One worry that I sometimes hear from clients is that they won't qualify for an EB-5 Green Card because they have been denied a visa in the past. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, a person's prior immigration history has no impact on whether or not they will be able to apply through the EB-5 program. In other words, being denied a visa in the past usually does not disqualify a person from applying for an EB-5 Green Card. There are exceptions, however—if it a person was denied a visa in the past for certain reasons, it can limit their immigration opportunities. These reasons include things like fraud and a significant criminal history.
What Happens After EB-5 Application is Approved?
Once an investor’s EB-5 application is approved, they are eligible to become a US Permanent Resident. Many EB-5 investors are already living in the United States on another visa when they apply for an EB-5 green card. For these investors, becoming a permanent resident involves a somewhat different process than investors who apply from abroad. Living in the United States allows an applicant to apply for an Adjustment of Status (using what is called an I-485 petition). In contrast, EB-5 applicants who are living abroad must file for a Green Card with the U.S. consulate in their home country.
Obtaining Permanent Resident Green Card
After finally obtaining an unconditional Permanent Resident Green Card, many EB-5 investors are interested in becoming U.S. citizens. To qualify for full-fledged US citizenship, an investor has to wait five years, during which the investor must have been living in the United States for at least 30 months. In many respects, there is no difference between being a Permanent Resident and a citizen. The only significant differences are that U.S. citizens are allowed to vote and hold public office.
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