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How can I apply for EB-5 while on CPT?

I came to the United States on an F-1 visa to do my master's degree. I have my own business back in India. A U.S. citizen is offering me 50 percent share in his business. He incorporated it in 2010, but there has been no operation for the last three years. I am eligible for CPT and after 10 months, I can apply for OPT. Am I allowed to accept his offer while on CPT or OPT? Can I use the share to apply for the EB-5 visa?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is advisable that you maintain your CPT and then OPT to maintain your F status. Consult an EB-5 immigration attorney first to review your case and advise you as more information is needed. You may apply for EB-5 as this is the offer of future employment. Simply purchasing a 50 percent interest in the business does not qualify for EB-5. This business must be a new commercial enterprise and directly create at least 10 full-time employees (at least 35 hours a week) with your EB-5 funds that come from a lawful source of funds and completely traced to the EB-5 job creating enterprise, or be a troubled business where you may maintain employees if certain rules are met.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This is doable - you just cannot work in the United States without the appropriate work authorization document, but EB-5 is an offer for future employment. Note the program currently expires Dec. 5, so you would need to move very quickly.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    By all means you must maintain your CPT and then obtain OPT. At any time you can file an EB-5 investor petition on Form I-526 as long as you are maintaining your nonimmigrant status in the United States. However, it could make it difficult for you to travel abroad and re-enter the United States since there may be deemed to be an inherent conflict between your OPT status, which is a temporary status, and seeking permanent residence, but that is not likely to be an issue unless you have to apply for a new visa at the American Consulate or apply for readmission at a Port of Entry. Whether or not you have a good EB-5 case depends upon the facts. You have to make a minimum investment of $1 million unless the enterprise is located in a Targeted Economic Area (TEA) and based upon your investment, at least 10 new jobs must be created for U.S. workers over a two-year period or longer. You should consult with experienced immigration counsel.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should consult with an immigration attorney on your question because you do not want to violate your F-1 student status. For EB-5 purposes, you would have to be involved in the management of the business, but you should also check first with your school's foreign student advisor (designation school official) as to whether or not you could use the business for CPT or OPT.

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    Irina Rostova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    More information is needed to address your questions. Generally, you can purchase or acquire business shares regardless of the status that you are in. Whether you can apply for EB-5 by purchasing shares depends on what the company will ultimately do and how many employees it will employ. You need to employ at least 10 full-time workers in order to be eligible for EB-5.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Purchasing a 50 percent share in a business does not necessarily create eligibility for an EB-5 visa. It is not merely the investment - it has to be job creating - and that is hard in a business. Better to start a new business unless you can show this is a troubled business with losses. As for CPT, this must be directly related to your studies and if it is, then it may qualify. It is not yet clear if you can do CPT in your own business.

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