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What is the time limit to act on an approved I-526 petition for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?

I am on an F-1 visa, but currently outside the United States. My I-526 was approved about a week ago and I am still waiting for a confirmation letter. Would I have any problems at customs upon returning to the United States on my F-1 visa since my I-526 is now approved? I am planning to submit an I-485 once I am back in the U.S. Additionally, is there a time limit within which we are expected to act on an approved I-526? I am returning to the U.S. in 4 months and was planning to submit my I-485 application when I return.

Answers

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    Answered on

    There should be no problem with returning to the United States on your current F-1 if it is valid. Also, you can file your I-485 upon returning to the U.S. Thanks.

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    Answered on

    If you indicated you will consular process for an immigrant visa abroad in your I-526 petition, you should consular process through NVC when you receive a letter from NVC with your case number and instructions how to prepare for consular processing. You may have problems to enter the U.S. on F-1 visa because you have an approved I-526 petition which is an immigrant petition. You should discuss all options with your immigration attorney.

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    Answered on

    You usually have approximately one year to act on an approved petition. If you are planning to file form I-485, you need to remember that you are entering the U.S. on an F-1 visa and must maintain the requisite nonimmigrant intent. You cannot enter the U.S. with the intention of filing for your green card because that is fraud. After you have been in the U.S. for 30-60 days as a student, you can decide to file your I-485 application. This cooling down period removes any presumption that you may have entered the U.S. as an intending immigrant.

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    Answered on

    If you enter on an F-1 and immediately file a change of status to permanent residence, this may be deemed visa fraud when you interviewed. Hopefully, your approval was for consular notification and you might be advised to complete the interview abroad as it will likely take about 4-6 months if you act diligently. Whereas adjustment interviews that are now mandatory may take 1-2 years or longer.

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    Answered on

    F-1 is a non-immigrant visa category and you are not supposed to have an immigrant intent. Since you are outside of the U.S. now and will be for another 4 months, you should obtain the immigrant visa through consulate processing rather than attempting to come into U.S. on the F-1, knowing that you want to file the I-485, which means you will be lying to the CBP officer at the airport that you do not have any immigrant intent. Your immigration lawyer should guide you carefully on this. Lying or misrepresenting yourself to any government officials could bar you from obtaining any immigration benefits in the future.

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    Answered on

    The Regional Center Program ends September 30, 2017. We do not know what the rules will be after that date. Normally, filing in 4 months would be fine, but it is hard to know for sure. The current rules state you should apply for PR within 1 year of your visa being available.

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    Answered on

    4 months is not an issue in terms of timing. Issuance of a non-immigrant visa after an approval can be difficult and you could also run into a problem at the border. If your intent is to file the I-485 after you enter, they will not admit you. Your I-526 should have said that you plan to consular process and you should be prepared to prove to the border official that you plan to return to your home country to consular process and that you do not plan on filing an I-485 in the U.S.

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    Answered on

    These specific facts call for visa processing, since your intention, at the time you would be admitted on your F-1 Visa, is clearly to immigrate to the United States.

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    Answered on

    If you have a valid non-immigrant F-1 Student visa and an approved EB-5 Petition on Form I-526, should you seek entry into the United States on your valid F-1 visa, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Inspector may deny your entry because you are not a valid non-immigrant F-1 Student. An F-1 Student must have the intention to return to their country abroad upon completion of their studies. The Immigration Inspector at the airport will be able to access your information and see that not only have you filed but that you have an approved I-526 petition. Should you seek reentry, the best thing to do is be honest. You can say you need to return to complete your studies or your Optional Practical Training, but, if asked about the I-526 petition, you should always say something general such as, "Yes, a petition was filed and approved as I hope in the future to be able to qualify for Permanent Residency. " The worst thing you could do would be to deny the petition was filed, as you could be denied entry because you would be committing fraud which in turn could negatively impact your application to become a conditional Permanent Resident of the U.S. Once you have an approved I-526, if you are physically in the U.S there is no time limit, but you should file your Application for Adjustment of Status as soon as a visa number is available—preferably 30 days after you are readmitted to the U.S.

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    Answered on

    You may find it difficult to return on your F-1 visa if your I-526 is approved. Be prepared to discuss and document your claim to continue to reside in your home country and intend to return there before you immigrate. Alternatively, you can return in an alternative investment based non-immigrant visa category.

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