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Overview of EB-5 Forms
There are several forms that must be filed by EB-5 visa program participants. These applications prove eligibility for different aspects of the EB-5 program. EB-5 forms are typically completed and filed by immigration attorneys on behalf of EB-5 applicants. Economists, business planners, accountants, and corporate securities attorneys also often help prepare evidence that must be included in EB-5 applications. The cost and processing time varies depending on which application is being adjudicated. The majority of EB-5 applications are submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) although some forms must be submitted to the Department of State. The primary forms that must be submitted by EB-5 program visa applicants include the I-526 petition, I-485 application, DS-230 application, and I-829 petition. Additionally, EB-5 Regional Centers file an I-924 application to receive their Regional Center designation from the USCIS.
The I-526 petition is filed by EB-5 immigrant investors in the first step of the EB-5 visa application process. The I-526 petition proves that the investor has made, or is in the process of making, the required investment amount to a business entity that qualifies for the EB-5 program. Investors must also provide evidence that their investment will meet EB-5 job creation requirements. Forms of evidence that are provided along with the I-526 application can include articles of incorporation, bank statements, business plans, and tax records. There is a $1,500 filing fee for I-526 and the USCIS processing time usually takes from 5 to 10 months.
The I-485 application is filed EB-5 visa applicants during the second step of the EB-5 process. The I-485 is filed by EB-5 participants who already lawfully reside in the United States in a valid non-immigrant status. An approved I-485 application allows non-immigrants in the U.S. to “adjust” their status from a nonimmigrant to a conditional permanent resident based on their approved I-526 petition. The I-485 application includes a security check along with evidence that the immigrant is of good moral character, is eligible to adjust their status, and will not become a public charge when in the U.S. Examples of this evidence include a valid birth certificate, photographs of the applicant, medical examination reports, and vaccination records. The I-485 application costs $985 along with an $85 fee for biometrics services. The I-485 application usually takes from 6 to 12 months to be processed by the USCIS.
The DS-230 application is very similar to the I-485 application but is filed by EB-5 visa applicants who do not have existing status in the US. The DS-230 application is submitted to the Department of State through the National Visa Center. Once approved, the EB-5 visa investor will obtain their two year conditional permanent residency status which enables them to come to the U.S. The DS-230 application collects biographical data proving that the applicant will be able to support themselves once in the U.S. The application also collects evidence proving that the applicant has obtained a proper security check, medical exam, and any needed police clearances. An interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate located within the applicant’s country is also required as part of the DS-230 application. Processing times vary depending on where the applicant is from and some countries may experience lengthy security check delays.
The I-829 petition is filed 21 to 24 months after the investor receives conditional permanent residency in the U.S. through the EB-5 process. The I-829 proves that the applicant has met all EB-5 requirements. For instance, it must be proved that the required jobs were created, that the investment was sustained, and that the business plan was followed. The I-829 is submitted at the end of the two year EB-5 residency period. Once approved, the I-829 removes the existing 2 year conditional residency and makes the EB-5 investor a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The investor files the petition on behalf of himself and his dependents who will receive ten year green cards upon approval. There is a $3,750 filing fee for the I-829 along with an $85 biometric fee. It typically takes the USCIS at least 6 months to process I-829 petitions.
The I-924 application is filed by business entities seeking EB-5 Regional Center designation, existing Regional Centers that wish to amend their designation, and by existing regional centers seeking project pre-approval. The forms of evidence required for an initial the I-924 application include a detailed map of the Regional Center’s geographic area, Regional Center and project business plans, Economic analyses demonstrating project job creation, Documentation to show that a project is “shovel ready” including contracts, third party agreements, building and construction permits, escrow information, Offering documents including private placement memorandum, llp or llc agreement, subscription agreement, investor questionnaire, and the Regional Center marketing plan. There is a $6,230 filing fee for the I-924 application. It usually takes between 4 and 6 months for the USCIS to adjudicate I-924 applications for Regional Center designation.