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What problems may occur if I withdraw from the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Program now but wish to reapply in the future?

I am an EB-5 investor from China with an approved I-526. It is said that it might take 6-10 years before I can proceed to the next stage of application. I am starting to think of some detours for getting a green card faster. For example, I want to invest in the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program, obtain a Cypriot citizenship and then invest in EB-5 as a Cypriot citizen to avoid the backlog. At the current stage of my application, is it possible to withdraw my existing case and get my money back? Or, if it is not possible to get the investment capital back, can I withdraw from the EB-5 program and reapply later?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Ying Lu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The visa backlog is terminated by the place of birth, not citizenship. Hence, being a Cypriot citizen will not help your case. It is better to keep your I-526. It should not take 6-10 years for you to file your DS-260. The Oct. 2017 visa bulletin allows mainland China applicants to file their DS-260 or I-485 if their priority date is earlier than 10/1/2014. Now that you have already had an approval, it is not the best choice to withdraw the petition and reapply in the future. In addition, the project that you invested may not allow you to withdraw the investment without any penalty.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Country of chargeability for immigrant visa purposes is determined by country of birth, not by country of citizenship. A Chinese citizen might be able to obtain citizenship in a country that maintains an investment treaty with the United States (Grenada is one of the quickest and easiest ones) and obtain a nonimmigrant E-2 treaty investor visa based upon a qualifying investment in a U.S. entity, but this would not help for EB-5 purposes. Whether may withdraw your existing EB-5 case and get your money back will depend upon the agreements you have signed with the EB-5 project. You should consult with an experienced immigration attorney before taking any action.

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will not be refunded by USCIS. They have already completed work on your filed I-526 application. Other than that, there are no penalties for withdrawing. As for the investment capital, you will need to speak with the persons who hold your investment capital in escrow.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should not withdraw your current approved I-526 petition. Becoming a Cypriot citizen will not help you with the backlog for an immigrant visa because your eligibility for an immigrant visa depends on your country of birth, not your country of citizenship. If you are married to a person who is not born in mainland China, this will help you get an immigrant visa without a backlog for Chinese nationals. Please note: the withdrawal of an approved I-526 petition takes about a year for USCIS to act and it may be difficult for you to travel or apply for a nonimmigrant visa to the U.S. while you have an approved immigrant petition (I-526). The wisest option is to keep your approved I-526 petition with the earliest priority date.

  • Avatar

    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The timing, structure and procedure of getting your initial capital back from your investment will depend on the agreement you have signed with the EB-5 project (or the Regional Center).

  • Avatar

    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As a Chinese citizen with an approved I-526 petition, the best thing to do is to leave it as is. The worst thing you could do would be to withdraw the petition, as you would lose the entire benefit of your original petition and your place under the quota. The quota is determined by your place of birth, not your current citizenship. Thus, while you may be able to invest in the Cypress Citizenship Program to obtain Cypriot citizenship, it will not speed up the process of obtaining your conditional Permanent Residency in the United States under the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Just leave your current petition as is and, when a visa number is available, you can apply for your immigrant visa at the American Consulate in Guangzhou or, if by then you are a citizen of Cypress, you can file for your immigrant visa at the Embassy in Cypress.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Even if you become a citizen of Cyprus, you will still be under the China quota for U.S. immigration purposes. I would recommend you keep your current EB-5 application going.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, your EB-5 agreement with the regional center you are working with should contain provisions for withdrawing from the program. It is the best and first place to look at for issues such as, when, how and what to do for your rights prior to filing for withdrawal. Also, consult an attorney for advice before you proceed further on this.

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    Michael A Harris, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, becoming a citizen of Cyprus will not change the country of chargeability that you are assigned in the waiting line for your EB-5 visa. In fact, it is the country of birth that determines your chargeability under U.S. law. Cross-chargeability, which is the ability of another family member 's birth country to apply to the principal visa applicant, may be an option if you have a spouse or parent who was not born in mainland China. As well, regrettably, parents may not cross-charge to a child's country of origin. In other words, the principal applicant or derivative spouse may never use their child 's country of birth for cross-chargeability.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The visa availability depends on the place a person was born, not the person 's current citizenship. Thus, having a Cyprus citizenship will not help you shorten your wait time for an EB-5 visa. Rather than complicating your case and status, you should just wait and hope Congress does something for the EB-5 visa backlog. Holding onto the approved EB category with earliest Priority Date will be the best thing for you to do. As a China-born person, the only category that does not have any long wait-time is EB-1 category of a multi-national company executive or outstanding researcher, etc.

  • Avatar

    Mitch Wexler

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    What dictates which country your green card is "charged to" is your country of birth, not citizenship. Your country of birth will never change. There may indeed be faster options to achieve green card status, but there is usually no reason to withdraw a pending application until you are issued a green card through an alternative route. You can pursue green card status in multiple categories concurrently and just grab the first one that comes in. Obtaining citizenship in an "E-2 country" would render you eligible to apply for an E-2 investor visa, for which there is no per country backlog. This is appealing to those that wish to enter the United States within a few months to run a qualifying U.S. enterprise while the EB-5 and/or other green card processes are running its course.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It would be a huge mistake to get Cypriot citizenship because it does not improve the waiting line option, which is controlled by your place of birth. If you acquired Granada citizenship, this may open your options to an E-2 investor visa. Cyprus is not an E-2 country. If you married someone born in a country other than China, you can be cross charged to that country, such as Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

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