I-526 Application Summary
- Proves eligibility for EB-5 program
- Must be filed in order to obtain EB-5 visa
- Filed by immigration attorney
- $3,675 filing fee
- Link to the form on the USCIS website
What is the I-526 petition?
The I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is filed by the EB-5 investor to demonstrate that they are in the process of investing, or have already invested the required amount of capital in a suitable EB-5 project. I-526 petitions are usually prepared on behalf of EB-5 applicants by an immigration attorney. Applicants are eligible to file the I-526 petition after they have taken the appropriate measures to invest in an acceptable EB-5 project. These projects must be part of a new commercial enterprise and can either be directly invested in by the immigrant investor, or can be administered by an EB-5 Regional Center, which has government designation to administer EB-5 projects.
The applicants must provide evidence that they have made a $900,000 to $1.8 million U.S. dollar investment of lawful capital in the new commercial enterprise. The specific required investment amount depends on whether or not the investment is made in an economically depressed location called a targeted employment area (TEA). A key purpose of the I-526 petition is for the applicants to prove that their capital investment comes from a lawful source of funds. Therefore, the EB-5 applicant must provide traceable evidence that proves that the funds were legally obtained.
The applicants must also present evidence that their investment will lead to the creation of fulltime jobs (35 hours per week or more) for at least 10 U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other authorized immigrant workers. Evidence that proves that the EB-5 investor will be in a policymaking or managerial role at the EB-5 project must also be provided. This requirement can be satisfied by demonstrating that an investor has voting rights in an EB-5 Regional Center project that is in the form of a limited partnership or limited liability company.
Many forms of evidence may be used to prove that all of I-526 petition requirements have been met by the applicant:
Requirement: an EB-5 eligible project has received/will receive the investment
Evidence: articles of incorporation, merger or consolidation certificates, joint venture or limited partnership agreements, state business certificates
Requirement: the appropriate investment amount has been made in the project
Evidence: bank statements, security agreements, promissory notes, loan or mortgage certificates, other evidence that sufficiently illustrates the investment amount
Requirement: the capital investment was obtained through lawful means (legal source of funds)
Evidence: five years of tax returns, pay stubs of the funds coming from earnings from an employer, bank account statements, securities statements (if the funds came from trading/bonds/stocks)
Requirement: the investment will create 10 fulltime U.S. jobs
Evidence: a business plan
Requirement: the investor will be involved with day-to-day management or will have a policy-making position within the EB-5 project
Evidence: corporate documents, statement and description of duties
Who files the I-526
I-526 petitions are usually completed by immigration attorneys. They are submitted to the USCIS California Service Center. The filing fee for the I-526 petition is $3,675. USCIS will occasionally request more evidence as needed. It currently takes the USCIS 31 to 52 months to adjudicate an I-526 application. EB-5 visa applicants can apply for U.S. residential status once the I-526 petition is complete. They do so by filing the form I-485 adjustment of status if they are already in the United States as a nonimmigrant, or by filing the DS-260 application if they are abroad.