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How can someone apply for an EB-5 visa while on a visitor visa?

I am in the U.S. on a visitor visa and now want to start the process to live here permanently. Can I file an I-526 petition for EB-5 while I am still here? Am I allowed to be talking with regional centers while I am on a visitor visa? Also, is there any way that I can leave the United States and come back again after the EB-5 petition is filed, but before it is approved?

Answers

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you may certainly file a Form I-526 while you are in or outside of the United States. Yes, you may speak with regional centers while visiting the United States. Yes, if you have a valid visa which allows you to return to the United States, you may leave and return while your EB-5 petition is being processed by the USCIS. If you are here in legal status when the I-526 is approved, you may even apply to adjust status here in the United States.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can choose an EB-5 regional center project whether you are in the United States, or outside the United States, as long as you are complying with the Immigration and SEC regulations and policies. While the I-526 petition is pending you can travel back to the United States as a visitor.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Many potential investors begin the EB-5 process while on B visas, discussing investments with regional centers and retaining immigration counsel. While the I-526 petition is pending, additional entry to the United States can be possible, but once you actually apply for the permanent residency, you are limited.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may inquire about EB-5 as a visitor. You may apply while you are in the United States; however it may be better to apply from your home country due to SEC regulations. As a visitor you will need to depart the U.S. as an EB-5 application usually takes from 12 to 14 months for approval. You could return in the interim as a visitor, or student.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is fine to talk to regional centers on the visitor visa and then return home when the visitor visa expires or change status to another category for which you qualify. Coming back again on a visitor visa while EB-5 is pending will depend on the strength of your ties back home. You can also indicate you have selected consular processing for your EB-5 as an added incentive to return home. Check out the regional centers carefully before investing, both as regards to being an investment and as to their immigration track records for both I-526s and I-829s if safety is important to you.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Applying for the I-526 while in the United States on a visitor's visa is possible. Remaining in the United States for the entire processing period of the I-526 likely is not possible. The maximum stay for a visitor is six months. The average processing time for an I-526 petition is about 14 months. While in the United States as a visitor, you certainly are allowed to talk to and visit regional centers and potential EB-5 projects. As long as you do not overstay or work without authorization, you will not violate your status in the United States. If the purpose of your entry is for temporary business or pleasure, then the visitor's visa is the right one for you. If the purpose of your entry is to immigrate to the United States and live here, then you need an immigrant visa, i.e., you should wait for the I-526 approval and the issuance of your immigrant visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As visitor's visa entry is approved at the airport for six months at most, while the I-526 is taking 15+ months to process and a visitor visa is a non-immigrant visa, you should not intend to remain here permanently after entering on the visitor's visa. Depending on how long your B1/B2 visa is valid, you may come and go on that visa while your I-526, Immigrant Petition is pending as long as you do not overstay your visa and promise to go back to your home country to be interviewed for the immigrant visa application before entering permanently. There is nothing prohibiting you from visiting various regional centers and their projects to determine in which projects to invest. In fact, if that is your purpose of entering the United States, it is a perfectly valid reason to enter.

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    Gregory Romanovsky

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Thank you for your inquiry. You can certainly talk to regional centers and you can invest (and file an I-526 petition) without violating the terms of your B-2 stay. That being said, the filing of the I-526 petition will not give you permission to remain in the United States (until the petition is approved and you can file for adjustment of status). Whether or not you will be able to return to the United States during the pendency of your I-526 depends on whether you still have a valid B-2 visa and whether you can convince the border patrol officer that your new trip in B-2 status is still temporary. I would be very careful with that.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you can file the application in the United States. Yes, you are allowed to talk with regional centers while on a visitor's visa. It would be much harder to leave the United States and return once you have filed an EB-5.

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