Applying for an EB5 investor visa is an exciting, but also very stressful experience. With dreams of U.S. residency and eventual citizenship on the mind, it can be easy for EB5 visa applicants to get distracted by thoughts concerning the status of their applications.

First of All, Apply Properly

One of the biggest reasons for returned or rejected EB5 applications is human error, typically related to a failure to fully read and understand the application directions before the request for consideration is made.

So they can worry less about the status of their EB5 investor visa application, applicants are urged to work with an experienced EB-5 investor visa attorney who can handle the paperwork and due diligence requirements on behalf of the foreign investor to ensure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.

The Normal Process

The paperwork that is filled out to request an EB5 investor visa is called a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. By the time this paperwork is filled out, the requirements under the EB5 investor program should have already been met by the foreign investor.

This means that the investment capital should have already been invested or a substantial step should have already been taken toward making the investment. Per EB5 requirements, the investor is also required to show that the funds will create at least 10 jobs for qualified American workers if invested into a new business venture, or that they will increase the employee work force or net worth of a business by 40% if invested into an existing business venture.

Generally, if working through an attorney, which is highly recommended, the attorney will send off the I-526 application on the client’s behalf and will in turn receive a “Notice of Action” by mail within a couple of weeks. This notice will contain the client’s case number, which can then be used to check the status of an application via the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) website.

Tricks of the Trade

Even though very useful, the case number is not the only way for foreign investors to know what stage of the application process their application happens to be in. For example, in the period of time between sending off the application and receiving the “Notice of Action”, there is no way for the investor to know exactly where his or her application might be. For this reason, experts recommend sending the application by UPS or FedEx. Either of these services will assign a tracking number to the sealed application which can then be tracked online, allowing investors to know when their application has been received by the government.

Further, the client will most likely be asked by his or her attorney to cut a check payable to the Department of Homeland Security as part of the administrative approval process. When this check is cashed, investors will be able to know that progress has been made on their case.

Up to a Year

On average, it can take up to one year before an EB5 application process is complete. Foreign investors are urged not to preoccupy themselves with worries over what stage an application is in. If problems arise, the investor will be notified of the problem accordingly, either directly or through his or her appointed EB-5 investor visa lawyers.