Less than a year wait for EB-5 green cards - EB5Investors.com

Less than a year wait for EB-5 green cards

EB5Investors.com Staff

By Anayat Durrani

Several EB-5 immigration firms have announced I-526E approvals by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS has been granting approvals of Form I-526E under a rural EB-5 project of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 in a timeframe of less than a year. The news demonstrates the benefits of investing in reserved EB-5 projects, as well as expedited processing and set-aside visas.

“It appears that USCIS is following the spirit of the RIA and striving to keep processing times reasonable,” says Vivek Tandon, CEO of EB5 BRICS.

After USCIS approves an I-526E petition, the investor, spouse, and unmarried children under 21 receive approval for two-year green cards that grant each conditional permanent resident status.

The quicker approval time is welcome news for investors who choose rural EB-5 projects.

EB-5 investors celebrate expedited processing times

Tandon says that EB5 BRICS received two I-526E approvals in a rural project in 11 months, a record time.

Tandon’s client who filed in August 2022 said it was “amazing to see RIA’s prioritized processing for rural projects at work” considering the slow adjudication times. The investor added, “I could have never imagined receiving approval in less than a year” and called the regional center project recommended by the firm “pivotal to getting my I-526E approved so quickly.” 

New EB-5 investors filing I-526E petitions after March 15th, 2022 that invest in rural projects are eligible for the 20% annual visa set-aside and priority processing, per the new legislation.

Reid & Wise is another firm experiencing a faster approval timeframe, with one of its clients’ I-526E petition approved on July 18 after being submitted on August 25, 2022. The form was approved without a Request for Evidence (RFE), per the firm’s press statement.

EB-5 I-526 petitions are known to have slow processing times by USCIS. Eighty percent of I-526 applications have average processing times of around 56.5 months. For China applicants, 80% of these petitions are processed within 81 months, according to the agency’s official estimates.

“The RIA specifically mandated priority processing on investments in rural area projects, and the recent approvals seem to be evidence that that’s in fact happening,” says Tandon.

Houston EB-5 also announced its first I-526E approval since the Regional Center program was reauthorized in March 2022The rural project petition was approved in 11 months, “therefore demonstrating the commitment of the USCIS to provide priority processing to projects in rural areas,” per the firm’s announcement.

EB-5 rural projects priority processing time is an advantage to investors

While exact timeframes for approval have not been established by the USCIS, EB-5 industry stakeholders estimate an I-526E approval of between 12 and 18 months. The current less-than-a-year timeframe is encouraging, with stakeholders saying it is an opportunity for investors to take advantage of priority processing, particularly in rural projects.

This is especially important, they add, for investors from high-volume countries like China and India to begin the process since there are limited visas in the rural priority processing EB-5 category. With the high-unemployment category likely retrogressed for China and India applicants, stakeholders suggest the best path to obtaining a green card with a shorter timeline is via the rural EB-5 category.


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