EB5 Green Card Application
Once you have made, or begun the process of making, a qualifying investment and creating 10 jobs (if applicable), you may submit an I-526 petition for an EB5 Green Card Application, assuming you meet all eligibility requirements. Form I-526 constitutes your EB5 application. This form has many complicated components and will require the help of an immigration lawyer to submit correctly.
Similar evidence is required whether you are participating in the regular EB-5 program or the pilot program, via investment in a regional center. If you are petitioning within the regular EB-5 program, your immigration attorney will work with you to prepare and submit the necessary EB5 Green Card application forms. Meanwhile, if you are petitioning for the EB-5 pilot program, your immigration attorney will work with the regional center you have chosen ensure USCIS receives all necessary documentation.
There are three main steps to filling out an EB5 Green Card application and obtaining a Green Card through the regular and pilot EB-5 programs:
- Obtain approval of Form I-526 by filing at a USCIS Service Center; this is the central document in your EB5 application.
- File Form I-485 and associated documents (if already living in the US), or visit an American consulate or embassy and request an immigrant visa (if living outside the US). Once the necessary forms and evidence are processed and approved, the applicant, his or her spouse, and unmarried children under 21 may live in the United States under conditional EB-5 green cards. You will maintain conditional permanent resident status until you have fulfilled the terms of the EB5 program over the course of two years.
- File Form I-829 (Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) 21 to 24 months after receiving your conditional EB5 green card. This is the final component of your EB5 application. This form acts as proof that you maintained your investment requirements, and allows you to remove the conditions from your permanent residence status. Primarily, USCIS requires proof that you met your employment quota to give you an unconditional EB5 green card. Your immigration lawyer can help you supply USCIS with tax forms documenting these new positions.
Work with your immigration attorney to ensure you meet the deadline for your EB5 Green Card application, submitting Form I-829 on time and filing all documents correctly. Once USCIS approves this form, the EB5 Green Card application process is complete. The conditions will be removed from your EB-5 green card. You will be permitted to live and work in the US permanently, and move towards citizenship if you desire.
While preparing your EB5 Green Card application, remember to translate all documents into English, and sign the English versions when submitting EB5 evidence and forms.
Preparing Funds for Investment During EB5 Green Card Application Process
Your immigration lawyer may advise that you place your EB5 investment funds is escrow before submitting Form I-526, in order to gain approval from USCIS. When you place your funds in escrow, you give a third party control of your money, in order to give USCIS confidence in your commitment to the transaction. Placing funds in escrow is a common practice in facilitating smooth financial transactions, such as the large investment necessary to obtain an EB-5 green card.
If you place your funds in escrow until your I-526 petition is approved, you must present USCIS with detailed plans regarding how you will remove funds from escrow and invest them in the regional center or other establishment you have chosen, as soon as your EB5 petition is approved. Your immigration lawyer can help you satisfy USCIS’ requirements.
Additional Documents Required to Participate in EB-5 Green Card Application Process
Providing USCIS with personal information referencing your character and achievements are important in getting your petition for an EB5 green card approved. Therefore, in addition to Form I-526, you EB-5 investor visa application should include:
- Your resume.
- Your diplomas (if applicable).
- Any certificates for achievement you have earned.
- Your business license, along with as much information about your business as possible (if applicable).
- Membership information for any organizations with which you are involved (if applicable).
- Additional information about your career and personal accomplishments.
Additional documents not listed here may be required, as every individual’s EB-5 petition and investment details differ. Your immigration lawyer can help you negotiate the nuances of your case, and prepare and file evidence correctly.
Eb5 Green Card Application for
Change of Status or Consular Processing
Before submitting your I-526 petition to obtain an EB-5 investor visa, you will need to determine whether you need to apply for a change of status, or undergo consular processing. If you are already living in the US, and will still be residing here when you submit Form I-526, you must request a change of status. However, if you are living outside of the US when you apply, you must undergo consular processing.
EB-5 Green Card Application Process for Investors Living in the US
Depending on where you are living when you submit your EB-5 application, you must follow a distinct set of procedures.
If you are already living in the US on a non-immigrant visa when your I-526 petition is approved, you must request a change of status to obtain your conditional EB5 green card, and therefore conditional permanent residence.
In addition to the EB-5 application steps necessary for all potential immigrant investors, those already living in the US will need to file Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form allows you to apply for an EB-5 investor green card, and with it, conditional permanent residence, by requesting a change of status. Your EB-5 application to adjust your immigrant status will ensure that you are eligible to live permanently in the US; for example, that you do not have certain contagious diseases or a criminal record.
You must indicate your plans to request a change of status on Form I-526. Your immigration lawyer will help you request a change of status from a USCIS service center. While your request for a change of status is processing, you and your family will receive documents allowing you to work and travel in the US, even if your non-immigrant visas have expired.
You are, however, excluded from obtaining temporary visas during processing if you came to the US through the Visa Waiver Program. Under these circumstances, you will need to undergo consular processing to obtain conditional permanent residence, unless your immigration lawyer can help you acquire a temporary visa and request a change of status instead.
If you and your derivatives are currently living in the US on non-immigrant visas (which do not lead to permanent residence), you must be certain that your visas will not expire before your EB-5 petition is approved and you receive conditional EB5 green cards. Otherwise, you will need to request consular processing instead. If you predict incorrectly, you will need to wait several months for the change be processed on Form I-526 after it is submitted, delaying your attainment of EB5 conditional green cards.
EB5 Green Card Application Process for Investors Living outside the US
If you are not living in America when you apply for an EB5 investor visa, you must undergo consular processing. This process requires that you apply for an immigrant visa, enabling conditional permanent residence, at a US consulate in the country where you currently reside.
First, you must file I-526. This form will allow you to state whether you will request a change of status or undergo consular processing.
Once your I-526 petition is approved, your request for an immigrant visa will be sent to the National Visa Center. The Center will assemble necessary documents and collect fees from applicants on behalf of the US consulate. Your immigration lawyer can help you prepare and submit the correct forms during this process.
When the National Visa Center has obtained all necessary information, you and your family must participate in a mandatory in-person interview at a US embassy or consulate. This interview ensures that you are eligible to live permanently in the US; for example, that you do not have certain diseases or a criminal record.
If your EB-5 application is approved, you will be issued an immigrant visa set to expire in six months. You must enter the US within six months. You will automatically obtain conditional permanent residence status through an EB-5 conditional green card when your passport is stamped.
Once you have received an immigrant visa from a US Consulate or Embassy in your home country, you may continue to work internationally if necessary. However, you must make a trip to the US within six months to establish residency. While there you must fulfill several requirements to satisfy your EB-5 application:
- Get an American social security number or driver’s license.
- Open an American bank account.
- Purchase or rent property in the US.
- Pay income tax (both state and federal).
An immigration lawyer can help investors living outside the US determine eligibility for the EB-5 program, submit all material required for an EB-5 application correctly, and meet the requirements to establish residency.