Is it easier to invest in a project with multiple investors or by myself?
Does the processing time differ for EB-5 projects that have multiple investors versus projects created by one investor only? Is it more simple, legally, if I invest in my own project rather than with other investors?
The approval process of the I-526 generally takes approximately the same amount of time. It could be beneficial to invest in a regional center project that has had a previous success. The success of a direct investment will depend on the business itself and its ability to fulfill all EB-5 requirements.
It is correct that some direct or stand-alone projects are being adjudicated faster. However certain large projects are getting fast approvals. You must evaluate the individual project you select carefully.
Our experience is that small projects do seem to move faster at USCIS than big projects, at least until the project has had an approval, at which point the process picks up speed. It is also our experience that I-526 petitions based on non-regional center investments move faster than ones based on regional center investments. I do not believe that a smaller project is more simple legally as much at it is usually more simple factually, and easier for officers to evaluate. Non-regional center petitions do not rely on economic models to estimate the job creation that will result from the investment, so there is time saved due to the fact that USCIS does not have to evaluate complex economic models. However, $500,000 or $1 million is a lot of money, and at the end of the day, the business must be successful enough to create the jobs. The decision on what to invest in should be driven by business considerations as well as immigration considerations. If the business is not successful, you may not qualify for a permanent green card because there are not enough jobs. Also, I suspect most people would like to get their money back at some point. While processing times might be something to consider in choosing an investment, I think that the business factors and compliance with the EB-5 requirements should be more important considerations. A fast decision is most helpful if it is a fast approval, not a fast denial.
First, seek the advice of an experienced EB-5 attorney. Your choice of investment project will depend on the financial and business viability of an EB-5 compliant project. Second, the time for processing the investors I-526 petitions will depend on a number of factors including the business plan, economic report showing job creation and the documents authenticating the investors source of investment funds. There is no predictability as to the times for processing the I-526 petitions.
If you are investing in a regional center project, you may be able to take advantage of having other investors filing (and hopefully receiving approval) before you. That way, the adjudicator will be familiar with the project and regional center. Even then, processing times are only estimates and cannot be guaranteed by anyone. For an individual investment you would be going through the direct EB-5 route. USCIS estimates for processing times do not distinguish between regional center and direct EB-5 investments.
The process is the same whether you invest in a regional center or by yourself: File I-526 petition with supporting documents. Of course, choosing the right project or investment is the key. You should conduct your due diligence to decide for yourself, and then hire an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney to represent you in applying for EB-5.
Philip H Teplen
The processing time on an I-526 is basically the same. The issue is really approvability and that depends upon the individual project. I will be happy to consult and can be reached.
There are multiple factors to consider. Take a look at this article (link below) and it will provide you some insight into the two EB-5 paths. Note, some key elements to consider are: a) your ability to run a business; b) current I-526 processing time; & c) return on investment. Good Luck! http://www.eb5investors.com/eb5-basics/eb5-due-diligence
My experience has shown that when there are multiple investors and it is a regional center type investment, the process is faster. I also would think the risk is lower because it is shared with other investors. Further, if the particular project of the regional center is already approved, then it is even that much faster and safer in terms of getting an approval.
You raise good questions and as any good lawyer would tell you it depends, but the bottom line is that the best project is one with an immigration track record, strong business plan, solid evidence jobs will be created, and good management. In some cases, you see this in the more reputable and established regional centers but you have the most control when it is your project. Most stand-alone projects require a $1 million dollar investment unless located in a designated Targeted employment Area (TEA). You may want to discuss the specifics in a consultation before deciding.