What is the expected timeline after submitting the EB-5 application?
I have invested in the regional center program and my application is pending with NVC. I have paid the fee for myself and my family members, submitted all documents, and now am awaiting further action and direction. I am not a Chinese citizen and wanted to know if there is any delay in visa number availability for my application. What is a realistic timeline for this point in the EB-5 application process?
Currently, the I-526 application timeline is about 13.5 months, no matter whether you are Chinese or not. However, if your I-526 application is approved, your case will transferred to the next step. You do not need to wait for more time.
If you are going through the consular process after approval of the I-526 petition, it generally may take six months to one year to enter the United States on an immigrant visa unless there are complications in your case. You should contact your immigration attorney regarding the status of your consular process case.
You will not have a delay in a visa number, but the National Visa Center (NVC) is experiencing a high case volume. Based upon our recent cases, each step is taking 60-90 days. Once the NVC finalizes their review, the case is then sent to the U.S. embassy to schedule the immigrant visa interviews and send you the immigrant visa interview appointment notice. This is again, estimated to take the U.S. embassy 60-90 days to schedule the interview, so it is likely the interview will not be scheduled for 90-120 days after the U.S. embassy receives the case from the NVC.
Once you file the I-526 petition for immigrant investor, the average processing time is approximately 14-16 months. Once that is approved, depending on whether you are present in the United States or living abroad, you file either the adjustment of status application (in the United States) - (12-18 months processing time) - or you file for an immigrant visa processing through the NVC/U.S. consulate (which takes anywhere from 6-12 months depending on the consular post). So if your case is pending currently at the NVC, you may have just a few months left before you are done with the process and scheduled for an interview at the consulate.
After the I-526 is approved and you have the NVC number, you pay fees, send in documents, and wait for an interview slot in your country (varies by how busy that consulate is - most are about six weeks from that point.
If you are not from mainland China, the priority date is current, which means there should be no delay in processing your application, except NVC is overwhelmed with work and is having a lot of errors and delays. They state that they will forward the files to the consulate post after 30 days of receiving all the applications and supporting documents, such as marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc. They will notify you of your interview date once they complete the review of your application and get the date that the consulate post could interview you. One important point that I would stress is that you should bring a copy of the entire I-526 petition package in addition to all the DS-260 and supporting documents you submitted with you to the interview. Although USCIS is supposed to send the entire file to NVC and then NVC to the consulate posts before the interview, that has not been happening lately. Good luck and congratulations on the I-526 approval.
If you are a national and citizen of a country other than China, there is a visa currently available. If you have already received notice from NVC to submit fees and documents, you should be receiving an embassy appointment date shortly. The length of wait time depends upon the U.S. embassy and can vary from embassy to embassy.
John J Downey
It's hard to say; a usual answer would be 12 to 14 months. However, since the scare of last year that new changes might be imposed after Sept. 30, 2015 a rash of applications were forwarded to USCIS and I'm afraid this will cause a real backlog, unless they prioritize the applications by separating actual applications from "exemplar" applications.
Normally, NVC will complete the review of your civil documents in one month. If no further documents are requested from you, it will send your application to the overseas U.S. consulate which has jurisdiction of the area where you reside. Depending on the case load of that consulate, you will be notified about the time of the interview. The waiting time before the interview is scheduled varies.