The entire EB-5 timeline comprises several stages, each with its own variable timeline. But as of this writing, the average EB-5 applicant will be an unconditional permanent resident and complete every step in the EB-5 process in about four and a half to five and a half years.
Live in the U.S. as a conditional permanent resident in 2 years
Prospective investors should note that a petitioner can live in the U.S. with a conditional Green Card in about two years — or even less if they have expedited processing or if their petition gets arbitrarily adjudicated more quickly than others.
For an up-to-date understanding of the timing of any stage in the EB-5 process, consult with an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer.
Here is a breakdown of the timing of each step of the EB-5 process:
1. Selecting a qualifying EB-5 investment: 3 days to 3 months
For many EB-5 investors, selecting an investment can take several months or more, depending on how many projects the petitioner wants to review and what level of due diligence they would like to conduct on their investment options.
For investors using eb5Marketplace, the process is simplified by having multiple investments in one place with due diligence, and an online platform that makes it easy to review and compare investments; investors using eb5Marketplace have been known to make an informed investment selection in just a few days.
2. Preparing I-526 investor petition: 1 to 3 months
A top immigration lawyer can often put together a investor’s EB-5 petition, Form I-526, in a month or so, based on the challenges associated with proving a lawful source and path of funds going into the investment
However, this timing can be difficult to estimate and may take months if, for example, there are money transfer issues, or if the investor is missing documents, or has something in their history that might be a red flag for USCIS. An experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer will ask you questions to help assess the complications involved.
3. Processing of investor’s Form I-526 petition by USCIS: one and a half to two years
This step in the EB-5 process has historically been the most fluid. The processing time of the investor petition depends on many factors, including the volume of petitions, political factors, and more.
At the time of this writing many experienced lawyers are estimating that I-526 processing will take about a year and a half to two years for investors coming from countries who are “current” in the Visa Bulletin; all countries at the moment are current except for China and Vietnam.
Investors from those China and Vietnam should speak with an immigration lawyer for an estimation of their current I-526 processing wait times.
4. Consular processing for foreign investors or adjustment of status of U.S. investors: 6 to 12 months
If an EB-5 investor is living in the U.S. when their I-526 is approved, they will have to file a Form I-485 for an adjustment of status to receive their conditional Green Card. If an investor overseas has an approved petition, they must file a Form DS-260 and attend a consular interview in order to process their Green Card. Either way, expect this stage in the EB-5 process to take about six to 12 months.
5. Removal of Green Card conditions: 2 years
Once an investor has a conditional Green Card, they are expected to move to the US. After one year and nine months, petitioners will file a Form I-829, which evidences the creation of the necessary 10 jobs, in order to remove conditions of their permanent residency. I-829 processing can take about two years.