USCIS does not estimate different processing times for EB-5 direct investments and regional center investments. The processing times for I-526 petitions depend on a variety of factors, the most important of which is the petition’s simplicity and clarity. USCIS adjudicates straightforward petitions more quickly, while complex projects may take longer. In some cases, direct investments may be processed faster because the adjudicator does not need to perform an economic analysis to calculate job creation. Still, processing times for I-526 petitions will be primarily determined by their simplicity and clarity.
In addition to clarity and simplicity, processing times may also depend on the adjudicator assigned to the I-526 petition. Different adjudicators may use varying approaches when evaluating I-526 petitions, so some may be faster than others.
The source of the funds invested in the EB-5 project may also have a bearing on the processing time. Investors may obtain their funds from one source, or they may have to show that the funds came from multiple sources. Since all investors must prove that their funds come from legal sources, more numerous or complex sources will likely take longer to evaluate and may cause processing delays.
Investors should take great care to avoid errors in their I-526 petition. For instance, if they fail to provide necessary documentation, such as a business license, they may receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. More seriously, errors could result in an outright denial of the petition.
Perhaps the best way to avoid processing delays for I-526 petitions is to hire an immigration attorney who has ample experience working with the EB-5 visa program. Investors should check their petitions several times with the help of their immigration attorneys, who will easily detect any errors. Experienced immigration attorneys can also help investors determine the best way to fund their EB-5 projects.