The EB5 investment program is designed to encourage foreign investors to invest substantial amounts of capital into the U.S. economy. In order to attract investors, the government offers anyone who invests the minimum required amount the chance to apply for a special investor visa.
If granted, the EB5 visa would allow the investor to live and work in the U.S. on a long term basis, and would even allow the investor’s spouse and dependant children to qualify for visas of their own.
Illegal Immigrant Status
Being an undocumented immigrant in the United States is a serious offense. Not only can it result in deportation to the person’s country of origin, so too can it prevent a person from being able to take advantage of many of the legal routes to citizenship, like the EB5 investment program. Additionally, a person who is found to have remained in the U.S. illegally for more than six months to a year could be barred from entering the U.S. for a period of three to 10 years.
Waivers are Possible, Not Guaranteed
Even a person who has already spent a substantial amount of time living in the U.S. illegally can be allowed to remain or return to the U.S. if a waiver of inadmissibility is approved. The waiver would allow a person declared as “inadmissible” the chance to enter, and in some cases remain, in the U.S. despite the inadmissibility.
There are several rules and exceptions to who may qualify for a waiver to enter the country. Every person’s situation will be different, which is why a credentialed immigration attorney should be consulted to determine what kind of inadmissibility waiver an immigrant may qualify for.
What About Applying from Outside the U.S.
In order to avoid being discovered as having lived in the U.S. illegally, some illegal immigrants who want EB5 status will try to leave the country in order to apply for an EB5 visa through an American consulate on foreign soil. Illegal immigrants are advised against this because it is not allowed and can be an expensive mistake if tried and failed.
Further, American consulates in other countries have available to them the same resources as those available in the U.S. to investigate the background of an EB5 applicant – if it is discovered that the immigrant was at one time in the United States illegally, the person can still be barred from U.S. entry for a period between three to 10 years.
Constantly Evolving Policy
Immigration policy in the U.S. is constantly changing. For the best chance at forging a path to legal U.S. residency, illegal residents and prospective immigrants outside of the country are urged to partner with an experienced immigration attorney. An attorney will be able to evaluate a person’s individual case to determine his or her best legal options for coming to, returning to, or staying in the U.S., and guide the person through the necessary application processes in order to get started.