How Long Does It Take To Get an EB-5 Visa

Are you considering investing in the United States through the EB 5 visa program? Every year, many foreign nationals invest in the visa program to obtain green cards and become US citizens. This visa program is designed to create jobs in the United States through investment in American businesses.

The time it takes to get an EB 5 visa is different for every investor. It varies depending on several factors, including:

Investor’s Country of Origin

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prioritizes EB 5 petitions filed by investors from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. These are known as “underrepresented countries” and include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

If you are from an underrepresented country, you’ll get your visa faster than investors from other countries. The USCIS encourages investment from these countries to promote diversity in the program.

Employment Situation of the Investor

Investors that are already employed in the United States on another visa have an easier time getting an EB 5 visa. Having a job in the USA shows that you can support yourself and won’t become a public charge. USCIS believes you’re more likely to create jobs for Americans if you’re already employed in the United States.

If you are unemployed, do not despair. You will get the visa, but you have to prove that you have financial resources to support yourself and your family. USCIS may request that you provide proof of assets, such as bank statements or property ownership. You will also have to prove that you have a legitimate plan to create jobs for Americans.

Investor’s Source of Funds

If your investment funds have a legitimate source, such as earnings from employment or business profits, you will have a shorter wait time for an EB-5 visa. You will have a long wait if you can’t prove that your funds’ source is legitimate.

USCIS ascertains whether the funds you are investing are legally acquired. They check your documents, bank statements, and tax records to verify the source of your funds. This process takes several months. The USCIS does not issue visas to persons investing with money acquired illegally, such as drug trafficking or money laundering.

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If you are borrowing or using funds from another source, you need to prove that the money is a loan. You also need to show that you have enough income to make loan payments.

Investor’s Priority Date

USCIS processes petitions in the order in which they are received. The priority date (the USCIS receipt date on your I-526 petition) decides when your application will be handled. If you’re from a country with high rates of immigration, expect a longer wait time as there are more people ahead of you in line.

The USCIS uses a quota system to allot certain visas per country. Investors from China, India, and South Korea have the most extended wait times. If you are from these countries, the sooner you file your petition, the earlier you get your visa.

Type of EB 5 Visa Investment

If you’re investing in a new commercial enterprise, you’ll wait longer than if you’re investing in a regional center. New commercial enterprises are businesses created or purchased after November 29, 1990. If you’re investing in a new commercial enterprise, you’ll have to prove that your investment will create at least ten full-time jobs for Americans.

Investing in a regional center is easier because you don’t have to prove that your investment will create jobs. You only show that your investment will create economic activity in the regional center. This can be through increased tax revenue, job creation, or improved infrastructure.

Get US Permanent Residency Through the EB 5 Visa Program

You can get permanent US residency through the EB 5 visa program if you meet specific requirements. The time you’ll have to wait for the visa depends on your country, source of funds, employment situation, type of investment, and when USCIS received your petition. 

If your business plan meets USCIS requirements, you will receive your visa faster. The best way to avoid delays is to file a complete and accurate petition. As a rule of thumb, expect a wait time of around 12-18 months. You are eligible for concurrent Adjustment of Status filing if you are married to a U.S. citizen and live in the U.S.

By Manali