Reasons for delay in US EB-5 Golden Visa processing

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Published: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 10:32 AM

Last updated: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 11:56 AM

Similar to many other industries, the United States EB-5 golden visa programme also experienced disruptions and delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, with the hiring of additional staff at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the US Golden Visa programme is now picking up momentum and will soon be on track for on time processing of all existing EB-5 applications.

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The EB-5 programme provides access to America for families that invest $800,000 in a government pre-approved real estate project in the US. A single investment of $800,000 provides an entire family, including the main applicant, spouse, and children under the age of 21, with US residency and Green Cards. The investment amount is returned after approximately five years of being invested in the US

The US Golden Visa programme was created by the US Congress in 1990 to encourage the injection of foreign capital into the US economy and foster job creation in exchange for US residency for foreign investors. With a Green Card in hand, families can freely live, work, and travel in the US. Equally as important are the education benefits that a Green Card unlocks for children. A Green Card supplies a plethora of benefits including greater access to US universities and institutions in the form of higher acceptance rates, access to lower tuition rates as well as government grants and scholarships, and a path to a stable career given higher chances of obtaining paid employment and internship positions.

The processing of existing EB-5 applications experienced a slowdown in the past couple of years due to the impact of the pandemic on the number of USCIS staff. In an effort to improve the quality and speed of case processing, USCIS is making strides to communicate more effectively with the public in regards to the program and to add new processing tools to their arsenal.

At a recently held USCIS Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) stakeholder meeting, USCIS revealed the number of staff members reviewing and adjudicating EB-5 applications. As of late October 2022, approximately 100 USCIS employees are assigned to review EB-5 applications. That said, IPO is prioritising the hiring of additional staff. Given that there are a high number of vacancies in the USCIS office, the slowdown in the adjudication of EB-5 applications is understandable. However, as soon as the vacant positions are filled, USCIS will decrease the backlog of pending EB-5 petitions.

"Based on continuous discussions with EB-5 industry experts and insiders, we expect USCIS to speed up the processing of EB-5 applications soon," said Shai Zamanian, legal director at The American Legal Center, the leading firm providing EB-5 services in the GCC region with its headquarters in Dubai. “With the high priority placed on hiring additional staff, we expect all newly filed EB-5 applications to be processed on time without additional wait times."

Newly filed EB-5 applications are not expected to face delays given that the pending backlog is soon expected to be resolved. “Our team of US licensed lawyers and professionals is ready to assist interested families in navigating their way through the EB-5 process,” added Zamanian. “We hold regular complimentary seminars for the community to provide updates about the EB-5 programme, but are also available to meet for one-on-one consultations.”

If you are interested in learning more about the EB-5 US Golden Visa, contact The American Legal Center to set up an appointment with their team.

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