I am a Pakistani national currently in my second year of medical school. There are three years left before I graduate. I want to immigrate to the United States for my medical residency, but I want to avoid the J-1 visa since it does not lead to a green card or citizenship. I want to get my conditional green card just in time for my graduation so I can make it in time for my residency in 2022. Should I make an EB-5 investment now? What is the timeline? Is it already too late to apply for my plan?
The general rule is the early part of EB-5, I-526 takes about two to three years particularly for Pakistani nationals. This is especially a good assumption considering that EB-5 visas are not in retrogressing for Pakistan. It is advisable if you have not, to proceed as soon as possible so that you can achieve conditional permanent residence status before you start your residence in 2022.
You can file your EB-5 petition, the current USCIS processing time is between 24 to 48 months. Some petitions are being approved in 12 months. Once the petition is approved, you can file your application for conditional permanent residency, apply also for employment and permission to travel.
Timing could work, but it is cutting it close.
The sooner you apply for the EB-5, the better. Please note that the minimum amount of investment will go up from $500,000 to $900,000 starting Nov. 21, 2019. If you apply today, we should be in line with your plan.
USCIS is posting 28.5 months to 49.5 months for I-526 petition processing times. Once you get that approved, if the situation does not change by then, consular processing to get your conditional green card approved should most likely take less than 12 months. If you are lucky, therefore you should be able to get your green card within three years and meet the 2022 deadline. That said, according to USCIS, some cases are pending over 49 months for I-526 petition approval. If you become one of those cases, you will, unfortunately, miss your 2022 deadline.
Expect two to three years for processing.
Currently it is taking approximately two years for I-526 to be adjudicated, so starting as soon as possible would be advisable. Once I-526 is approved, then you can proceed to filing for adjustment in the U.S. and while adjustment is pending you can remain/work (with an EAD) in the U.S.
They are taking between 24 to 30 months to approve EB-5 cases lately. If you have an experienced EB-5 lawyer, your chances of having the case approved more quickly go up, as they tend not to make mistakes. Once the EB-5 is approved, and if the quota from your country is current (and it should be based on today's numbers), you can file for your green card. Ninety days later you get work permission.
Currently there is no visa backlog for natives of Pakistan. USCIS processing time can vary, but typically an I-526 gets approved in two to 2.5 years. With the processing time for an adjustment of status, you might not quite make it in three years, but you should be close. Keep in mind that USCIS processing times vary and are unpredictable, so you should have an overall strategy that accounts for possible delays. Also, if S386/HR 1044 passes, which would eliminate per-country limits on employment-based visas, there would be a backlog for people born anywhere, so you might end up facing a backlog of several years. We do not know how likely this is to pass, but right now it has not passed and there is no backlog. In either case, if you are going to make an EB-5 investment, it would be wise to do it before the minimum amount goes up on Nov. 21.
Make the EB-5 investment now before the minimum investment goes up as high as $1.8 million on Nov. 21, 2019, and given likely increase in processing times and possible backlog in visa numbers.
No, it is not too late. However, in order to take advantage of the $500,000 EB-5 investment visa, your application must be filed prior to Nov. 21, 2019, since the new law will increase the investment amount to $900,000. I suggest to consult with an experienced EB-5 attorney so you can plan accordingly.
DISCLAIMER: the information found on this website is intended to be general information; it is not legal or financial advice. Specific legal or financial advice can only be given by a licensed professional with full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. You should seek consultation with legal, immigration, and financial experts prior to participating in the EB-5 program. Posting a question on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public: do not include confidential information in your question.