The EB-5 visa, also known as the immigrant investor visa, allows immigrant entrepreneurs and investors to come to the U.S. if they meet certain criteria related to the amount of their investments and the number of jobs they can create for American workers. While the processing time for EB-5 visa petitions is less than many other types of visas, it can still take months that the prospective immigrant, not to mention the immigrant's business venture and the American workers who need jobs, would prefer to spend getting the business started. Federal law gives preference to EB-5 visa petitions affiliated with an approved Immigrant Investor Regional Center, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has developed criteria for expediting certain Regional Center-affiliated petitions.
Wait Time for EB-5 Petitions
The U.S. State Department's Visa Bulletin for May 2013 states that the government is current on processing EB-5 petitions, but the process can still take months, if not longer. An immigrant seeking admission the the U.S. with an EB-5 visa must embark on numerous time-sensitive undertakings, including the formation of or investment in a commercial enterprise with a stake of up to $1 million, and the creation of at least ten full-time jobs for authorized U.S. workers.
Regional Center Priority
Regional Centers are third-party businesses, which may be public or private, approved by USCIS to assist EB-5 visa petitioners. A Regional Center may, in exchange for an administrative fee, handle aspects of the investment for the visa petitioner, particularly job creation. Congress created a pilot program in 1992 that established a priority for EB-5 petitions affiliated with a Regional Center by guaranteeing a fixed number of visas set aside each year. Pub. L. 102-395 § 610.