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What are the processing times for direct investment and regional center projects?

I am researching whether I should go through Regional Center or do a Direct Investment. Among other factors, I want to understand if there is a way to have a shorter i-526 approval time. Can you share what kind of processing times have you seen for each of three cases below? a) Direct investment (creating direct jobs) b) Regional Center project that does not have approved exemplar c) Regional Center project that does have an approved actual exemplar

Answers

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Currently, the processing time is taking between 12-18 months. However, the processing time may be reduced if filing through a regional center with an approved exemplar.

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    Lei Jiang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    They are pretty much the same. USCIS does not distinguish them.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Currently, USCIS is reporting that they are reviewing I-526 filing on or before March 2012. This is more than 16 months. They are not distinguishing between direct investment or regional center. However, if you invest in a regional center project with exemplar approved or where there have been several individual I-526 approvals, then your processing time could be dramatically reduced.

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    Olga Karasik

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS just published their updated processing time for EB-5 Regional Center applications, and it is currently listed as 18 months, which is matching our experience. Our EB-5 applications for direct investments in the years 2012 and 2013 were all adjudicated within 3-5 months. I hope it helps your decision making process.

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    Rohit Kapuria

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Both methods have relevant pros and cons. On the regional center side, the investor typically is investing into a larger pool of investors. The greatest advantage is that one can count indirect and induced jobs and if the project happens to include construction that lasts greater than two years, then direct jobs can also be counted. Direct EB-5 projects do not offer this option. However, with regional center jobs, I-526 processing times are roughly 13-15 months. Nevertheless, in recent months, USCIS has visibly been speeding up its approval times. On the direct EB-5 side, we are seeing I-526 processing times of roughly 3-6 months (sometimes less). As for exemplar projects, these are certainly rare. Investors love them because they signal USCIS approval of the project and arguably, all the agency would need to do is conduct a review of the investor''s source and path of funds. I-526 approvals for such projects range between 4-9 months. As you conduct your due diligence process, be careful to pay close attention to the projected job count. That will be one of the key issues at the I-829 stage.

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    Philip H Teplen

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally a Regional Center approval in either situation is approximately 6-8 months. There is no way to calculate a private investment as it could be the same or alternatively a lot longer if questions are raised.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS processing times are set by USCIS and are only estimates. USCIS does not distinguish direct EB-5 investments from Regional Center investments (they list the times by form number: I-526). Currently USCIS last processed cases from March of 2012 (nearly 18 months ago).

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