Is it better to adjust status or undergo consular processing?

EB-5 investors already living in the United States on another immigrant visa have several options when filing their I-526 petition. They can: file Form I-485 for adjustment of status upon their I-526 petition’s acceptance and wait for its approval; file Form I-485 alongside their I-526 petition via concurrent filing; or they can return to their home country and process their petition for conditional permanent residency through their local United States embassy or consulate — this is referred to as consular processing.

In most cases, it is difficult to determine which way is faster: Form I-485 or the consular process. Processing times vary for both options.

Many factors can cause processing delays in either case, such as the volume of caseloads at a particular U.S. consulate or a local office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Typically, the wait time for an EB-5 investor to adjust their status to a conditional U.S. permanent resident is typically between 8 and 12 months, from the time USCIS deems them eligible.

Generally speaking, if an EB5 investor is in the United States on a valid nonimmigrant visa, it is better to file Form I-485 and adjust their status rather than to return home and go through consular processing. This is especially true if the investor is eligible for concurrent filing. In the past, all investors living in the U.S. had to wait for I-526 approval before they could apply for adjustment of status. Now, with the option of concurrent filing, certain investors can file their I-485 petition before they receive I-526 approval. This can significantly reduce wait times and allow investors to receive their conditional green cards much faster.

There are several other advantages to adjusting status while already living in the United States. For instance, when filing Form I-485, an applicant can file for their work authorization at the same time. They can also file for a travel permit, which will be issued within about 90 days.