There has been a growing interest for national expedited projects. Provided that a regional center can meet the strict criteria set by USCIS, they can get their project approved for expedited status. This means that investors who have invested in a project with national expedited status can get their I-526 petition approved faster. While USCIS will process and expedite applications faster, it does not provide the applicant with automatic approval. USCIS will evaluate each case on its own merit and provide the appropriate feedback.
The criteria for regional centers to obtain expedited status is strict and for approval of each expedited petition and one or more of the below criterion:
- Extreme financial loss to a company
- An extremely urgent situation
- A non-profit organization whose request is in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States;
- Department of Defense or national interest situation;
- USCIS error; or
- Compelling interest of USCIS
From an investor point of view, national expedited projects assist in getting their EB-5 petition adjudicated faster and at times before their category’s national quota is reached. Additionally, if the petition is approved they gain faster access to the U.S. and receive a U.S. green card much sooner than the average person. While this route may be the most tempting, investors need to be wary of the type of projects they choose to invest in. At the end of the day this is an investment, albeit the U.S. government mandates it to be a true investment with no guarantees of a return. An investment by nature is done so in the hopes of receiving a return.
A prospective investor may go onto the USCIS website and be intimidated by the allocated processing times. On the website USCIS states that it may take up to 50 months for adjudication of an I-526 petition. This would generally mean that investors that want quick access to the U.S. would be more inclined to seek national expedited projects. Evidently, this could bring their application at the top of the pile, however expedited status does not free up EB-5 visas. This route merely provides for earlier adjudication of the application. For instance Chinese nationals have a 5 year backlog, using a national expedited project will not assist the investor in getting a U.S. green card faster. However, it is a different conversation for Indian nationals. They have no country backlog and with the additional increase of the per country cap an Indian national investor would almost certainly obtain quicker access to the U.S.
Operating out of Dubai our firm encounters many applicants that have been living in the United Arab Emirates and are looking to start their next chapter in the U.S. We understand the need for investing in national expedited projects and when it is best beneficial to invest in projects without national expedited status. While we will provide each client with various project information, the client has to verify them with independent evaluators.
Overall, there must be a balance between choosing a project with expedited status and one without. The reason for the investors relocation to the U.S. is usually what is the driving force behind the project an investor chooses. Therefore it is important that investors evaluate all the options available and decide based on what will be holistically beneficial to the investors future plans.
We are a team of U.S. licensed lawyers who specialize in the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Our offices are based in Downtown Dubai. Contact us today for your free consultation.