USCIS Revises Processing Time Estimates for EB-5 Investors

Processing Estimates Split by Country of Birth

In January, USCIS announced that adjudication of I-526 forms would be shifted from the existing “first-in, first-out” approach to one that aligns with visa availability according to the visa bulletin. Since the policy was implemented in March, the visa bulletin has progressed and India’s EB-5 category is now current. However, the processing times estimated on the USCIS website jumped from an estimate of 29.5 to 44.5 months in May to a range of 46 to 74.5 months in August. Last week USCIS split the estimates into two categories: China (mainland born) and all other areas. Investors from India and other countries now have an estimated wait of 31.5 to 60 months, while those born in mainland China face an estimated wait of 54 to 75 months.

Since China and Vietnam are not current for September, we should see USCIS begin to prioritize the adjudication of cases from other countries. We recently received an approval for a client who filed with a regional center in February of 2018. The client’s case took approximately 28 months, which is slightly ahead of the official estimate of 31.5 to 60 months.

Based on the approvals and communications EB-5 investors have received, many experts believe that it is unlikely USCIS is actually processing cases from 2014 and 2015. The processing times site states that your case must have been filed before the listed receipt dates in order to make a case inquiry: June 18, 2014 for Chinese investors and September 15, 2015 for all other investors. It could be a ploy to reduce the number of inquiries being made over the delayed processing.

Processing times for Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program have also decreased slightly. Earlier this year USCIS was estimating processing times between 4 and 8 years, but the lower limit of that estimate shifted to 2 years. The receipt date for a case inquiry remains at the eight-year mark: August 30, 2012.

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