United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is known to have lengthy processing times for I-526 petitions. Unfortunately, there is no maximum length of time for EB-5 investors’ petitions to be adjudicated. On the USCIS website, EB-5 investors can view the Check Processing Times Page to get an estimated timeframe.
The Check Processing Times page of the USCIS website also provides estimates for other petitions, such as Forms I-829 and I-924. Once on the page, EB-5 investors will need to select the appropriate form from the drop-down menu to see their estimated timeframe, which will look something like this:
As it reads, this processing time estimate means it took 48.5 months (approximately 4 years) for 80% of cases to be adjudicated in the previous 6 months. USCIS mentions on their website that each case is unique and that some cases may take longer than others. Therefore, the estimated times should be viewed as a point of reference, and not an absolute deadline.
USCIS allows inquiries only for cases that are well outside of their estimated processing date. To determine if an EB-5 investor’s I-526 petition is within the date when an inquiry is allowed, they may visit the USCIS Check Processing Times page, enter their receipt date—which can be found on their receipt notice—and if the case is outside of the average processing time, a link will be provided where an inquiry can be made.
The average processing time, as of May 2022, is beyond the time to complete 93% of adjudicated cases, or beyond 130% of the cycle time.
Given that that I-526 processing times are difficult to understand, it is best for an EB-5 investor to contact their immigration attorney for guidance when inquiring about the status of the petition.