For investors and their direct families, the EB-5 investment program has proven a dependable option for permanent residency in the United States. Although the procedure could be lengthy, there is a quicker alternative. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may expedite the approval of EB-5 investments if they meet some requirements, including being in the interest of the country. The quickest EB-5 processing an investor can receive is expedited approval.
"An expedite has the potential to save investors years off the adjudication time of their I-526 petitions. When an investor receives an expedite, they literally are supposed to go to the front of the line' I-526 requests." According to Matt Gordon.
When projects are in the interest of the country, processing timelines are quick with this procedure.
The effect is significant. According to Stephen Smith, president of EB5CoastToCoast.com, "The impact is huge. The granting of expedited processing means that the investor’s I-526 petition is placed at the front of the queue, to be adjudicated and approved before any non-expedited petitions,"
Advantages of Expedited Approval for EB-5 Investors
For new investors, a backlog and long processing times might be frustrating. However, expedite approvals frequently occur quickly and without the typical delays.
According to Smith, this implies that applicants will only have to wait a few months, unlike the many years that USCIS typically needs to decide on non-expedited petitions. "This is a tremendously attractive feature to most EB-5 investors."
However, it might be challenging to find EB-5 investment projects. A project must comply with specific requirements, such as being of direct relevance to the US government. These sorts of initiatives range from new housing developments to give homes for displaced veterans to addiction treatment facilities to address the growing opioid problem.
As long as the petitioner's visa is from a current class, USCIS typically decides petitions in the order they are received, according to Gordon. “An expedite will not cure a flaw in a petition and will not accelerate the time it takes to evaluate, once USCIS is working on it. Complex petitions can still take time, but all things being equal the expedite will save a very significant amount of time.”
How Can a Project Become Eligible for EB-5 Expedited Processing?
The USCIS claims they evaluate requests for expedited processing on a case-by-case basis, have the sole authority to accept or reject requests, and may require extra supporting paperwork.
According to the USCIS, the agency will consider an expedited request if it satisfies any of the following conditions: a company or individual will suffer a significant financial loss; there will be an urgent humanitarian need; a nonprofit organization's request will advance American cultural or social interests, or the request will serve the interests of the United States government.
According to the USCIS, a medical office would experience substantial financial loss if it had to fire all of its medical assistants because there was a lapse in the doctor's work authorization. Another example that fits the definition of an emergency cause is the urgent need to accelerate healthcare personnel' employment authorization during a national disaster like the COVID-19 epidemic. However, since situations vary, not all conditions in any of the categories will result in accelerated processing.
Smith leads a regional center focussing on a project that asked for a quick approval. An opioid addiction treatment program is being added to a hospital as part of the initiative. Even though the project has not yet received approval, some of the project's investors have received expedited approval. According to Smith, project approval was not an option until the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) passed in March 2022. Smith said they will be filing for project approval and requesting accelerated processing.
According to Smith, "The pre-RIA investors each individually applied for, and were granted, expedited processing, as individual investors,"
In general, he claims, barely a few weeks after the requests for expedited processing were made, they were all approved. He said the investors were given accelerated processing because the country's addiction pandemic is a humanitarian catastrophe of national importance.
According to Smith, more than 273 individuals die from drug overdoses in the United States every day, or over 100,000 people a year.
He claims he is not aware of any other EB-5 projects, other than those that address the national addiction epidemic, that have benefited from faster processing for their investors. Despite this, investors might wish to research this as a potential option down the road.
Smith claims that the way to get it is to send a request for expedited processing as soon as the investor's petition has been sent to USCIS.
Note: This website's content is meant to be general; it does not constitute legal or financial advice. Only a licensed expert with a total understanding of all the information and circumstances of your specific situation can provide legal or financial advice. Before enrolling in the EB-5 program, you should contact a visa attorney with legal, immigration, and financial knowledge.