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How can a student on an M-1 visa make an EB-5 investment?

Hi, I am from Brazil and I am currently in the United States with an M-1 visa. I will have the investment money for an EB-5 visa from the selling of two screenplays that I wrote, but I want to know if I am breaking the law by doing this. Would having written and then selling the screenplays be considered work? Would I be breaking the law by selling a script while on a student visa? Will there be a problem when I show the source of the money for my EB-5 visa?

Answers

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Selling a script is likely not unauthorized employment in the United States. You should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure before you decide whether or not to use these funds as your EB-5 capital investment.

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is my opinion that you can make an EB-5 investment with funds earned by the sale of your screenplay.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I understand your concern, but I would want to review more details about how and when you prepared and sold these screenplays. Current U.S. status aside, selling the screenplays can be an acceptable source of funds provided there is documentation to prove the sale and the price paid was reasonable.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should seek some answers from an attorney/tax specialist. Was the work produced in the United States and sold here while you were in M-1 status? You may be allowed to obtain funds from the sale of artistic work, I am not sure. You should seek the tax attorney's expertise.

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    Olga Karasik

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally speaking it will not be a violation of your current status to enter into an agreement to sell rights for your screenplays. However, if you are selling your screenplays for substantial amounts, and have some other previously successful creative projects, you might be able to successfully apply for a green card based on EB-1 "extraordinary ability in arts," and avoid EB-5 altogether. EB-1 is less costly and has a shorter processing time.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    M-1 is issued usually for vocational studies and for 1 year at a time up to 3 years. Like F-1, you may not work, including earning money as self-employed. Your writing scripts and selling could be seen as a self-employment. After you have successfully completed your studies, however, you can be approved for a period of paid (or unpaid) practical training, up to six months. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) calculates the number of months based on how long you have been studying: you will get one month of work permission for every four months of full-time study. Thus, if your studies are completed and you have obtained the work authorization before selling your script, then it would not violate your status. However, whether you have violated your status will impact whether you may adjust your status from M-1 to EB-5, not whether your funds are legally obtained for the purpose of meeting the EB-5 requirement. I would suggest that you consult an experienced immigration attorney to map out what, when and how you could do certain things so that you do not inadvertently create problems for yourself.

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