An overview of the EB-5 application timelines for applicants living in South Africa
One of the questions we’re frequently asked is “If I apply with LCR today, when will I get my green card?”
While there is variation with each application, the dates below serve as a guideline, based on current USCIS processing times.
If you applied today, you would be eligible for a conditional green card around May 2019 and a permanent green card around May 2021.
Overview of the process and timelines
Step 1: Application phase
The initial application preparation takes around 30 days, although it may take up to two months for complex cases/situations depending on how well organised your financial records are and therefore how clear the source of funds analysis is.
The first step is to sign LCR’s application letter. This reserves a slot for you in our Surf Club Four Seasons Hotel & Residences project, and begins the mutual evaluation process whereby you confirm that it’s the right investment for you, and LCR confirms you meet all the requirements for obtaining a U.S. green card.
LCR’s broker-dealer, Primary Capital, will then send our confidential offering documents related to the investment. If you want to go ahead with the investment, you will sign a subscription agreement, and deposit $550,000 (which includes LCR’s administration fee of $50,000) into a U.S. escrow account at Signature Bank.
With the help of an immigration attorney, you’ll also complete and submit your I-526 petition during this initial stage.
Step 2: I-526 approval
This currently takes approximately 15-16 months. It does not require further action from you. During this time, the USCIS will be processing your I-526 and adjudicating on your case.
Step 3: Immigrant visa
Upon I-526 approval, your immigration attorney will evaluate and prepare a submission for you and your family to receive immigrant visas (conditional green cards) to travel to the United States. This usually takes 4-6 months to be approved, after which you can live and work in the U.S.
Step 4: Conditional permanent residency period
Your conditional green card is valid for 2 years. If you are not planning to move to the U.S. immediately, you’ll need to visit within the first 180 days of receiving your green card, and at least once every 6 months thereafter. Your immigration counsel can be very helpful at this stage in ensuring you fulfil the requirements of demonstrating your ‘intent to reside’ in the USA.
Step 5: I-829 application
Towards the end of your conditional residency period, your immigration attorney will submit an I-829 application for the removal of conditions on your green card. This usually takes around 18-24 months, and once approved, you will receive a permanent green card (i.e. permanent residency in the U.S. without conditions).
Applying for citizenship
Permanent residents can apply for U.S. citizenship after being green card holders for at least five years and meeting certain physical residency requirements – please discuss your intentions with your immigration counsel in order to get the correct legal strategy.
Theoretically, EB-5 investors who move to the United States as soon as their immigrant visas are approved, may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship 5 years after receiving their first (conditional) green card and potentially receive a U.S. passport within 7 years of applying for their EB-5 visa.