Current Processing Times for EB-5 Visas
The EB-5 visa is reserved for foreign investors who wish to come to the United States as part of their business investment.
This visa is one of 5 main employment-based visas available to foreign nationals. There is currently a high demand for EB-5 visas among investors abroad.
Why Is There A Wait?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) set annual limits on the amount of immigrants allowed to enter the United States.
The amount of foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States as investors exceeds the 10,000 EB-5 visas issued annually. This creates a “backlog” for the EB-5 visa, as there are many more qualified applicants than there is space.
How Long Will I Wait?
Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer to this question. An applicant can estimate how long their wait time will be based on previous processing times, but ultimately your wait time depends on how many other people applied for EB-5 visa from your country in the same year as you.
Some countries have longer waits than others. As of January 2016, China’s backlog for EB-5 visa was the longest. By today, January 2016, USCIS has only recently approved applications received in May 2015. So current processing times appear to be about 7 months. To see dates for other countries and visas, check out the visa bulletin.
Not all countries have wait times for the EB-5 visa. The most recent visa bulletin lists India, Philippines and Mexico as being “current”, meaning there is no backlog for EB-5 applicants. The ebb and flow of investor immigration is not easy to predict — so just because there is not a backlog for India or other countries today does not mean there won’t be a wait next month.