I-526 Basics

An EB-5 investor visa is intended for foreign investors who have or are in the process of investing substantial capital in a new U.S. enterprise in an amount of at least $500,000 or $1 million, depending on the enterprise. In order to apply for an EB-5 visa, a foreign financier has to fill out form I-526, which is a U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) form. Form I-526 is just three pages long and asks for background on the investor applicant as well as the investment.

Full Amount Funding Before I-526

A common question among EB-5 investors is whether or not the full required amount has to be invested before they file an I-526 for visa consideration. The law is very clear when it states that the financier must have already invested or be in the process of investing the required amount. Therefore, it is not required that the entire amount be invested at the time of filing, but the investor will need to show that a substantial step in the investment process has been taken. The mere intent to invest, and even making preliminary investment arrangements, will not satisfy this requirement.

USCIS wants to see that an financier has made a substantial step toward investing in a U.S. enterprise before it will approve a conditional EB-5 financier visa. This can be shown by bank statements showing deposits into a business account, by proof of purchase of assets to be used in the business, by proof of transfer of foreign property to be used in a business, and by certain other documents.

Investors Have Two Years

Although not required that the entire investment amount be placed into a U.S. enterprise before filling out the I-526 application, an EB-5 financier generally has two years to invest the full required amount into the enterprise. Failure to place the entire required amount into the business could could result in the investor’s conditional visa being revoked, which could cause a whole new set of problems in and of itself for the foreign investor.

How to Avoid Delays, Denials & Revocations

There is really only one way that a foreign financier  can make sure he or she will have a good chance of being approved for an EB-5 financier visa – by partnering with a credentialed EB-5 attorney. An EB-5 investor attorney will be able to explain the immigration process to the investor and walk the financier through the investment / immigration process.

The attorney can review appropriate applications and documents to ensure they have been filled out properly and can make sure the investor has met all necessary requirements before the documents are submitted. This can reduce the chances of the investor being denied over a simple administrative error, which would only prolong the process.

Investors should keep in mind that it can take up to a year before they hear anything back on the status of their application. If working with an EB-5 investor visa lawyer, the investor will be notified by the E-5 investor visa attorney as soon as progress to their application has been made.