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Does an investor need an immigration attorney to submit an I-526 petition?
It is strongly recommended that an investor obtain legal services for their immigration petition submission. The narrative and documentation needed for the petition is extensive and an attorney can assist with the petition, consulate interview and visa processing.
What information and documentation is required to submit a petition?
An investor must apply to the USCIS for EB-5 Visa qualification through the submission of a number of required elements including: USCIS forms, business plans and/or geographical statistics, financial information and other supporting evidence.
What is meant by the requirement that the investor's assets be 'lawfully gained'?
Under USCIS regulations, investors must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner such as income from a bonafide business, salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan or other lawful means.
How long is the average processing time for the I-526 petition and the conditional green card?
Once the I-526 petition is filed, the approximate length of time for an investor to pass the U.S. Consulate interview and receive a conditional green card is approximately 6-12 months. It is important to note that each investor’s particular situation is different; adjudication processing times are often unpredictable, subject to USCIS adjudication delays, and may take a longer period of time. Investors who are already present in the United States for work or study can apply to “adjust” their status to permanent residency. Processing time for adjustment of status can be meaningfully shorter than via consular processing.
What is the purpose of the Consulate application and interview?
The purpose of the Consulate application is to ensure that the investor and family members undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the Consulate Officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 petition, including the nature of the immigrant investment. If the investor and their family are in the United States, they may apply to adjust their status at the appropriate office of the USCIS.
After the I-526 petition approval, may members of the family have their Consulate interview in different countries?
Family members may interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. However, a student attending school in the U.S. would not have to return to the country of origin; status can be adjusted in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.
Once an investor receives a conditional green card, when does the application for the permanent green card need to be submitted?
The conditional green card has an expiration date of two years from the date issued. Investors can submit their I-829 petitions as early as three months prior to the expiration date. GCRC will supply all supporting evidence regarding the Limited Partnership, capital investment and newly created jobs to submit with the I-829 petition. Once the I-829 petition is filed with the USCIS, conditional permanent residency is extended for one year. An investor should carry the USCIS I-829 receipt notice, along with the conditional green card, at all times.
If the I-526 petition is denied, does an investor receive a refund?
Yes. Should an investor’s I-526 petition be denied, the full investment amount will be returned to the account from which the funds originated. However, once an investor has passed the I-526 approval, the issuance fees are not refundable; the investor must remain in the Partnership for the remainder of the term to receive repayment of principal.
What is the difference between 'conditional' and 'unconditional' green cards?
Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 Immigrant Visa receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for a two-year period. An “unconditional” or permanent green card is valid for ten years; otherwise the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.
Who receives the permanent residency?
The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 petition filing, receive a green card.
How long must an investor remain in the United States each year?
The first requirement of any investor after receiving the visa at the United States overseas Consulate office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance from the Consulate. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home.
May an investor live overseas during the waiting period?
The investor may work overseas, if required, based upon the nature of his/her business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the United States as a permanent resident, thereby jeopardizing green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “re-entry permit”; this allows the investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status. Children may remain in school even if the investor leaves the U.S.
What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?
There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen: the first way is being born in the U.S. or being born to a U.S. citizen; the second is by naturalization. The first step to becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for five years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is for the candidate to be physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the five years prior to the naturalization application. Once naturalized as a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits, including the right to vote and to hold public office.