If an EB-5 investor believes their I-526 petition is taking longer to process than normal, the first step would be to check the Processing Times page on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to determine what the current I-526 adjudication time is. The Case Status Online feature can also be used to track the status of a specific petition.
The processing time range indicates delays rather than estimated average processing times. The lower number shows the processing time for 50% of petitions, while the high number shows the processing time for 93% of petitions. Thus, the processing of only 43% of petitions falls within this range. However, these metrics are estimates based on data from two months before, so they provide only a general idea of processing times.
If the petition is past the current listed adjudication time, the investor should ask the attorney who filed their I-526 petition about any communication between the attorney and USCIS—and request that the attorney make an inquiry regarding the delay. If the investor invested through a regional center, they may also consider asking the regional center whether the project is having difficulty receiving I-526 approvals.
Several factors can cause I-526 approval delays. These include adjudicator differences, complicated sources of funds, country backlogs, and petition errors. Consequently, if two investors make EB5 investments in the same project and submit their I-526 petitions at the same time, their petitions may be approved at different times. The adjudicator working on one petition may be slower than the adjudicator working on the other, or one investor’s source-of-funds documentation might be more complex, which lengthen adjudication time.
The best course of action for an EB-5 investor whose I-526 approval seems to be delayed is to consult their immigration attorney, who will be able to advise them on EB-5 program news and legislative changes that might explain the delay. An attorney will also be able to help the investor decide whether it would be beneficial to file a writ of mandamus to compel USCIS to adjudicate the petition.