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How can a potential EB-5 investor also attend a U.S. university?

I would like to both make an investment in the United States and study at a U.S. university at the same time. If I apply for the EB-5 visa, opting to invest in a regional center, when is the soonest I legally begin studying at a U.S. public university? Do I have to wait until after I get a conditional green card to enroll?

Answers

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should consider all of your options, both as an academic student (F-1 visa) and EB-5 applicant for a host of reasons. First, an EB-5 application takes a longer processing time unlike an academic student F-1 visa application. Second, while both applications can be simultaneously filed, you should proceed as an F-1 student first. Otherwise, if you prefer to attend school only as a permanent resident, you have to wait until your EB-5 is approved. Until then, you will not be able to attend school just because you file an EB-5 application through a regional center.

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    Sara Wang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, unless you can obtain a student visa and have legal status to enter and remain in the United States long term, you will have to wait until you receive your conditional green card status to enter the United States and study.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A pending I-526 petition will not provide any lawful immigration status to you. You must maintain an underlying nonimmigrant status if you wish to apply for the EB-5 visa while in the United States and then adjust status to that of a permanent resident upon approval of the I-526 petition. One option is for you to apply for an F-1 visa first if you in fact intend to study at your desired university as an international student. This will not qualify you for in-state reduced tuition until you become a conditional permanent resident though. You may subsequently file the I-526. A pending immigrant petition such as the I-526 may negatively affect your underlying F-1 status though because it requires a nonimmigrant intent.

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    Jimena G Cabrera

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is a dual intent issue. Since you want to immigrate to the United States permanently through the investor visa program, that will disqualify you from a student visa (F-1). Once you have filed your investor visa petition, the soonest you can start your studies in the United States is when you become a conditional permanent resident.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This comes down to a question of immigrant intent. The further you go through the EB-5 process (an immigrant/green card process), the harder it will be to show you have the required nonimmigrant (temporary) intent required for the F-1 visa (being that you intend to leave the United States at the end of your studies. Based on you already asking this question, it would probably be preferable to wait until you are a conditional permanent resident before enrolling in school.

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    Echo Meisheng King

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Depending on which country you are from, the waiting period to get the green card is different. With the current visa retrogression in China, if you are from China, it may take three to four years before you can change status. However, if you are from another country, it will only take a little over a year to change status. You can definitely start with an F-1 visa and enroll into a college or university of your choice, then start the EB-5 application thereafter.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you would have to have permanent resident status to qualify for a tuition reduction or free tuition.

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    Jeff Khurgel

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The mere filing of the I-526 does not allow you to attend school. If you are granted a status in the United States, whether by way of a visa or a "change of status" while in the country that allows study, then you can attend classes. Typically this is through an F-1 or M-1 status. Later, once you are granted conditional resident status (or sometimes a work permit), you can generally attend class as well.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You might be able to obtain a student visa first if you are a genuine student; otherwise wait until the green card issued, which in most, non-Chinese cases will take about two years.

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    Ying Lu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Since you will not be able to get your F-1 student visa if you show your immigrant intent by filing the I-526 petition, you should try to enroll in the university first and get your F-1 visa. Immediately after the obtainment of the F-1 visa, you file your I-526 petition. However, you should not make any international trips during the pendency of your I-526 petition.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I would suggest applying for a student visa first, then applying for EB-5 afterwards.

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