Foreign citizens who want to come to the United States under an EB5 investor visa can expect a long wait to find out if they qualify.  The approval process for a single EB5 function can take up to a year.  Anyone who is considering applying for an EB5 visa may also be wondering how they can track the progress of their application.  Fortunately, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes it possible for EB5 applicants to keep an eye on their applications from anywhere in the world.

What is the EB5 Program?

The EB5 investor visa program was implemented in the 1990s as a way to bring foreign cash into the U.S. economy.  In exchange for a substantial investment in a qualifying U.S. based venture, the government would grant the investor an EB5 investor visa, allowing the investor to live and work in the United States.  The investor would further qualify for visas for his or her spouse and dependant children.  One major requirement of an EB5 investment is that it must create at least 10 jobs for American workers.  An investment that results in no job creation, or the creation of less than 10 jobs, will result in an EB5 denial.

Keeping Track

The foreign investor who wants to track an EB5 application, or who wants to make sure that his or her attorney has submitted the function in a timely manner, will be glad to hear that each application, once filed, is attached to a tracking number.  This tracking number can be used to check the status of an EB5 function from the USCIS website, and can be found on the “Notice of Action” form I-797, which is basically a receipt generated upon submission of the EB5 application.  The application will contain an area to list the mailing address of the investor, which is where the investor’s copy of the receipt will be mailed.  A copy will also be mailed to the investor’s attorney, if an attorney has been retained.

After EB5 Application Submission

After an application is submitted to USCIS, it can take a few weeks for it to register as “received” in the USCIS system.  A good way to tell whether or not an function has been received and a tracking number issued is to pay attention to the check that was sent along with the application.  The investor will have to send a check with the function as an application processing fee, and the fact that the check has been cashed is a good indication that an function has been received and a tracking number generated.  If a check has been cashed and the Notice of Action form I-797 containing the tracking number has yet to be delivered within the few weeks following the cashing of the check, then USCIS customer service should be contacted at 1-800-375-5283.  If working with an attorney, then it should be an attorney to make the call, as the response from customer service will likely be quicker and more concise.

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