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Applying for the EB-5: Helpful Tips for Indian Nationals

E-2 Visas: Alternative to EB-5 Visas

It’s no secret that the visa backlog for Chinese immigrant investors is currently a lengthy one. With a 10-year waiting list for aspiring EB-5 visa recipients from China, Regional Centers and Developers are increasingly looking to India as the next big source of investment funds. Indian nationals may be particularly intrigued by this option, as wait times are up for EB-2 and EB-3 visas. Read on for details on the three main filing types for the EB-5 visa process, along with tips for Indian nationals looking to apply:

Understanding the I-526 Petition

A form intended for entrepreneurs who want to immigrate to the United States, the I-526 petition includes the form itself along with two sets of documents. It’s worth noting that securing approval of your I-526 petition does not result in citzenship rights for you or your family. All an approved form does is allow inmigrant investors to apply for their green cards.

The first step in obtaining I-526 petition approval is to gather the necessary documents. To complete your I-526, you will need both project documents and investor documents. The former includes economic reports, business plans, securities documents, and any other materials required to demonstrate how your project will spend its funding and create the requisite number of jobs. As for investor documents, be prepared to supply biographic details on yourself and your family. You’ll also need information demonstrating how you legally obtained the capital you’ll be using to fund your EB-5 project.

Upon completing the form and accumulating the necessary documents, immigrant investors should file form I-526 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Currently, an investor can expect to wait around 18 months while the I-526 form is being processed.

Understanding Consular Processing

Consular processing, or adjustment of status, is the next step on the journey to securing an EB-5 visa.
If visas are available, investors can apply for green cards immediately upon receiving I-526 approval. Spouses and children under the age of 21 are also eligible for green cards. Unfortunately, many countries currently face backlogs that can delay them in obtaining conditional residency status.

Investors currently residing in countries outside the United States can file a DS-260 form for consular processing. The National Visa Center reviews the forms and then schedules interviews with investors at the U.S. consulate closest to their location. Upon completing a satisfactory interview, investors will receive immigrant visa stamps in their passports for themselves and their family members. Conditional resident status last for two years and begins on the day an investor enters the United States.

Individuals who have valid status in the United States can file Form I-485, also known as adjustment of status. At this time, immigrant investors can also file for work authorization (I-765) and advance parole (I-131). It’s important to note that investors may experience limited travel capacity until both work authorization and advance parole have been approved and investors have receivved their EAD/AP cards.

While processing times vary, immigrant entrepreneurs can expect to wait six months for I-485 and DS-260 processing. For advance parole and work authorization, 45 to 60 days is the norm. The wait time for the adjustment application is around six months.

Understanding the I-829 Petition

The last step in the EB-5 visa application process, the I-829 petition, must be completed within the 90 days before conditional resident status is due to expire. Filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, this petition takes about two years to process at present. However, the act of filing this form on time extends the conditional period for 18 months. If your extension is coming to an end and your I-829 has yet to be approved, you can make an InfoPass appointment at your local USCIS office to obtain proof of continued conditional resident status.

To file the I-829 petition, immigrant investors need to provide information about themselves and their families. Typically, green cards are sufficient for demonstrating immigration status. However, you may also need to provide proof that no one has violated criminal or immigration law in a way that would prevent them from being a lawful permanent resident. Additionally, individuals may have to provide documentation that their projects created the requisite number of job openings.

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