An immigrant investor must file an immigrant petition and provide accompanying documentation to be classified as an EB-5 investor. This process is met by completing the I-526 Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Completion of the I-526 application proves a non-resident’s eligibility for the EB-5 visa investor program and establishes their conditional permanent residency upon status adjustment or admission to the U.S.
What is the I-526 Petition?
The I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is a form that is required to be filed by an EB-5 visa investor to provide evidence that the individual has invested or is currently investing the required amount of capital in an EB-5 investment project. An immigration attorney usually assists eligible applicants in filing their I-526 petition after they have ensured that their investments are suitable for an EB-5 project.
An acceptable EB-5 project must be a commercial enterprise investment. Investors may either invest directly or through a government designated EB-5 Regional Center. Applicants must prove that they have put forth between $500,000 or $1 million U.S. dollar investment into a new commercial enterprise. The required investment value is contingent on whether or not the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA). A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. This requires at least a $500,000 investment, while all others are $1million.
One of the primary purposes for an I-526 petition is to ensure that the capital investment put forth by an immigrant is legal capital. As a result, EB-5 visa applicants must establish trackable evidence proving that their investment funding was lawfully obtained. Applicants are also required to present evidence that suggests that their investments hold the capability to produce full time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens, permanent residents or other legal immigrant employees. Evidence that shows the EB-5 investors role as a manager or decision maker for their project must also be exhibited. If an investor has maintained the right to vote in an EB-5 Regional Center that is structured by limited partnership or limited liability, then this proves their managerial or policy making position.
There are numerous forms of evidence that can be submitted to prove that all of the I-526 immigrant petition requirements have been satisfied:
- Requirement: An acceptable EB-5 project has received or will receive the required investment
Evidence: Articles of incorporation, merger/consolidation certificates, joint venture/limited partnership agreements, state business certificates
- Requirement: The requisite investment value has been put forth
Evidence: bank statements, security agreements, promissory notes, loan/mortgage certificates, etc.
- Requirement: The capital investment was legally obtained
Evidence: bank account statements, securities statements, five years of tax returns, etc.
- Requirement: The investment will produce 10 full-time U.S. jobs
Evidence: appropriate business plan
- Requirement: The investor will assume a daily managerial or policy-making role within their EB-5 investment
Evidence: corporate documents, description statement of duties
I-526 Filing Process
I-526 petitions are commonly filled out by experienced immigration attorneys. They will help the investor gather all the necessary documentation and provide the details needed for a successfully filed petition. Once the immigration attorney has sufficient evidence from the client that will satisfy the I-526 requirements, the petition is submitted to the USCIS California Service Center. A filing fee of $1,500 is required. If the USCIS does not receive enough sufficient evidence, they will request more evidence on an as-needed basis. Immigrant investors are notified by the USCIS of their petition approval between a period of 5 to 10 months after their submission. Non-resident EB-5 investors are allowed to apply for permanent U.S. residential status once their I-526 petition is completed. If the individual is a non-immigrant in the U.S. they may apply for permanent residency by filing Form I-485 for an adjustment of status. If the investor is living abroad, they may file the DS-230 application.
EB-5 Visa and I-526 Assistance
Applying for an EB-5 visa requires sufficient documented evidence and detailed knowledge of federal immigration law. If you are an immigrant investor with a successful EB-5 business investment plan in mind, recruiting the assistance of a licensed immigration attorney is indispensable. They will help guide you through the process of filing the I-526 petition, making sure that you have met the requirements and have all the evidence ready for an approval from the USCIS. Contact Johnson & Masumi P.C. today online to schedule an initial consultation with an immigration attorney.