Foreign Entrepreneurs Seeking EB-5 Visas Must Now Provide Substantially More Information To Be Considered for Visa Classification
As of June 9th, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new edition of the I-526 Immigrant Petition for foreign entrepreneurs seeking the EB-5 visa. This article discusses the new edition of form I-526 and the information that is now required by Petitioners who seek to obtain the EB-5 visa classification that would allow them and their families to immigrate to the United States.
Brief Summary of the EB-5 Visa
As a means of stimulating the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation, the Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference EB-5, more commonly known as the EB-5 visa, allows qualified foreign investors the opportunity to obtain Legal Permanent Residency by making large sum investments into the United States for New Commercial Enterprises (NCE). The amount of investment required is dependent upon where the foreign investor decides or decided to invest, with a minimum investment of $1,000,0000 required, unless the investor invests in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) in which the minimum investment required is $500,000.
The New I-526
The new edition of the I-526 requires substantially more information compared to the previously used petition. The new I-526 petition itself is now 13 pages, compared to the previous version of the petition that was only 3 pages. Foreign entrepreneurs who are seeking to petition this visa category now must provide the following information that was not previously required:
- Other Names Used – all names ever used, must be included in the petition, including: aliases, maiden name, and nicknames.
- Mailing vs. Physical Address – Petitioners must differentiate between their current mailing address and their physical address.
- Physical Address – Petitioners must include their physical addresses for the last five years.
- Employment History – Petitioners must include their employment history for the last five years.
- Place of Birth – Petitioners must provide more information about their place of birth, including, the city/town and state/province. Petitioners must also include
- Country of Nationality – Petitioners must provide information on their country citizenship or nationality, regardless of whether they will apply for an adjustment of status or applying for an immigrant visa abroad. Petitioners must now indicate if they are citizens of more than one country or if their nationality differs from their citizenship.
- Last Foreign residence – Petitioners must state the Country of their last foreign residence and provide the address, regardless of whether the petitioner will apply for an adjustment of status or applying for an immigrant visa abroad.
- Petitioners must now include information about their spouse and all of their children, whether or not other family members are also applying for a visa or to adjust their status to that of the foreign entrepreneur.
- Regional Center – If foreign entrepreneurs investment is associated with a Regional Center, they must now information about the Regional Center.
- Petition Type and Required Capital Investment – Petitioners must specify if their investment will be in a TEA, Upward Adjustment Area, or in a Non-TEA/Non-Upward Adjustment Area. If the investment will be in a TEA, then petitioners must provide more detailed information regarding the investment, including, the location of the NCE, whether it is in a rural area, and more specific information about the Job-Creating-Entity.
- Sources of Investment Capital – Petitioners must now identify the sources of all capital that have been or will be invested in the NCE, including specific information that the capital used or to be used was obtained through lawful means.
New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) Information
- Type of NCE – Petitioners must specify what type of NCE will result from their investment.
- Specifics about the NCE – Petitioners must provide information such as the name, address, the type of business entity (corporation, llc, partnership), the nature of the business activity, and the industry. If the investment is for a troubled business, then specific information about how the NCE qualifies as a troubled business must be provided.
- Multiple Investors – If the Petitioner is not the sole investor in the NCE, then they must provide the names and percentage of ownership of each investor, as well as, whether other investors are seeking or have obtained an EB-5 visa classification.
Job-Creating Entity (JCE) Information
- If the JCE is different from the NCE, then Petitioners must provide specific information about the JCE. If there are more than one JCE, petitioners must include information about each entity.
Employment Creation Information
- Additional information is now required by Petitioners as it relates to job-creation, including:
- The difference between current number of full-time direct and qualifying employees versus the number created by the Petitioners investment; and
- The total amount of capital derived from investors who are not seeking or have not obtained an EB-5 visa classification.
Declaration and Certifications regarding English Proficiency and/or Use of Interpreter
- Petitioners must now state that they can either:
- Read and understand English and that they read and understood every question and instruction in the petition and their answers; or
- If they used an interpreter, that the interpreter read to them every question, instruction and their answers in a language that they are fluent, and that they understood all of the information interpreted. The translated language must also be specified.
- If Interpreter’s are used, information about the interpreter must be included in the petition, including:
- Interpreter full name
- Interpreter’s business or organization name (if applicable)
- Interpreter’s mailing address
- Interpreter’s contact information
- Interpreter’s certification – Interpreter must now certify that:
- They are fluent in English and the identified foreign language
- They have read every question, instruction, and answer to the Petitioner (or authorized signatory) in the identified language
- The Petitioner (or authorized signatory) has informed the interpreter that they understand every instruction, question and answer in the petition and verified the accuracy of every answer.
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