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How can I manage my direct EB-5 business if I am on an H-1B visa?

I am on an H-1B visa now and I am looking for the options to apply for EB-5 through direct investment. I understand that as an H-1B visa holder, I have to work for the current employer who sponsored my work visa. Although I will not be supervising the daily operation of the direct EB-5 enterprise, I still want to be involved. To what extent can I be involved in the operation of the EB-5 enterprise and not jeopardizing my current status?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Marisa Casablanca

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As an H1-B recipient you can make an investment and not violate your visa status. However, due to the fact that a direct investment requires you to manage that investment, you would be violating your visa. If you were to invest in a regional center, it would be a different matter.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You are not authorized to operate or work for the EB-5 commercial enterprise as an H-1B holder, and not until you have obtained your green card through EB-5 processing. Until then you would be limited to an investor/owner of the business role where you can have the manager(s) reporting to you and set business operation policy, etc.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Changing the terms of your H-1B employment, including becoming self-employed, will violate your status. Since there is currently no way to concurrently file adjustment of status with the I-526, you need to wait for the I-526 to be approved, then file the I-485 (assuming you are still in lawful H-1B by then) and get temporary employment/travel authorization.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As an EB-5 investor, having a policy setting or oversight-only role, such as board of directors member, is acceptable. This kind of role could be done on your off-hours and outside of the H-1B work.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as you are not working there, you are OK. Alternatively, if you will qualify, you can file for a concurrent H with your new project and then you can work there.

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    Sarah Xiao Qian Mu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You cannot, but you can transfer your H-1B to the new company. Before transferring, you can have someone else manage the company for you.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can be a passive investor, such as a limited partner or a limited LLC member with a policy formulation role that would qualify you for EB-5. But you cannot be actively managing your EB-5 direct business. You cannot violate your H-1B visa requirements. Hire an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney who can properly structure the direct EB-5 business and competently prepare your I-526 petition.

  • Avatar

    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can be an officer of the company and perform the required duties (policy oriented).

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are a minority owner in this new business, such that you can be hired or fired, then you might be able to hold a concurrent H-1B, allowing you to work in both. Otherwise you can set up the business but cannot work for it; you have to be a passive investor or you violate status.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You cannot work in any company other than the one which sponsored your H-1B. Of course, you are allowed to own. Early any business you want to in any immigration status you might have. And it is usually considered to serve on a board of directors of your own company; but you cannot do productive "work" for it. You might consider staying in your current H-1B job until you file an I-485 (under your EB-5 approval) and get employment authorization. You should have an experienced immigration lawyer assist you with this process.

  • Avatar

    Daniel A Zeft

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can invest in the EB-5 enterprise. This is the extent that you can be involved in the operation. The EB -5 enterprise should be structured as a limited partnership.

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