4 Ways to Get EB-5 Visas Faster [INFOGRAPHIC]

Picture of Deryck Jordan

Deryck Jordan

Deryck is admitted as an Attorney at Law in New York and Berlin.

Until recently EB-5 investors have faced remarkably long processing times for their EB-5 applications.  Fortunately, in 2024 there are relatively new mechanisms in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program whereby applicants can receive EB-5 visas and US green cards even faster.

Standard EB-5 Application Process

As depicted in the infographic, the EB-5 application process includes the following steps:

  • Investment, either:
    • A standalone investment, whereby a new commercial enterprise is funded by a single EB-5 investor
    • A regional center investment, whereby the investments of multiple EB-5 investors are pooled to a fund of a new commercial enterprise
  • Petition
  • Application for a green card, via either:
    • An immigrant visa (if the EB-5 investor is overseas) or
    • Adjustment of status (if the EB-5 investor is already in the US).

Until recently, processing times for EB-5 petitions often exceeded two years.

Faster Processing of EB-5 Applications

Despite the historically long processing times for EB-5 petitions, there are now four mechanisms for faster processing of these applications.

  1. “Visa Availability” Approach

Historically EB-5 petitions have been adjudicated by USCIS on a first come, first served (or first-in, first-out) basis.  That approach was inefficient, because some of the EB-5 applications were from applicants with nationalities with no visa date available, thereby causing a backlog in the entire EB-5 application line.

Now a new “visa availability” approach is being used, whereby USCIS first processes EB-5 petitions from investors for whom a visa is currently (or will soon be) available.  With this new approach, the processing time for many EB-5 applicants has been significantly reduced.

  1. Priority Processing

Pursuant to relatively new legislation regarding regional centers, USCIS has been prioritizing in 2024 the processing and adjudication of petitions that involve investments in rural areas.  It is important to emphasize that this prioritization is currently only available for regional center investors and not standalone investors.

  1. Reserved Visas

Through new legislation, 10% of EB-5 visas that are available annually are set aside for investments in projects in high unemployment areas, while 2% of EB-5 visas are set aside for investments in infrastructure projects.  As a result, the corresponding EB-5 applications (ie, for investments in projects in high unemployment areas and infrastructure projects) also benefit from faster processing.  However, this special provision for infrastructure projects is limited to commercial enterprises that are sponsored by regional centers.

  1. Expedite Requests

In extraordinary cases, an EB-5 petition can receive expedited processing by USCIS.  Common grounds for approving EB-5 expedite requests include:

  • To prevent or limit severe financial loss to a company or person
  • Emergencies or urgent humanitarian situations

If you would like to learn more about EB-5 visas, the law firm JORDAN COUNSEL can gladly help you.

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