number were not described nor published by USCIS. Therefore, investors should not rely on the published wait time, but rather on the realistic processing time. That is, an I-526 petition with a priority date of October 2014 should expect 13-14 months of processing from that date, until January of 2016 to receive approval or denial, (or request for further evidence at any time during this processing time).

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    Steffanie J Lewis

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS may identify processing times by listing a date or a length of time. When a date is listed, the listing means that the petitions filed on the listed date are currently being processed. When a length of time is listed, it can mean that those petitions being processed today were filed 14 months ago. In that manner, those filing today have an idea of how long they will wait to have a petition processed. If a person filed when eight months was listed, that person can generally guess that processing may take eight months. The times are variable depending upon the number of applications filed and persons allocated to processing them.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, we interpret the updated number as the one to go by. Thinking of it another way, start at today and go backward the amount of time posted. So looking at today (June 2), with the current processing time of 14 months, and go back to determine that cases filed before April 1, 2014 should have received adjudication.

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