The EB-5 immigrant investor program enables foreign investors to qualify for a Green Card through a $500,000 investment in a Regional Center. The immigration process under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program consists of three stages, but each of those stages includes multiple steps, and so I would like to outline those for you. First of all, those three main stages are the following:
1) I-526 petition, in which the investor proves that the investment funds were obtained legally and the regional center proves that the project meets the legal requirements under the EB-5 program.
2) Adjustment of status or consular processing of an immigrant visa, in which those present in the U.S. with a non-immigrant visa can apply for adjustment of status, and those who are not currently living in the U.S. in non-immigrant visa status must complete the immigrant visa process through the U.S. consulate. In either of these processes, it must be proven that the EB-5 investor and family members did not commit any crimes, do not have any serious infectious diseases, are not a security threat to the U.S., have not violated U.S. immigration law, and do not pose a security threat to the U.S.
3) I-829 petition to remove conditions from the conditional permanent residence. Upon successful completion of the first two stages, the EB-5 investor and dependents obtain conditional permanent residence that is valid for two years, which requires that, during the final 90 days of that two-year period, the I-829 petition must be filed in order to remove the conditions from the conditional permanent residence. As part of that process, we must show that you have maintained your investment, and we have to present proof to USCIS from the regional center that it has brought about the creation of at least 10 jobs per immigrant investor, as presented in the I-526 petition. The number of jobs created as calculated with the help of an economist’s model, would consist of a combination of direct, indirect, and induced jobs.
As previously mentioned, each of the three stages contains multiple steps.
I-526 petition process
That begins with having a detailed discussion with the EB-5 investor by phone or Skype about:
how the investor acquired the funds to make the investment. We will discuss how the investor acquired the funds, where he or she has held them, how he/she will free up the funds to make the investment, and how he/she will transfer them to the regional center’s escrow account. We will then figure out what documentation can be provided in order to document the source and trail of the investment funds.
The investor sends documents and I provide feedback on the documents, and we go back and forth with the investor submitting documents, me reviewing them, and letting the investor know what we still need or if we then have everything that we need to prepare the I-526 petition.
Once we have all the necessary documents, including those from the regional center, we will prepare the forms and send them to the investor for signature.
Once we receive the signed forms and all documents and information from the investor and the regional center, then we can file the I-526 petition.
If a request for evidence is issued regarding the project or your source of funds documentation, then we respond to that.
Eventually, after 12+ months, we receive a decision from USCIS, usually an approval.
Consular Processing of Immigrant Visas or Adjustment of Status
Consular Processing of Immigrant Visas
After the I-526 petition is approved, the file is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).
After we receive notification of the I-526 petition approval, we send you a questionnaire and a checklist for you and for each member of your family. We take the information from the questionnaire and fill out the application forms for the immigrant visa. You also need to obtain and provide us with certain documents that are necessary for the immigrant visa application process. We email you the application forms, and you sign those together with your family members and send them back to us with the original documents that need to be submitted to the NVC.
The NVC emails us fee bills for the application fees for your and your dependents’ cases. We pay those fees and obtain cover sheets for submission of the application forms and supporting documents.
We submit your application forms and supporting documents to the NVC. Once they consider your file to be complete, then they will place you into queue to receive an interview appointment.
Once you receive your interview appointment (the notification typically comes about a month before the interview), you go with your family members for a medical examination, which is focused mainly checking if you have all required vaccinations and on conducting blood tests and a tuberculosis test in order to make sure that you are free of any serious communicable disease.
We send you an email along with supporting documents to prepare you for the questions that you might face at the interview.
You attend the interview, they approve you, and then your and your family members’ passports are held for insertion of the immigrant visa.
You enter the U.S. during the 6-month validity period of the immigrant visa.
Adjustment of Status
After the I-526 petition is approved, we receive notification of the I-526 petition approval, and we send the investor a questionnaire and a checklist for the investor and for each member of the family. We take the information from the questionnaire and fill out the application forms. The investor also needs to obtain and provide us with certain documents that are necessary for the adjustment of status application process. We email you the application forms, and you sign those together with your family members and send them back to us for submission to USCIS.
We receive receipt notices from USCIS within about 1-2 weeks confirming that the applications are in process.
After about 4 weeks, the investor and family members need to go for fingerprinting at the local USCIS office in connection with background checks that are being conducted on the applicants.
If a request for evidence is issued, then we respond to that.
Eventually, after 4-6 months, we receive a decision from USCIS, usually an approval. The conditional permanent residence card is typically issued within 2-4 weeks of the approval.
I-829 petition to remove conditions from the conditional permanent residence
About 5 months prior to the expiration date of the conditional permanent residence, the investor contacts us to prepare the I-829 petition.
We request certain basic information updates from the investor about himself and his family members, and we request the extensive documentation from the regional center about the project being pursued to completion and the jobs creation having been accomplished.
We prepare and file the I-829 petition as soon as we are within the 90-day window for filing the I-829 petition.
The investor and family members go for fingerprinting and background checks.
About 6 to 9 months later the I-829 petition is approved and the investor and hiss family members receive their unconditional green cards.
The immigration process under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program takes multiple years and many steps to complete. However, when the investor and immigration attorney work closely, step by step, the investor and his family members can navigate the process smoothly.