Each immigrant investor must file a Form I-526 petition to establish his or her eligibility for classification as an EB-5 immigrant investor. But many EB-5 investors may have questions regarding what to do after their I-526 petition is approved.
Once your I-526 petition is approved, you and your family members may take either "consular processing" at the United States Embassy located in your country of residence, or, if you are already legally residing in the United States, you may file I-485 adjustment application for conditional green cards.
I-485 Adjustment of Status
If you are already in the United States when your I-526 petition is approved, you may file Form I-485 to apply to "adjust your status" from non-immigrant status to that of a permanent resident. Unlike other immigrant categories, EB-5 investors may not concurrently file their I-485 with their I-526.
Form I-485 is a six-page application that requires payment of a fee of $1,140 (plus an $85 fingerprinting fee). On the form, you will need to disclose certain biographical information so that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can determine if your are eligible for permanent residency.
You will need to submit several documents with your Form I-485:
- a birth certificate,
- marriage certificate and/or divorce decree (if applicable),
- two conforming photographs of yourself,
- and a copy of your passport.
You will also be required to pass a medical examination conducted by a USCIS approved civil surgeon, as well as a biometrics screening.
Once your adjustment of status is filed, you can apply for an advance parole travel document and a work authorization. These documents enable you to remain in the United States, travel, and work while your adjustment of status application is pending.
USCIS processes most I-485 applications in 6 to 12 months. Applications generally result in approval, unless there is a serious reason for denial. Major reasons for denial include criminal convictions, possession of certain communicable diseases, or serious immigration law violations.
If your adjustment of status application is approved, you immediately become a conditional permanent resident in the United States. This is your two-year conditional green card granting you legal residence in the United States. Nothing more needs to be done until twenty-one to twenty-four months after the approval. At that time, form I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status) must be filed in order to receive the full ten-year unconditional permanent residence.
On the other hand, if you are outside the United States when your I-526 petition is approved, you will need to apply to obtain your immigrant visa through a US consulate in your home country. This is referred to as “consular processing.”
In this case, once your I-526 petition is approved, USCIS will forward your case file to the National Visa Center and you will be contacted. Then, you must pay the application fees and submit the online application form, DS-260, and supporting evidence. Application form DS-260 has two parts.
Like the adjustment of status application, the DS-260 application collects standard biographical information. You will complete and submit the first part of the application yourself. The second part of the application is completed in the presence of a consular officer at the U.S. consulate or embassy.
You will likely be required to bring documentation, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates and passports to your DS-260 interview. The application is completed and signed after the interview has been conducted. Separate DS-260 applications will need to be filed for each family member who will accompany you to the United States to become permanent residents.
Upon approval at your consular processing appointment, you will receive an immigrant visa that is valid for six months. You must enter the United States before that six-month visa expires. When you enter the United States with the immigrant visa, at the port of entry, the immigration officer will stamp your passport, which will immediately grant you conditional permanent residence (the same status you would have achieved if you were to undergo adjustment of status processing). You will immediately become a conditional permanent resident at that time.
As with adjustment of status, you will need to file a form I-829 petition within the 90-day period immediately preceding the two-year anniversary of your admission to the United States.
At the Law Offices of Vaughan de Kirby, we know how important it is for you and your family to get all the information necessary to qualify for an EB-5 visa. Our attorneys have years of experience, have handled hundreds of cases, and would be more than happy to advise on the EB-5 process and requirements. Get in touch today: call us at 415-221-2345 for more information.