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What percentage of EB-5 investors successfully earn green cards?

I have never seen any data regarding the percentage of EB-5 projects that fail versus achieving all objectives. What percentage of projects are successful (return capital to investors) and provide the green card at the end of four years? Are EB-5 applicants rejected more often due to project failure or issues with their own individual applications?

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The hardest part of the process is the I-526 petition. Historically, approval rates vary, but the average hovers between 80% to 85%. In my experience, almost all I-526 approvals will result in conditional green card approvals. There are only limited reasons why an EB-5 investor with an I-526 approval would not receive at least the conditional green card. These applicants have been screened pretty heavily by the time the case reaches the immigrant visa interview or adjustment of status application, so there are not a lot of inadmissible applicants that squeak through. The I-829 petition approval percentage is even higher than the I-526 approval percentage (ranging between 88% to 92%). It is true there are no statistics which measure percentage of ultimate project "success" (permanent green card plus return of capital), but if nearly 90% of all I-829s are approved, one can assume that these projects are able to survive for at least five years, which is the time most EB-5 investors wish to exit the project anyway.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Data is on the USCIS website.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Not all the regional centers out there have real shovel-ready projects to receive EB-5 investments and file cases. It is my understanding that only a handful regional centers have been around long enough to have had both I-526 and I-829 approvals, as well as have returned the investors#39 funds - I actually know of only three that have returned the funds. However, there are dozens of regional centers that claimed to have had I-829 approvals, which is the key residency, as it is permanent after the condition is removed, rather than just I-526 for conditional residency for only two years. A couple of years ago, USCIS was stating that they approved 85% of the I-526s, but I think it has gone down significantly with more scrutiny. There are many more incidents of denial due to the inability to clearly demonstrate the Source of Funds tracking, than projects, particularly with more seasoned regional centers.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS approved more than five thousand I-526 petitions last financial year out of about ten thousand petitions received. Nearly two thousand I-829 petitions (removal of conditions) were approved in the last financial year. Reasons for denials can vary wildly, but retaining qualified and experienced EB-5 counsel to prepare the source of funds and perform necessary immigration due diligence on the project is very important in order to give you the best chance at obtaining a favorable result.

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    Daniel B Lundy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS publishes annual statistics on the approval and denial rate of I-526 and I-829 petitions. Historically, the approval rate for I-526 petitions is in the 80-85% range, and I-829 approvals are in the 90-95% range. The denial reasons for the I-526 petition are probably evenly split. Keep in mind that one project denial can result in the denial of many investors, so it skews the statistics. It does not necessarily mean that 7-10% of projects fail at the I-526 stage. At the I-829 stage, most denials have to do with either failing to meet the job creation requirements or failing to maintain the investment at-risk. There are no statistics about return of capital, although there are a number of the older regional centers that have returned capital after I-829 approvals on multiple projects. Keep in mind that the investment horizon is likely more than four years. Typically, the money is invested or placed in escrow before the I-526 is filed. I-526 processing times are currently 14 months. Once the I-526 is approved, the investor applies for a visa or adjustment of status. A visa application typically takes 6 months to process (adjustment can take anywhere from 3 months to over a year). Once approved, the investor has 6 months to use the visa. From the day the investor adjusts status or enters the country with the visa, he or she has 21 months before the I-829 can be filed (it must be filed before 24 months). The I-829 processing times are currently about one year. If you are a native of Mainland China, there will be a delay of a year or more between the I-526 approval and obtaining a visa, which delays the window for filing the I-829. Realistically, this is more typically a 5 year process, and for people born in China, it may turn into a 7 or 8 year process. To get through it in 4 years would be unusual.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The USCIS web site will give you a history of completed cases on a year by year basis. I know of no list of projects that show return on investment statistics. You would have to question individual project developers.

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