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When can an EB-5 investor begin working?

I am currently studying in the United States in a graduate school. Can I invest under EB-5 and start working right away in the United States? Will I still have to get an H-1B visa?

Answers

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The filing, and even approval, of an I-526 immigrant petition to classify you as an EB-5 investor does not confer any immigration benefit to you in terms of staying in the United States or working in the United States. If you wish to work in the United States, you must have some other status that allows for employment authorization, such as H-1B.

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    Jimena G Cabrera

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    During the EB-5 process, if you apply for adjustment of status while in the United States, the soonest the investor is allowed to work is when her/his employment authorization card is issued. In your situation, let's say you start the process right now it is currently taking an average of 16 months for the I-526 petition to be processed and approved. Once approved and if you continue in lawful status, you may qualify to file an application to adjust your status to the lawful permanent resident. Together with this application you may file an application for employment authorization and an application for advance parole (if you need to leave the country while in the process). Once you do that, it will take between 60 and 90 days for your employment authorization card to be issued (that is when you can start working) and between 4 to 6 months to get your green card. If you are from China (mainland born) there is a backlog in visa availability, therefore you need to add an average of 14 months to that process (as of today). I suggest you to speak to an immigration attorney to discuss your options, including the H-1B.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are in lawful status and your I-526 case has been approved, you may be eligible to file an adjustment application. About 3-4 months after filing, you will likely be approved for a work permit.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You cannot. You must wait until after the I-526 is approved; you file for adjustment of status and for employment authorization. Then, in 45-75 days, you should receive your work authorization for employment while the adjustment of status is pending. Once the green card is approved, you can work under that.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You cannot work in the United States unless you have an Employment Authorization to do so. There is no employment authorization attached to the initial immigration petition, I-526. When you receive the I-526 approval, and if you are in a valid status in the United States, the I-485 adjustment of status application can be submitted along with the I-765 employment authorization application. If that is approved, then you will receive an EAD card, which will authorize you to work until you receive your conditional green card. Thus, if you wish to work after completing your studies, you may obtain the Optional Practical Training permit that will allow you to work for one year after graduation and then thereafter, you cannot work unless you have another status, such as H-1B that will allow you to work. Please note that working without a proper work authorization is a violation of your nonimmigrant, student status, and may negatively affect your adjustment application after getting the I-526 approved.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, you cannot start working simply because you have filed an EB-5 application. Unless your EB-5 application is approved and you are in possession of at least, a conditional green card that typically lasts for two years, you will need a work visa, such as an H-1B, to work. Advisably, consult an EB-5 attorney on how to plan and understand all the necessary implications of this common question.

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    Meetesh Patel

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are in the United States and are applying for an EB-5 visa, you will not be able to work as soon as you apply for your EB-5 visa. The first step in filing your EB-5 visa is filing your I-526 immigrant petition. As of Dec. 31, 2015, the average processing time as posted on the USCIS website is 16 months. Once your I-526 petition is approved, you would then be eligible to apply for adjustment of status (Form I-485) and work authorization (Form I-765) while your adjustment of status is pending. The work authorization would take an additional three months. You would have to decide based on these time frames whether you need to apply for an H-1B visa.

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    Jeff Khurgel

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will need another underlying status that allows work (H-1B, L-1, E-2, F-1/OPT, O-1, etc.). The mere filing of the EB-5 petition does not allow you to work. After the petition is approved and upon filing for adjustment of status, you will usually receive a work authorization document within three months.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may not start working under EB-5 until you are granted conditional permanent residence. Once you complete your studies, you may apply for OPT or H-1B.

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    Olivia Orza

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Filing an I-526 form DOES NOT give you work authorization. You will have to get an H-1B or some other type of visa with work authorization if you want to work.

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    Stephen Bander

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, you cannot begin working right away. For work permission to be derived from the EB-5 investment itself, the earliest you will be able to work is when the I-526 immigrant visa petition is approved and (1) you applied for adjustment of status and USCIS issued you a work authorization card or (2) you consular processed and CBP admitted you to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. However, due to current I-526 processing times, if you made the EB-5 investment today, you will likely be in position to work without needing an H-1B since you have not graduated and are eligible for OPT. By the time you complete OPT, the I-526 immigrant visa petition will be approved.

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    Michael A Harris

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Under the EB-5 program, you will have to wait until your I-526 petition is approved and then apply for your green card. Within 90 days of applying for a green card (if you are eligible to apply here in the United States) you can apply for a temporary work permit. Otherwise, the EB-5 petition does not currently provide you with work permission. You will have to have another nonimmigrant visa status such as the H-1B or OPT card following your graduation.

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    Abhinav Lohia

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    During the pendency of the application of conditional green card (I-526) a valid work permit will be required to work in the United States. It could be an H-1B or any other visa that authorizes you to work.

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