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Which investment route of EB-5 could let me enter the U.S. faster, a regional center project or a direct investment?

I want to apply for the EB-5 program, but I have not decided if I want to proceed with a regional center project or a direct investment. Suppose I have the ability to move on with either of them. Which will allow me to enter the U.S. faster? I am not from a country that is subject to the visa backlog.

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    We have seen approvals of direct EB-5 cases in five to six months recently. A direct EB-5 case will take longer to prepare than the regional center-based case, but overall we have seen shorter processing times for direct EB-5 cases recently.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It appears that many good regional center projects are actually getting approved faster than a direct, but there is no clear pattern and it varies case by case. Best to make an investment in a solid project since one cannot really predict.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm to want to process your application as soon as possible, I am not sure that should be your primary concern. I believe you should pick a project which gives you the highest likelihood that you will actually receive the green card and perhaps equally importantly your funds back. While by law, no project can guarantee your funds to be paid back to you. If you go through the regional center route and you choose to deal with a reputable regional center and developer with an impeccable track record, you will for sure increase the chances of getting your green card and investment back. The common wisdom for quick results in EB-5 is to invest in projects which offer expedited processing of I-526. While I agree that, all other things constant, especially if you are coming from a country which is not experiencing retrogression that is a good thing, many people fail to look into the investment and immigration-related characteristics of the actual project. Direct investment is a good option if you would like to be actively involved in your project as opposed to being a passive investor. In general, for a variety of reasons, the direct investment route will most likely take you longer. Even so, if that is what you want, it is certainly not a wrong move. Just be aware that it would be much more complicated than the regional center route. You will need to get a business plan writer, most likely have to invest $ 1 million rather than $ 500,000 as qualifying for TEA designation would be much more difficult on a direct investment. Last but not least, you would actually have to hire 10 fulltime employees and still be able to be a profitable going concern to protect your investment.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no difference in processing times for either EB-5 through regional centers or direct investment. However, at present, the regional center program has lapsed (starting from December 2018). So until it is extended, your option would be to file through direct investment.

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    Hassan Elkhalil

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Direct investment takes a little longer only because you have to prepare your package to send to the USCIS. The preparation takes some time. The regional center is faster because they normally have all of the supporting documents ready for you to submit with your application to the USCIS.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The average processing time for all EB-5 cases is about 2 years. USCIS does not break this estimate down between regional center investments and direct investments. I have seen regional center investments in established regional centers and projects take less than a year. Some regional center projects are approved for expedited processing that can get an I-526 decided in just a few months. There really is not a standard faster process, but working with an immigration attorney can help you avoid delays by getting a sound review of the immigration aspects of the project.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The primary decision should depend on which the safest investment is, be it a direct investment or a quality regional center project. As a general rule, filing through a reputable regional center is probably faster, given the fact that with prior approved I-526 petitions, it is less likely you will receive a request for evidence.

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    Mark AM Catam, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An investment in a regional center could be faster than direct investment for the following reasons: (i) some regional center petitions get adjudicated in as quick as 15-18 months (on average, cases are adjudicated in 24-27 months), especially if the regional center project has received an exemplar approval; (ii) setting up and structuring a direct EB-5 commercial enterprise could take time, while most regional center projects are ready to go.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There are some expedited regional centers you might check out, which would be the fastest depending on your country of birth.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Theoretically, the regional center option should be faster since they have a certain amount of visas reserved for the program each year. In reality, it has never been clear how much faster one is over the other. However, if your goal is to have your I-526 adjudicated as soon as possible, it may be advantageous for you to invest in a project that has been approved for expedited processing to speed up the process.

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