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What does USCIS look for in the I-526 approval process?

What are the main things USCIS is checking for when the EB-5 investor submits the I-526 petition? Is there any focus on the the regional center project when the individual investor submits their I-526?

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    Melissa J Tsai

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    At the time of filing the I-526 petition, USCIS looks at two main things: (1) the source and path of your EB-5 funds and whether it was legally obtained to reach $500,000 or $1 million (depends on your project). Generally speaking, USCIS has found gifts from immediate family members and bank loans (using property investor owns as security) to be acceptable ways of how an investor has derived his or her funds. Your supporting documents should be credible and verifiable; (2) whether your EB-5 project or business will produce the required number of jobs and has enough capital/financing under EB-5 regulations. In a direct investment, USCIS looks at the Matter of Ho compliant business plan. Same with a regional center project, in addition to a detailed economic analysis and offering documents. Now, if your regional center project has been "pre-approved" (I-924 exemplar) by USCIS, this will greatly help move things along for the immigration officer and mainly focus on (1).

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, at the time an I-526 is filed, an investor must provide documentation showing that he has either $500,000 or $1 million, depending on the location of the project, to invest. Also, the investor's fund for I-526 will be evaluated as to whether the fund is from legal source(s) or not. Last but not least, all information in your I-526 must be accurate and truthful. There is no preference for a regional center project over an investor direct investment.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS reviews all aspects of the project, including the business plan timelines and financial projections, as well as credibility and feasibility of the project, and whether or not there has been meaningful business activity. Another important aspect of the USCIS's adjudication is to determine if the investor's capital was lawfully obtained. The USCIS will focus on the regional center project, but if there is an exemplar approval, or if the project already has received I-526 approvals, then USCIS will afford deference to the project documents and it will not come to a different conclusion. In other words, USCIS will approve the project documents if they are identical to other investors in the same project that have been approved. Then, USCIS needs only to adjudicate the lawful source of funds issue. If everything is properly documented and meets the evidentiary standard, the petition will be approved.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS reviews an individual investor's I-526 petition for lawful source of funds as well as the project's documentation for compliance under the EB-5 program, such as business plan, economist report, etc.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Regarding the investor, they look for the "source of funds" to make sure they are from a lawful source, and also their financial background to make sure they are "accredited investors." Regarding the project, they are concerned that the business plan is credible and will produce the requisite number of jobs.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, USCIS will focus on the regional center project along with the individual applicant's source of funds.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The regional center has already been approved when you file the I-526. USCIS will focus on your source of funds and the supporting documents provided by the regional center to show that they will meet the requirements of the program regarding the project and the jobs to be created.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS will review the EB-5 project for compliance with regional center affiliation, job creation and expenditure requirements, as well as documentary requirements (business plan, economic report, etc.), among others. They will also review the authentication of the lawful source and transfer of investment funds. Working with an immigration lawyer will help you prepare and submit a complete and approvable I-526 petitions.

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