The answer to the question “How long does it take for an EB-5 visa application to be processed?” is complex, simply because it is circumstantial. A number of factors may influence the answer as it applies to any specific individual. For this reason, it is generally a good idea to speak with an attorney experienced in investment-related visa applications about your specific situation if you seek a highly contextual and detailed estimate of your particular potential wait time. Chances are that you will be advised that you will need to wait a year or longer for your visa application to be processed. However, there may be exceptions to this general rule.
How EB-5 Visa Requirements Influence Wait Times
In order to file a successful EB-5 visa application and obtain permission to live and work in the United States subject to the terms of that visa, an individual must meet certain investment-related qualifications. And unless an investor knows exactly which eligible business or development opportunity he or she wishes to invest in, that research will take time.
As part of the eB-5 application process, an applicant must make a $1 million capital investment in an eligible commercial enterprise. This investment may be made in cash, but may also be made in the form(s) of tangible property, equipment, secured indebtedness or inventory, depending on the particular circumstances of the arrangement. It is worth noting that the required investment floor drops to $500,000 when an individual opts to invest in a so-called targeted employment area that is specifically flagged due to its high unemployment or rural nature.
An investor may alternatively opt to contribute to an EB-5 Regional Center project as opposed to contributing a direct investment. These decisions will have significant consequences for an applicant so they should not be rushed. If an enterprise is not a good fit, the investor may ultimately have a difficult time meeting the EB-5 employment requirements necessary for transition into permanent EB-5 resident status. As a result, preparation for filing the visa application may sometimes take longer than American immigration agencies will take to process the physical application itself.
Practical Preparation and Application Review
Once you have carefully selected your investment opportunity, your attorney will need several weeks to prepare your application. The application process is detailed, so it takes time to prepare completely, accurately and to the ultimate satisfaction of immigration authorities. Once submitted, it will take approximately between five and nine months for USCIS to conduct a Form I-526 review.
Finally, it will likely take between four and nine months for consulate interview or Adjustment of Status Form I-485 filing. The length of that delay will both depend on current backlogs within the immigration system and where you are currently located. Once these processes are complete and your visa is approved, you will be granted entrance into the United States for two years and will begin the process of securing your permanent residency status.
Investment and Immigration Assistance Is Available
The application process is a long one but you don’t have to go at it alone. If you have questions about investment-related visas, please contact the team at LawTrades. We have extensive legal experience navigating individuals and businesses through many distinct employment-based immigration processes.