I-526 Processing Time Report Update (country-specific)

The USCIS processing times report now offers three “estimated time range” sets for Form I-526: one for China mainland-born investors, one for other-area investors, and one for an unidentified third category. The report does not update the reporting methodology explanation. The outer end of the “estimated time range” for every category continues to be implausible, when compared against petition data. The report contains too many contradictions to accomplish its purpose of protecting USCIS from litigation, and I expect that it will receive another update shortly.

I’ve updated my processing time report log with two new tabs: one tab for logging the revised I-526 time report, and one tab with the most recent available I-526 inventory report (as of October 2018). The inventory tab offers a helpful fact check for the processing time report. For example, could it be true that USCIS is currently processing China I-526 filed 54 to 75 months ago (May 2014 to February 2016)? Look at the inventory tab, and count up (a) how many I-526 from before February 2016 were still pending back in October 2018, and (b) how many I-526 were processed since October 2018, until the visa availability approach started. That calculation gives the approximate number of February 2016 and earlier petitions that could be left to process today. The number is zero. Indeed, the processing numbers since October 2018 indicate that the worldwide backlog up to April 2017 should’ve been cleared by April 1, 2020, assuming that indeed “We generally process cases in the order we receive them.” Thus “we are currently processing China I-526 from February 2016 and earlier” appears to be a round-about way to report “we are currently processing almost zero China I-526.” Similarly “investors who filed I-526 before May 2, 2015 may submit case inquiries” is another way to say “almost zero investors may submit case inquiries.” Very clever, USCIS.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

21 Responses to I-526 Processing Time Report Update (country-specific)

  1. Joe says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for the input – very helpful. Any ideas on the country backlog, specially China? It only advanced 1 week this past bulletin. Are they still waiting on people to submit documents for processing in China? I’m in the states so waiting for the backlog to clear for adjustment of status filing.


    • I’m about to make available an analysis specific to the China. It’s complicated, with all the assumptions at play about visas available as well as visas claimed.
      Considering the number of people made eligible by visa bulletin movement already this year, I wouldn’t expect the China Chart B date to advance much unless consular processing stays closed into the new fiscal year. But I’m trying to set up the analysis so people can work from the available info to make their own predictions.

  2. Cecilia says:

    Ho Suzanne.
    Thought that preparing my petition was as difficult as it would get but I was so wrong. Feeling disappointed and discouraged. And what do you make of the historical visa wait time at 13 months?
    Sorry, had to vent.
    Thanks again for the post.

    • The historical wait time gives an average age of the pending inventory, not age of processed cases. So that number naturally falls as receipts increase. But don’t be overly discouraged and disappointed by the USCIS processing times report. The report shows problems with the reporting method — not necessarily problems with actual processing. It’s nearly impossible that USCIS is truly busy with cases as old as they cite in the report. Your turn should come earlier than the report would suggest.

      • Cecilia says:

        Thank you for the encouragement. I’m actually disappointed with everything that’s going on with USCIS recently, the inconsistencies, lack of transparency, not just this specific report.

      • Sam Lattof says:

        but {Historical National Average “Processing Time”} doesn’t mention that these figures are for pending inventory. It’s clearly stating these for Processing Time

  3. Admin says:

    Hi Susan, my best guess is that the unidentified third range us a weighted average of the China and Otger area investors. So an overall average, if you will.

    • I’m afraid to think that it could be an accurate report with weighted average of the actual recent adjudications. Because for that to be possible and ancient outliers to have such weight, the total number of recent adjudications must have been very small.

  4. Hitoshi Hayakawa says:

    Thank you for your great work, I really appreciate your valuable inputs. Why do you think “Date report accessed – Case Inquiry Date” suddenly jumped from 44 months to 61 months in June 2020 and more recently to 74 months? Is this because of outstanding China mainland born are taking longer time than other nations thus driving the range widening?

    • A couple possibilities: (1) USCIS is actually going back in time, and finding significant numbers of cases to adjudicate in dates that were covered long ago per processing data and past processing times reports, or (2) USCIS is artificially pushing the case inquiry date back to reduce/eliminate the population qualified to make a case inquiry.

      • Hitoshi says:

        I would assume you are thinking (2) is more likely and “real” processing time is more or less 30 months, except for China-mainland born?

  5. Martin says:

    Hello Suzanne

    Thank you for your updates.

    Is that being said Hong Kong nationals will be backlogged with China-born petitioners?
    It is still vague about the destiny of Hong Kong-born applicants after a month when the executive order was released.

    Usually, they use the terms China Mainland-born to distinguish from Hong Kong-born.
    After the executive order, they still use the term “China Mainland-born”.
    So, what is the denouement of Hong Kong-born applicants?

    Thank you.

    • Tony NG says:

      I am BNO holder and tt my $500k to regional center in December 2015, and got my immigration visa end 2017. We moved to New York in 2018. That time two seperate queue between Hongkonger and Mainlander China. I read a lot of articles regarding EB5 recently, it seems USCIS still don’t have clear indication for Hongkonger applicants after the executive order!
      If you don’t have any contact in the US, you can contact me at tonyng@post.com and see if there’s anything i can help

  6. Charlie says:

    What do you think of the continued advancement of PD for mainland China despite consulates still being closed, leaving thousands of investors unprocessed, and the relative tense relation between DC and Beijing at the moment? Could there be policies cooking up for EB5 relief behind the scene that we do not know yet?

  7. hariomshelly says:

    Hi susa …..really appreciate ur efforts…..but its quite disappointing and frustrating…..feeling really helpless…..can u just give an idea…how much time my petition will take as applied in December 2018 via regional centre from india….thnq

  8. AW says:

    Regarding to the Hong Kong born EB-5 investors, does the President Trump’s Executive Order affect those who have filed the I-526 petition in September 2018? Or only those who are file after the Order?

  9. Tony Nguyen says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    I am Vietnamese, I filled my Pettion in 2018, Sep. Kindly please advise me when I can get feedback from USCIS for I-526?
    Many thanks

  10. harpreet says:

    hi suzzanne
    nice work there
    i filed my case in october 2018 from india
    when should i expect my i 526 to be adjucated

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