Your I-526 Petition May Be Approved Quicker Than You Think

Potential foreign investors who wish to participate in the EB-5 visa program are often concerned with the long wait times it may take to approve their I-526 petition. Perhaps you’ve considered pursuing an EB-5 visa and were dissuaded by USCIS’ lengthy estimated processing times to approve your I-526. However, these numbers can be misleading and the recent push for legislative reform of the EB-5 program is likely to address both these issues. 

USCIS currently lists the estimated processing time of an I-526 petition at 35.5 to 68.5 months, however their data on historical averages lists the average processing time for fiscal year 2020 as 14.2 months. 

Why Potential Investors Should Not be Deterred. 

It’s easy for potential investors to see these estimates and shy away from the EB-5 program, however with the EB-5 program likely to see reforms in the coming months, now is the time to begin your investment. 

Two pieces of proposed legislation we have previously discussed on this site, President Biden’s immigration reform act, The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 and the Grassley/Leahy EB-5 reform bill, The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, would help solve some of these issues.  Both bills include provisions that could ensure excessive processing times for I-526 approval become a thing of the past. 

The Grassley/Leahy bill, if passed, would focus largely on reforms to the EB-5 program, but would also address lengthy processing time for I-526 petitions. The bill includes a provision that would require I-526 petitions to be processed within 240 days.

Biden’s immigration reform bill aims to implement reforms to the US immigration system as a whole and is not focused specifically on the EB-5 program. However, the bill aims to “modernize our legal immigration pathways”, presumably this would include reforms to USCIS administration aimed at increasing efficiency and speeding up processing times. 

Why investors Should Care about Legislation 

Potential investors might be tempted to simply wait and see what reforms are passed by Congress to Immigration and the EB-5 program, but this may be against their best interests. If both Biden’s immigration plan and the Grassley/Leahy bill were to be passed this year it could result in an explosion of EB-5 applications, one which potential investors would be wise to preempt by beginning their application as soon as possible. Furthermore, Biden’s immigration bill could potentially make tens of thousands of new EB-5 visas available for those who have had their I-526 approved, so those who begin the I-526 process now could potentially receive Visas much sooner than they think.



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