I had recently done a couple of podcasts with two of the Top EB-5 attorneys in the Industry, Matt Galati & Michael Harris. Both of the award winning attorneys have decades of experience in immigration and are particularly well versed in EB-5 law as they have handled thousands of EB-5 Investors filings and have extensive knowledge about the Industry and the workings of the USCIS. Today, we sit down with them to understand the process of actually getting the green card after the EB-5 Investor has filed their I-526E petition.
There are two paths you can take once you get your I-526 approval. Whether you have filed an I-526 or the new I-526E form, the process is the same. You can either do Consular Processing (CP) or you can do an Adjustment of Status (AOS). The Consular Processing is generally the route chosen by Investors who reside outside the US. CP route can also be availed by EB-5 investors resident in the US on a H1B, L1, F1 or any other nonimmigrant visa. But they will have to visit their home country to do an interview at the US Embassy/Consulate. In this Podcast, we will focus on the Consular processing steps and documents required by the National Visa Center (NVC) prior to scheduling an interview at the Consular post abroad. Please listen to the podcast below to listen to the entire segment. I have posted some important snippets from the conversation below if you are short on time.
How long does Consular Processing take?
After your I-526 approval, USCIS forwards your file to the National Visa center (NVC) for the next step in the EB-5 process. NVC is responsible for collecting the immigrant visa fees and required documents from the investors before scheduling an interview at the consular post abroad. This process is currently averaging around 6 months. In busy consulates like Mumbai, Montreal or Cuidad Juarez, this will take longer as EB-5 green card interviews have to compete with family based green cards for the available immigrant visa interview slots.
What are the steps in Consular processing?
As mentioned above, Once you have your I-526/I-526E approval, There are 7 steps in the CP process:
- NVC will send your immigrant visa fee bill to you or your attorney on file with USCIS. Pre-Covid, this process was pretty quick and an EB-5 investor could expect to receive the IV fee bill within 30-60 days. Post Covid, we are seeing delays of around 90-180 days. NVC & USCIS are looking to speed up step.
- Once your IV fees are paid, you can then fill out the DS-260 online on the NVC portal for yourself and each of the family members applying for the green card. The DS-260 is a pretty detailed document, which captures the personal history including previous addresses, travel dates to US and employment history.
- After submission of the DS-260s online, you will have to email NVC the requested documents, this includes copies of birth certificates, marriage certificate, police clearance certificates and passport copies.
- Once NVC reviews and is satisfied with the documents, if your Priority date is current, NVC will contact the US Consulate/embassy in your country to schedule an Interview date. This process is done on a monthly basis. Based on the number of applicants waiting for an interview at the consulate, this can take anywhere from a month to 90 days or longer. An Interview can only be scheduled 30 days in advance of the interview date, so be patient while waiting for the Interview date.
- Once you receive your Interview date from NVC, you now have around 30 days to prepare for the Interview. All interviewees need to take the Medical test at designated medical centers in your country. The results of the test will have to be presented in a sealed envelope to the the Consular Interview officer.
- If you successfully complete the interview, you should receive your passport back from the consulate/embassy with an Immigrant Visa stamped in it allowing you to enter the United States within 6 months of the completion of the medical test that you had taken.
- After receiving your passports, you would then have to login to to the USCIS portal to pay the $220 per person green card fees. Once you enter the US, your green cards will be mailed to the address you specified in the DS-260.