Amongst the many risky and unreliable immigration routes to the United States, the EB-5 investment program boasts a comparatively lower risk and simpler route to obtaining a U.S. Green Card. Since its inception in 1990, the EB-5 visa has allowed thousands of foreign nationals to relocate to the United States.
However, the program is not without its faults. Slow processing times of the EB-5 visa has proven to be an issue. In particular, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been known to take as long as two years to process I-526 petitions. This slow adjudication proves to be a matter of great urgency for foreign nationals who are keen to start the EB-5 process, or whose children will soon become too old to qualify for the EB-5 investment visa. More importantly, longer arbitration periods on the part of USCIS has proven to make it more difficult for EB-5 ventures to succeed in the future– the ventures may have to make major adjustments. Also, waiting many years to receive the customary two-year residence is not always practical for investors whose U.S. visas have an impending expiry date.
Thankfully, for business investors looking to facilitate the arbitration period of their I-526 petitions, there is a solution: apply to USCIS to grant their project expedited status.
What Does Expedited Status Entail?
Expedited status will effectively facilitate the arbitration period of any given EB-5 venture and reduce the processing time of its I-526 petitions to around four to ten months. This shortened processing time should make expedited status highly attractive to EB-5 investors. In addition to knowing the status of their project sooner, business investors will be able to access their EB5 investment funding sooner.
How to Acquire Expedited Status
Most projects do not succeed in acquiring expedited status. For business investors, attaining expedited status entails meticulous organization and planning. In the majority of cases, USCIS grants it to ventures that advance pressing matters of national interest. In terms of EB-5 ventures that qualify as advancing national interests, some examples include a COVID-19 analysis center that researches remedies for the virus or a residential housing project in a region recently devastated by a natural disaster.
Business investors must first acquire a reference letter from an authoritative figure from a federal, state or municipal U.S. government agency. The letter must speak to why the particular business or venture is important. Afterwards, the investor needs to compile substantial documentation that summarizes the venture itself and explains how their EB-5 investment capital will be used to advance U.S. national interests. The investor may also need financial figures and third-party sources to illustrate their point.
The Merits of Investing in an Expedited EB-5 Venture
Foreign nationals are advised to invest in an expedited project should the opportunity arise; these projects are unusual within the EB-5 industry. As stated above, some of the worries investors may face include being granted approval for employment, ensuring their children receive visas before turning too old to qualify, and mitigating the chances of being forced to make significant changes to their business. These worries can all be overcome through the quicker processing period offered by the expedited status. Overall, expedited status can facilitate the acquisition of U.S. permanent residency.