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How can I apply for EB-5 within the U.S. as a B1/B2 visa holder?

I plan to apply for the EB-5 regional center program but I do not want to go through a “middle man” from my home country. I prefer to talk directly with representatives from regional centers and an immigration attorney face-to-face. I happen to hold a B1/B2 visa currently and I wonder if I can use this visa to enter the U.S., do my due diligence and file the I-526 within the U.S.? Someone told me that I have to wait for at least 2 months after entering the country as a visitor before I can file I-526. Is it true?

Answers

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You do not need to wait for 2 months, upon entry to the US, before you file I-526. However, it is advisable you should make necessary arrangement before you arrive in the US to speed up the process upon arrival.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may file the I-526 immediately upon deciding which Regional Center you want to work with but you will need to return to your home country to await the results as these are taking in excess of a year unless you change to another nonimmigrant classification for which you qualify.

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    Daniel A Zeft

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You could file an I-526 petition while you are in the U.S. in B status as long as your current stay in the U.S. is for a limited period of time.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no requirement for you to use or go through an agent from your country in order to file an EB-5 case. Most of the well-respected regional centers will give you all the information necessary to do your due diligence. In order for you to work directly with those regional centers, you must be outside of the U.S. to actually receive and sign the subscription and other agreements. You also could contact all the lawyers you need to “Top 25 immigration attorneys” are listed on the EB5 investors magazine website to find the one with whom you feel most comfortable. The choice of your investment vehicle and your lawyer is your choice, not anyone else. Given the fact that Congress has not extended the regional center program for an extended time, you must act quickly before September 30, 2018 to file the petition. Also, please note that USCIS is getting ready to issue a Final rule to dramatically increase the investment amount even before September 30th. Thus, sooner you act to choose the project and lawyer, the better.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, and it is recommended that you do your due diligence directly and a middleman is not required. Entering on B-1/B-2 for such purpose is fine (ie., to conduct business meetings, etc). What you may be referring to is the "fraudulent intent" assumption by the USCIS if you enter on a nonimmigrant status and immediately file for permanent residence. Since the Petition (I-526) will take over a year to process, and would not be filing for adjustment of status immediately upon entering, you should be fine.

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    Mark AM Catam, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can conduct investment related due diligence while in the U.S. on your B-1 visa. It should not run afoul your B-1 since conducting due diligence for potential investment is a permissible purpose on the B-1 visa. As far as waiting for 2 months, if you are doing the I-526 consular processing, you need not wait for 2 months. The idea is you will return to your home country regardless and wait for the approval there.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You certainly can talk to regional centers and immigration attorneys directly without going through an agent or middleman. You need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you about when and how to file your I-526 petition. Since the maximum period of authorized stay for B-1 or B-2 status is six months and the processing of an I-526 petition by USCIS can take two years, it is unlikely that you will be eligible to adjust your status in the United States.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You do not have to go through a "middle man" or agent in your home country. There is no reason why you cannot talk directly with a representative of a Reginal Center or through an immigration attorney directly in the U.S. You certainly could enter the United States as a prospective investor on your B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visa petition as long as the Immigration Inspector at the airport believes that you are coming for a short-term visit and not planning to stay. Actually, you could file your EB-5 petition virtually at any time given the fact that the EB-5 petition on Form I-526 is simply a petition to establish that you have made an investment that meets the qualification of the EB-5 program. You are not eligible to file for status within the U.S. until the petition is approved and a visa number is available, which will take more than a year or much longer. It is true that if you try to file a change of status within 90 days, you could be deemed to have committed fraud. But by filing a petition by itself that would not be the case. However, I should emphasize that it would be difficult for you to remain in the U.S. in B-1/B-2 Visitor status since you would have to file multiple applications for extension and it is unlikely that same would be granted for such a long period of time. Alternatively, given your concerns, you could make an investment decision while in the U.S. and have your attorney file the I-526 petition while you are out of the U.S.

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