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As a student with an F-1 visa, how can I extend my immigrant status in the United States through the EB-5 program?

I am a student in the F-1 OPT program whose STEM extension will expire in July 2019. Can I apply for EB-5 to keep my status? Also, once I have applied for EB-5, can I travel internationally until my EB-5 gets approved?

Answers

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    Answered on

    Currently, there is no way to extend your nonimmigrant status by filing an I-526 Petition. Please be mindful of your lawful U.S. status while waiting for petition approval.

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    Answered on

    Filing an EB-5 petition on Form I-526 does not help you maintain your F-1 Student status. In fact, it could make it more complicated if you seek to renew an F-1 Non-Immigrant Student visa abroad. Remember, it will take at least 14 months or longer before the EB-5 petition on Form I-526 is adjudicated. It is only then that you could apply for Adjustment of Status provided that visa numbers are available. For example, visa numbers are not available for Chinese nationals for a number of years. If you travel internationally, you may not be eligible to re-enter the U.S. unless you have a valid non-immigrant visa and, even then, you could be questioned upon re-entry as to whether or not you are entering the U.S. for a temporary period in light of your filed EB-5 petition on Form I-526.

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    Answered on

    Applying for an EB-5 visa does not extend F-1 status until your I-526 is approved and you are able to file an I-485, but this can only be done if you have legal status at that time. If you apply now, this should happen by July 2019. I would not travel until you get the travel permit after filing I-485.

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    Answered on

    Yes, you can. When traveling internationally on a valid F-1 visa while your I-526 is pending, you will need to be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the consular officer that you intend to consular process upon approval of the I-526 form and show ties to your home country, such as offer of employment, property, another family member, other assets, etc. If you no longer have a valid F-1 visa, then it may be difficult for you to get a nonimmigrant visa issued. That requires proving nonimmigrant intent, such as B or F, while the I-526 is pending.

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    Answered on

    If you are not a Chinese national, you should be able to obtain a green card prior to the expiration of your OPT. The I-526 form does indicate immigrant intent. However, if you are not applying for a new F-1 visa, travel is generally not too much of an issue.

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    Answered on

    Filing an EB-5 I-526 Petition does not automatically extend your F-1 non-immigrant status. While the I-526 is pending, you need to maintain a valid non-immigrant status in the United States. If you file your I-526 right now, you get a response before your OPT expires in July 2019. If you are NOT born in China, you may also have filed your I-485 application by that time, which will allow you to stay in the U.S. during the pendency of your I-485. Once you file the I-526 petition, international travel is not recommended. Due to your immigrant intent, you may not get an F-1 visa from the consulate when you want to get back to the U.S. if have been traveling internationally.

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    Answered on

    Unfortunately, filing the EB-5 Immigrant Petition would not extend your status in the United States or provide you with a legal status to remain there. You would need to apply for a temporary visa to remain in the U.S. (ie., E-2 investor visa if you are eligible). To answer your second question, you can indeed travel abroad until the EB-5 application is approved.

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