Foreign nationals must generally wait long periods of time before they can receive approval for their I-526 petition, the first step in beginning the EB-5 visa application process. The I-526 forms are subject to a lengthy screening process by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This can be a source of frustration for investors who are keen to immigrate to the United States. There have been instances of investors taking legal action against USCIS for what they perceive to be obstructive waiting times for their petitions to be approved. Some have even taken measures to oblige USCIS to arbitrate their petitions without delay.
USCIS has always taken a notably lengthy period of time to arbitrate investors’ petitions, but doing so could be detrimental for future investors.
Lengthy I-526 Processing Periods are Detrimental to Investors
Taking on the EB5 investment process can be a huge burden for many prospective investors. The amount of $800,000, which is the current investment minimum, may be the sum total of an investor’s entire savings. The process itself can be costly, as investors are liable to spend money on various necessary expenditures, such as the fees for immigration lawyers and USCIS processing and filing. There are further expenses to be considered in relocating from one’s home country to the United States for the two-year conditional residency. All factors considered, USCIS should process investors’ applications with maximum efficiency.
Investors with families may find the EB-5 investment process especially appealing. With an approved EB-5 visa, an investor’s spouse and children are also eligible to receive U.S. green cards. However, if the investor’s children grow older than 21 before USCIS approves the investor’s petition, they may not qualify for conditional permanent resident status. Investors should also be mindful of the fact that without an approved visa, an EB-5 project is susceptible to facing issues and could be unsuccessful in fulfilling USCIS criteria. An investor whose I-526 petition is arbitrated quickly is more likely to gain USCIS’ approval. Furthermore, while business owners may wish, over time, to make changes to their ventures in order to adapt to changing external factors, USCIS is strict with prohibiting these businesses from changing too drastically.
Quick processing times will not only benefit investors whose applications will be feasibly approved. For those investors whose EB-5 visa petitions are rejected due to legitimate or invalid claims of disqualification, they will also be in an advantageous position should they receive notification of the rejection at a sooner date. These investors will be afforded more time to reacquire their funding from escrow. If necessary, they will also have more time to ask for a reassessment of their application on the part of USCIS.
Currently, there are many pending issues within the EB-5 investment process. USCIS’ slower arbitration time is just one of many things that warrant improvement.