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How long does it take the U.S. Department of State to issue a waiver for EB-5 investors from the countries that are subject to the travel ban?

I am an EB-5 investor from Iran. I had an EB-5 visa interview at the U.S. consulate about six months ago. At the time of the interview, the visa officer received my application for a waiver and sent it to the U.S. Department of State but I have not heard anything about the waiver application status since then. How long does it take to determine the waiver status and issue a waiver? What are my chances?

Answers

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no set timeline for these waivers and as far as we know, not many of these waivers have been granted, unfortunately.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no specific time frame and under the current administration, very few such waivers are being approved.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    I wish I could be more encouraging, but based on what we are hearing, your chances for an immediate waiver are quite slim. There is not much you could do other than wait and see if the administration will be softer on EB-5 applicants from banned countries such as Iran on the basis of "national interest." Given the amount of time it takes to process EB-5 from start to finish, it is hard to claim that the investors such as yourself could pose a threat to public safety. That said, as you know, these decisions are more driven by politics rather than logic or common sense.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The waiver must come actually from the Department of Homeland Security, not the State Department. It is unknown how long it takes. The chances of approval no doubt depend on the basis for the waiver.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no specific time. Also, too few of these cases have been adjudicated to be able to predict the adjudication timeframe. Further, as waiver adjudications are case-by-case adjudications, each application will raise specific issues. Some attorneys report activity on cases after 18 months of administrative processing.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No set amount of time. Is the consulate recommending the waiver?

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no separate EB-5 category for waiver applications. All waivers must meet the following three standards: they would suffer "undue hardship" if the visa were denied; it is in the "national interest" of the United States to let them in; and they do not pose a public safety or security risk. While, arguably, investing $500,000 or a $1 million into a U.S. business to create jobs may be in the national interest, this administration has not been approving many waivers on the grounds that the applicants do not meet undue hardship. So, it may not be possible for you to receive a waiver unless the Supreme Court blocks the ban, which now this conservative majority court is unlikely to do.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Very few of these waivers have been approved and it is unlikely most EB-5 cases will have sufficient facts to support a waiver. Your best option may be if we have a new president who may have a different attitude toward investors such as yourself. Almost 200 million people are banned on account of their nationality.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no discernible mechanism or timetable in place. The general understanding is that a review of the waiver is done on a case-by-case basis after exhaustive investigation has been done. As a result, no prediction can be made on the chances of each petitioner.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Given the fact that President Trump's travel ban has been upheld by the Supreme Court, while you should seek your own legal counsel on this matter, as an Iranian citizen you are clearly subject to the travel ban and it is unlikely that the waiver will be granted. To date, the waiver is being granted in very few cases for very narrow reasons. So, the question is not just how long will it take, but whether it will be issued at all. As of today, I would think your chances are not very good at all.

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