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EB-5 Processing & Procedures

FAQs on step-by-step procedures involved in all phases of EB-5 processing

[Q] What if T5 classification is accorded to I5 case mistakenly?

[Q] Is it a mistake for USCIS to classify on I-526 or I-485 receipt and approval notices an EB-5 case as "T5" when the EB-5 case combines both a regional center (RC) and a targeted employment area (TEA)? USCIS often classifies an EB-5 case as "T5" when it should actually classify the case as "I5". However, our understanding is that T5 (TEA) does not necessarily exclude I5 classification, which combines both TEA and RC features. What is the step that needs to be taken to correct the wrong classification symbol specified in the receipt or approval notice? This problem can arise in a following-to-join scenario where the U.S. consular post argues that the "T5" category indicated on an I-485 approval notice should be corrected to "I5".

USCIS Answer: There is really no need to seek a correction as they both indicate an EB-5 immigrant and that is the essential matter. If there are specific cases in which there has been a problem, please provide the information to us.

Question asked and answer given by USCIS during June 24, 2009 Stakeholders meeting were:

[Q] What types of security checks are involved in EB-5 case processing?

[Q] What types of security checks, including FBI name checks, are required for I- 526s, I-485s (I-526-based), and I-829s? Also, do all I-526s, I-829s and I-526-based I- 485s each require separate FBI name check clearance?

USCIS Answer: It depends on the type and level of benefit being requested. All petitions receive a minimum number of checks; some get additional checks. We can’t delve too deeply into that issue. In general:

IBIS checks last 180 days; FBI name check last 15 months; and Fingerprint checks last 15 months.

[Q] Can regional center or RC's own counsel receive official notices from USCIS?

No, USCIS will send out notices to only attorney of record indicated on G-28 or to the client.

[Q] How can status of I-829 cases be tracked online via USCIS Online Cases Status system?

USCIS stated that because of their computer system constraints, I-829 cases cannot be tracked via USCIS Online Cases Status system with I-829 receipt notice number. Instead, they can be tracked with ASC receipt notice numbers sent out shortly after filing I-829 petitions.

[Q] Is USCIS considering premium and/or concurrent filing processing for EB-5 cases?

A clear "no" is the answer given by USCIS on this issue. We do not believe USCIS wants to have to adjudicate cases that quickly, although I-485 adjudications have shortened due to faster FBI fingerprint checks. We believe the USCIS' goal should be 3 months for both I-526 and I-829. By regulations, USCIS is supposed to adjudicate I-829 within 3 months.

[Q] Are regional center and individual EB-5 cases processed same manner at CSC?

All cases are on the same track and adjudicated within the same general processing time. Examiners are assigned to work on either regional center based cases or individual cases or both. RFE or Notice of Intent to Deny are issued where the examiners believe there is insufficient evidence to establish the requirements.

[HOT] [Q] How long does the entire EB-5 processing take before I can obtain permanent resident status?

You will first obtain conditional permanent resident status, and that my friend, takes around 10 months or more. Here's the reason why. First, it takes anywhere 3 to 6 months to get I-526 immigrant petition approved, and then it takes around the same time to get EITHER I-485 adjustment application or Immigrant Visa approved.

[Q] Do some regional centers' EB-5 petitions get reviewed and approved more quickly?

Not really, although generally speaking, for more established regional centers, CSC adjudicators will probably just focus on the lawful source issues.

[Q] For I-829 conditions removal application, who can be included in the PA's I-829?

A detailed answer already exists in the "Process" menu on top. You can review this article at:

[Q] When choosing an immigration attorney for my EB-5 case, how many years of work experience should the attorney have?

Whether the attorney is sufficiently capable to handle your EB-5 case depends on the attorney's character, intelligence, familiarity, knowledge, etc. with EB-5 area. In our opinion, to handle EB-5 case capably, the attorney should have at least 5 years work experience (some would even say 10 years) in general U.S. immigration law and also have handled (successfully) some EB-5 cases before.

[Q] What divisions or agencies make up USDHS?

The DHS department was established on November 25, 2002, by the Homeland Security Act of 2002. It was intended to consolidate U.S. executive branch organizations related to "homeland security" into a single Cabinet agency. The following 22 agencies were incorporated into the new department. One problem is that in real life, these different agencies do not all work together and interpret U.S. immigration laws in the same way, even though the laws and regulations are the same -- thereby causing some problems and ordeals to permanent residents. I can give you many examples but I won't.

* Customs Service – Treasury
* Coast Guard – Transportation
* Secret Service – Treasury

[Q] What is ASC office and what role does ASC play in EB-5 processing?

ASC is an acronym for Application Support Center, and their primary purpose is to render biometrics (digital fingerprint and photo taking) services for various immigration benefits related applications. Therefore, when EB-5 investor submits I-829 conditions removal or I-131 reentry permit application, the investor will receive ASC Notice telling him or her to go to a specific ASC office at a designated time and place to do biometrics. They are not the same facility as USCIS Field Offices; instead, they provide biometric functions needed for immigration applications that are submitted to USCIS.

Biometric functions used to be rendered by local USCIS Field Offices in the past, but recently, this function has been "farmed out" to ASC offices located near local Field Offices.

[Q] Does CSC adjudicate cases in the first-come, first-out (FIFO) basis?

CSC and USCIS both say they try to adjudicate cases received at CSC in FIFO basis, but our experience has shown that so far, this is not true. You will often see I-829 cases filed 5 months ago approved, while I-829 cases received 11 months ago are still pending -- for the same EB-5 project with the same facts and job numbers. Also, the same thing with I-526 petitions. This may change in future, as some procedural kinks are worked out.

[Q] I entered the U.S. on visa waiver status, and my I-526 petition was approved shortly thereafter. Can I file I-485 now?

No, when you enter the U.S. on a visa waiver status -- the right conferred upon nationals of the Visa Waiver Program countries -- you cannot file I-485 even if you have I-526 approval. That's one of the benefits you are giving up when you enter the U.S. on "visa-waiver" status.

Except for limited circumstances where there are strong reasons why you and your family members cannot even come out to home countries even for 7 or 10 days or there are certain factors that may delay issuance of Immigrant Visas at the Embassies, we recommend consular processing over I-485.

[Q] Can I submit both I-526 petition and I-485 to CSC if I am maintaining my NIV status in the U.S.?

No, there is no "concurrent filing" allowed for EB-5 cases, meaning you cannot and should not submit both I-526 petition and I-485 together at the same time. You have to wait until I-526 petition is approved, and if you are still maintaining your NIV status (note maintaining your NIV status is different from avoiding "unlawful stay" -- hard to explain it here), you can go ahead and file I-485 adjustment of status application.

Personally, I am not a fan of the concurrent filings because it raises too many issues. I am also not a fan of USCIS using lockbox addresses to receive applications.