It is very difficult to anticipate how long United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will take to adjudicate any given EB-5 petition. Each unique application comes with its own considerations, and therefore the processing times for different EB-5 investors could vary greatly. Generally speaking, the I-526 petition takes an average of two years to process, though in some cases, USCIS may take as long as four to five years for adjudication. For EB-5 investors with expedited status, the processing time can be reduced to mere months. There is no set processing time, as the lengthiness of adjudication is entirely contingent on the individual nature of each EB-5 investor’s application.
This rule applies to direct investments as well, in that a direct EB-5 investor’s petition processing time would not differ principally from that of a regional center investor. As previously noted, any difference in processing times would be based on the individual petitions themselves, rather than the nature of the investment.
USCIS offers current processing time approximations for EB-5 petitions on its website. As of June 2022, USCIS has a processing time of 48.5 months for Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, for 80% of filed petitions. Meanwhile, while it is not indicated on USCIS’s website, EB-5 investors with expedited status can expect to receive a decision on their I-526 petitions within three to six months.
The processing time for other EB-5 petitions are also on the USCIS website. Specifically, Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, has a processing time of 57 months for 80% of filed petitions as at June 2022.
Prospective investors should note that Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status can now be filed concurrently with the I-526 petition in accordance with the 2022 EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, is a Department of State (DS) petition and thus considered a non-USCIS form, which means updated processing times for the petition are not available on the USCIS website.