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How does H-1B visa intent affect participation in a direct EB-5 project?

I am on a H-1B visa and I want to participate in the EB-5 program. I believe that in order to maintain my status I need to have a passive investment and cannot run the business on my own. I think I need to partner with somebody, investing $500,000 into the partnership which will then purchase two fast food franchises, for example. Can this be structured as a direct EB-5 project considering my present H-1B status? And, is it possible to put the funds into the franchises in installments?

Answers

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    Lei Jiang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can apply for a green card through the EB-5 program, but before your I-526 is approved, you cannot work on the project and get paid. To structure this as a direct EB-5 project, you should consult with an EB-5 attorney.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    First, you can begin an EB-5 process (including franchises!) while under H-1B status. However, you really should consult with an EB-5 attorney to clarify the process for you and how a franchise investment can work in the EB-5 context. We would not want you to continue down a path that could lead to delays from requests for evidence or denials.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    H-1B allows dual intent so there is no problem pursuing a green card through the EB-5 program at the same time. You are not, however, allowed to work in the EB-5 project until your I-526 has been approved and either your adjustment is approved or work card has been obtained. You can set up the project. You can only do the $500,000 vs. $1 million if the project is located in a TEA (Targeted Employment Area). It will need to be fully paid into the project at the time of filing the I-526, but can be held in escrow until the I-526 is approved.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    H-1B N\nonimmigrant status allows for dual intent (ie., while maintaining nonimmigrant status, you may process for immigrant visa processing), so there is no effect as far as intent is concerned.

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    Denyse Sabagh

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It does not. H-1B has dual intent.

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    Kyle Barella

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may change from an H-1B status to EB-5. However, you do not need to partner up with someone to make the investment. In fact, each investor must make his or her own qualified investment.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You cannot have a completely passive investment and qualify for an EB-5 case. However, the requirement for being actively involved in a business could be achieved through a policy setting role, such as a Board of Director position of the business, instead of having to run the business day-to-day. Also, you could invest in a good regional center and just be a limited partner of a partnership project, which would require you to be almost completely passive with receiving quarterly or annual reports only.

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