How Long Does EB-5 Take? A MUST-READ Posting By Suzanne Lazicki of Lucidtext

An introduction for those of you who may not be familiar with the Lucidtext blog: Suzanne Lazicki is an EB-5  business plan writer whose blog, Lucidtext, has, IMHO, rapidly become the single most valuable and incisive publication on the subject of the EB-5 visa.  (I met Suzanne years ago and she launched her blog in 2010, as I was anxiously awaiting USCIS’ approval of AVS Regional Center.)  Today, Lucidtext simply dominates the EB-5 blogosphere with Suzanne’s meticulous analysis and incisive reporting.  Moreover, unlike the rest of us posting online, Suzanne’s blogs are 100% objective and free of the self-promoting gibberish which invariably seeps (or, in many cases, POURS) into what’s communicated…myself included.  Suzanne today is the only true, fully objective and clear-eyed — I supposed “LUCID” is the right word!  — observer, analyzer, and commentator on the inner workings of EB-5 and whether you are an EB-5 investor or another stakeholder in the industry, Lucidtext should be required reading for ALL of us.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I have been quoting Suzanne Lazicki for years.  More recently, it’s gotten to the point where, after reading and digesting her latest EB-5 masterpiece, I simply insert her link and send readers on their merry way. Today is such a moment, but I am extracting some key bullet points from her blog for our AVS Investor family and others who may benefit simply because yesterday’s posting by Suzanne is substantial and complex.   Here are the most important key points our AVS investors with pending I-526s… but I sincerely encourage you to read what she has to see in its totality. 

  • DHS estimates about 6.5 hours actually handling the average I-526 time.  The big delays are from the queue and on time waiting for RFE responses, etc. 

  • There are three queues (waiting lines) associated with the I-526 adjudication process: first, one for direct EB-5 investors (i.e., NOT through a Regional Center;  second, a queue for regional center petitions based on investment in projects that have NOT yet been reviewed and thrid, a queue for regional center petitions based on investment in projects that have Exemplar I-526 approval or previous I-526 approvalsNote to AVS Investors with pending I-526s: since AVS has had a consistent record of I-526 approvals and has never even had an RFE inquiry directed at our RC, projects or methodologies, you are all in the latter queue (…and that would be the “self-promoting gibberish” seeping in right there in case you missed it…(-;)

As Suzanne observes, “with this complex process, it’s unsurprising that IPO appears far from its intention to process cases more-or-less in the order in which they are received.”  Translation, that whole “first-in-first-out”/FIFO notion is not reality, and THAT’S why you keep hearing about people who have been waiting forever while others somehow had their I-526 approved swiftly.  It’s not as simply as it seems.

My favorite new revelation:  IPO says that while Chinese I-526s are processes as they come in (i.e., along with all other nationalities).  Suzanne reports that IPO is questioning whether that should change “considering that fast I-526 approval doesn’t help China-born investors facing a long wait regardless.”   I’ve been saying for years that the only thing that matters in backlog cases is the creation of a Priority Date, and that IPO could easily intake Chinese and, now, Vietnamese I-526s, issue receipts with Priority Dates, and then set those backlogged nationalities aside so their adjudicators can clear the backlogs of the other nationalities, which collectively make up perhaps 10% of the total I-526 adjudication cases pending.

Most intriguing of all, in listing the factors which can help an I-526 move along more quickly, Suzanne says this:

“Having an approved expedite request (this shortens the queue time, not the adjudicator touch time)”

This is extremely interesting given the official USCIS position that expedite requests would no no longer be considered after the fiasco involving expedites requests for Chinese gangsters and spies pushed through by then- acting USCIS officials.  Are expedites back?  What kind of expedites will USCIS approve if that is the case?   

I am hopeful that all of this candor by IPO reflects the government’s recognition that while the giant regional centers with all the lobbying money are fighting to preserve the status quo investment amounts and their ability to circumvent bona fide TEA rules, the rest of us in the industry are more interested in helping families caught in EB-5 processing backlogs.  Let’s keep the momentum, IPO!