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How can the processing time differ for investors in the same project?

My friend and I both invested in an EB-5 project offered by the same regional center two years ago. We both hired the same immigration attorney. His I-526 application was approved in less than 12 months, but my case has been pending for more than 24 months. I did not hear anything from USCIS, no RFE or NOID. Why? What factors cause such a difference between the processing time? Should I be worried?

Answers

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is not necessarily anything to be worried about unless you receive an RFE or NOID. Then you would need to address the specific issues raised by USCIS. As for processing time, USCIS does bundle I-526 petitions for processing by teams of adjudicators, but there could be a number of reasons why two I-526 petitions filed at the same time for the same project might be processed in vastly different timeframes. USCIS is not very transparent with respect to how it allocates resources that might affect processing times, but it could be that the team adjudicating the I-526 petitions of your regional center was pulled off of that project after the I-526 petition of your friend was approved and before yours was adjudicated and assigned to another project. They will get back around to your petition sooner or later. If your case goes beyond the published processing time, however, you or your attorney should make an email inquiry with the IPO to follow up.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Your I-526 petition may not have been in the same batch as your friend's petition even if it is the same project. Other factors may include additional time needed for USCIS to run security checks, review individual source of funds, etc. If your case is outside the average posted processing times, then ask your attorney to make a service request with the EB-5 unit.

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    Ying Lu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If your case has exceeded the normal processing time, you should ask your attorney to make a service request to USCIS.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There are several factors that can affect one petition from another. Among them are: investigations by the USCIS of petition vary on issues such as source of funds, country of origin of each petitioner, the caseload at the USCIS also vary, just to name a few. Advisably, check with your attorney and feel free to directly contact the USCIS.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    You should definitely not be worried as long as there is nothing in your application that you think should make you worried. If you are both coming from the same country or from countries that are not experiencing retrogression, 12 month gap between one approval and the other is not common but nothing to be alarmed about. I just checked in the USCIS website for the current I-526 processing times. It shows estimated time range as 20.5 Months to 26.5 Months. I-526 approval in less than 12 months is very quick and unusual. It does happen occasionally but certainly not common. If there was something seriously wrong with your application you would have probably received an RFE or NOID or a rejection. While nothing is certain when it comes to actions of USCIS and their complicated decision making process, you might just be falling under the normal decision making timeline which has definitely increased over the last few months.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No reason to worry yet. USCIS processes I-526s in batches; your petition did not make it into the earlier batch.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It could be you had different examiners or the issues for your source of funds was more complicated. You should be sure to follow up regularly as perhaps it got overlooked.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Processing time can be completely arbitrary at times. Without knowing the specifics of your case, two possible complications that can cause delays are complicated source of funds or background checks in your petition.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is very common for similar petitions filed within the same time frame to be adjudicated by USCIS sometimes at significantly different times. It is hard to explain why that may be the case if in fact the cases are comparable unless there is a particular issue regarding the individual, i.e., the source of funds. The answer may be simpler. When petitions are filed on a particular regional center of a particular nature, they are distributed among USCIS adjudicators. Some adjudicators have more petitions to adjudicate at that time, others are caught up, others fall further behind, others may have an illness and the human factor may be a contributing cause for the inconsistent adjudication periods.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It's hard to tell, but changes in staff and case loads may affect it, or new issues with the project. Also, I would guess you have different sources of funds? That may change the timelines. I can only speculate without seeing more.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It could be due to the size of the project (i.e., the number of investor applications), but may be advisable to have your attorney enquire with the USCIS regarding the processing of your case, etc.

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    Michael A Harris, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It would be either because of your own personal source and path of funds or a different adjudicating officer. When your processing time is past the estimated timeframe on USCIS.gov, you can ask your lawyer to email the USCIS EB-5 IPO office.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS has dozens of officers who adjudicate these cases. Some will be fast and some will be slow in their review of cases. Thus, much of the timing of the decision could be based on luck. Since your case is still within the normal processing time for I-526 adjudication, the only thing you could do is wait.

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