What does it mean if an EB-5 project already has I-526 approvals?
I am looking for an EB-5 project that is safe and secure. What does it mean if a project already has a few I-526 approvals? Does this mean that it's safer? Can I still invest in a project where other investors are already past the I-526 stage?
This means that the project has been reviewed by USCIS and USCIS thinks the project is likely to result in the creation of the number of jobs it says it will create, among other things. Yes, you can still invest in a project where other investors have passed the I-526 stage.
It is somewhat safer that a project has I-526 approvals because the project documents have been given deference by USCIS in prior approval. However, it does not mean your I-526 will be approved in terms of your legal source of funds documentation, nor does it mean I-829s will be approved, as there is always a risk insufficient jobs will be created or capital contributions may not be returned to investors.
If an EB-5 project already has I-526 approvals, that is a good sign that USCIS will afford deference as to the investment business model, its structure, its business plan, and the investor agreements submitted by the project. It does not mean that an investment in that project is safer or that any financial risk has been reduced or eliminated with respect to your investment funds. It means that as long as there is no fraud or material change, and as long as your lawful source of funds can be documented, it is more likely that your I-526 petition will be approved. You can invest in a project where other investors are past the I-526 stage. You should be careful, however, about investing in any project where the business is already operating and has already created all of its projected employment. Your investment might be considered to have come too late to have a nexus (or connection) to job creation.
There is no such thing as a safe and secure EB-5 project. All EB-5 investments are subject to risk and an investor may lose his/her entire investment. An EB-5 project may have a few I-526 approvals for a host of reasons. However, it does not mean the project is more safe and secure than any other projects. Participation in each project is determined by the limited partnership that controls the project. For these types of questions and many others, consult an EB-5 attorney before acting on your plan.
Yes, you can invest anytime the subscription period is open. If a project has I-526 approvals for investors, it means USCIS has approved the project up to that point complying with the petition requirements. However, this is does not guarantee the I-829 will be approved if insufficient jobs are created or full pay-back on the investment.
Approval of other I-526s does not necessarily mean that the investment is absent risk. The I-526 allows for conditional lawful permanent residence and the conditions must be removed by filing a second form two years later. Also, the I-526 has requirements for both the project as well as for you, as the investor. So, while prior I-526 approvals are certainly a good sign, it does not mean that your project is of any less risk or of no risk. Further, it is not indicative that you will have a guaranteed approval of your I-526. Make sure to consult with immigration counsel. It is important that you perform all the necessary due diligence before entering into a project.
If a project has a few approvals - it just means that - it has a few approvals. It does not necessarily mean that yours is going to be approved. Whether it is a safe bet or not depends on its financials and business plans. I would suggest that you retain an immigration attorney to assist you in this process.
John J Downey
If there are approvals it shows some success, and depending on the project, you may invest after others have been approved as long as your funds will still be used to provide the requisite jobs.
I-526 is some assurance that the project was immigration compliant at the time that case was adjudicated - it is very important and usually means the problems can only come up in terms of proving a lawful source of funds. However, if there is a material change, admissibility issues, or fraud, the case can still be denied.
I-526 approval means that another investor submitted an application for a conditional green card with the same project and was approved. This means that the project, as presented to USCIS in the investor's application, met the requirements of the EB-5 program, appears credible and that another investor presenting the same project documentation will most likely obtain I-526 approval as long as the plan presented to USCIS stays on track. It does not mean the project is safer from a financial standpoint. The project can still lose some or all of its investors' money if it fails to execute on its plans or if its financial projections turn out to be inaccurate.
Generally, approved I-526s will reflect that the project meets USCIS requirements. However, it does not mean the investment is safe or that your I-526 will be approved. I recommend you discuss your question with your investment immigration attorney.