What can Mainland-born Chinese EB-5 investors do to get green cards more quickly?

For the time being, there is nothing EB-5 investors from Mainland China can do to expedite their EB-5 process and more quickly obtain a U.S. green card, bar pursuing other immigration avenues.

Due to the oversubscription of Mainland-born Chinese investors in the EB-5 program, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been forced to contend with a significant backlog in processing EB-5 petitions from these investors. After filing Form I-526, Chinese investors must wait for their designated final action date to align with their I-526 petition priority date. This regulation, compounded with the typical lengthy adjudication times for EB-5 petitions, results in Chinese investors having to wait several years before being able to apply for an EB-5 visa.

Despite all these hindrances, the EB-5 program has remained popular with prospective Mainland-born investors. In the meantime, however, the backlog continues to grow.

As of 2018, the projected wait time for a Mainland-born Chinese EB-5 investor to obtain an EB-5 visa is around 15 years. This is problematic for a number of reasons; for one, there is a concern for prospective Mainland-Chinese investors who have already filed and submitted Form I-526 that their dependent(s) will surpass the 21 year age cap during the waiting window, which will render certain advantages of the EB-5 visa meaningless. Furthermore, with wait times potentially exceeding 10 years, Chinese investors must worry about ensuring their investment remains “at risk” over a much longer period of time. As a result, there is a concern that they may have to redeploy their investment capital into a riskier EB-5 project.

Obtaining a U.S. Green Card: Exploring Other Options

Given the current obstacles in obtaining an EB-5 visa for Mainland-born Chinese investors, considering other immigration options may be worthwhile.

Some of the most enduring options include employment-based immigration, such as through the first preference EB-1 visa, second preference EB-2 visa, or third preference EB-3 visa. All three options offer foreign nationals the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents in the U.S. through employment.