“My child has special needs—can she still apply for an EB-5 Green Card?” I have received this question numerous times in the recent past, from parents whose children have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or other condition requiring special assistance. The short answer is yes, it is possible for a child with special needs to receive an EB-5 Green Card. However, there are situations in which the child’s condition could undermine his or her application.
Here are a few important points on this topic to consider:
At the time of this writing, neither the US Department of State nor USCIS has issued a statement explicitly addressing this question. This silence, however, should not be taken to imply any particular policy regarding EB-5 applicants with special needs.
It appears that children with special needs cannot only apply for an EB-5 Green Card, but can be the principal investor. If a family decides to take this route, they should request that their chosen Regional Center write a statement confirming that the child does indeed meet their requirements for investors. This statement should be included in the EB-5 petition.
During a consular interview, any EB-5 applicant—including a child with special needs—must be deemed medically eligible to enter the United States. Among other things, this means that the individual does not pose a threat to themselves or others. In the case of a child with special needs, it must be shown that their condition is not associated with harmful or dangerous behavior.
Another concern of the consular officer will be the possibility that the child will become a “public charge”—that the child doesn’t have the resources to care for him or herself. It will be critical for the family to address this potential concern as well.
The bottom line is that, if you have a child with special needs and are considering the EB-5 program as a path to US residency, I urge you to obtain adequate professional guidance so that 1) you and your child are fully prepared for the consular interview, and 2) your application includes the right supportive documentation for your unique situation. Please feel free to contact us or call 415-221-2345 if you have questions.