How long does it take to obtain an EB-5 visa?

There are various groups of immigrants who wish to relocate in the USA in a particular time period and have decided that investing $ 500,000 for a number of years through the EB-5 investor visa is worthwhile given the favorable reputation of the EB-5 program as one of the fastest routes to permanent residence status in the USA.

In particular there are families who are in the USA on a non permanent visa such as the H1B, L1. E2 or F1 and are concerned that they may not have their visa renewed. They often require a visa providing permanent residence status as quickly as possible.

Other families may have specific time requirements such as the need to be settled in the USA in time for the start of the School or College year.

Others may wish to begin operating a business or take up a job within a critical time frame.

There a number of key issues that will determine how long it may take you from the time you decide to apply for you green card through the EB-5 immigrant investor route, to the time you have successfully obtained your conditional green cards.

These issues include:-

Researching and identifying the most appropriate regional center program that best matches your needs. This may at first sight seem a daunting task given that their are well over one hundred regional centers that have been approved by The United States Citizenship and Immigration service (USCIS) to offer programs. Undertaking due diligence including possible site visits could be near impossible and potentially take many months. However there are experienced companies providing free advice based, among other criteria, on the statistics of previous applications. This could potentially allow you to make a sound decision in as little as a few days.
Choosing an experienced and competent EB-5 Attorney may again seem a long and painful process given so many claim they can undertake work on processing EB-5 visas. However, immigration attorneys vary vastly in experience regarding working on the EB-5 with some who have successfully undertaken hundreds of applications whereas others have processed only a handful. Processing times between Attorneys can also vary greatly, with some concentrating on your application and taking a few days, others can take weeks. There are experienced attorneys who are also familiar with different languages and paperwork requirements in various countries; this can help avoid delays in translations and related matters.
If you have been advised regarding a well established regional center program you should find you are less likely to be delayed by being served with a Request for Further Evidence (RFE) from USCIS. Some programs offer the same investment type year after year and will be familiar to USCIS examiners. Other programs are constantly changing and may raise questions that USCIS examiners require answers to leading to potentially lengthy time delays. This maybe the case if the regional center you selected does not have the experience to answer the questions and has to seek time-consuming legal advice.
Other considerations range from having all your required paperwork together and if you are transferring currency from overseas, utilizing an experienced and safe currency specialist to obtain the best exchange rate and avoid delays.
There is also the current time of processing through USCIS to take into account. In general this has varied over the past two years from as little as two months to over six months. Currently it is running at approximately four months.
Finally, depending upon whether you are living in the USA or overseas, you will need to apply for an Adjustment of Status, or a Consulate interview, each consulate will have different waiting times.

Assuming you have all your required documents ready, are properly advised regarding choice of regional centers to match your requirements, and have been advised of an experienced attorney you should allow a minimum of six to eight months to obtain permanent residence in the USA. However, if your documents are not in order, you chose a program that may suffer delays or questions, and your attorney is inexperienced or slow, you could be looking at more than one year.

Note that the EB-5 regional center pilot program is due to end in 2012.

More details on the EB-5 investment visa and green card are available at Which EB5 where, If you are seriously considering the EB5 visa, you can get a free evaluation of your case by a leading immigration attorney.

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