Business Plan-Related RFEs for I-526 Petitions

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program remains one of the most popular routes for foreign nationals to relocate to the United States, and it also supports U.S. business owners across the country. The benefits of the EB-5 investment program are widely recognized by business owners and investors alike.

The EB-5 investment program is carefully regulated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). All visa petitions must be filed according to USCIS guidelines. One of the biggest hurdles in the EB-5 process is submitting Form I-526, in which an investor must demonstrate that their EB5 investment follows USCIS regulations.

Approval of Form I-526 can be delayed if the information provided on the petition is inaccurate, incomplete, or ambiguous. USCIS issues a request for evidence (RFE) when the information or documentation provided on Form I-526 is insufficient. One common reason for an RFE is deficiencies in the business plan of the EB-5 project. We now discuss how to respond to such RFEs.

Insufficient or Ambiguous Information

For USCIS to approve an I-526 petition, it must receive sufficient evidence to demonstrate that all the EB-5 investment guidelines have been followed. Specific details such as job creation potential, project structure, and funding plans must be clearly laid out in the business plan and supported by documentary evidence.

Inconsistencies in the business plan, such as discrepancies between budgets or operating dates, may also be grounds for USCIS to send an RFE. Thus, it is recommended for an investor to check the business plan thoroughly before submitting their I-526 petition, thereby ensuring that no inaccuracies or inconsistencies are present. Engaging the services of an experienced immigration lawyer is also recommended.

When USCIS sends an RFE, it specifies what content is missing or unclear so the EB-5 investor can submit the missing material. For minor discrepancies, it is usually sufficient for the applicant to make the necessary corrections and attach the required documentation. However, broader issues may be better addressed by updating the business plan in its entirety.

Failure to Comply with EB-5 Investment Regulations

USCIS regulations govern the structure of the EB-5 project, the at-risk status of the funding, and how the EB-5 investments will be made. If the business plan fails to demonstrate compliance with these regulations, USCIS may send an RFE.

If the RFE is sent as a result of ambiguous information, the investor can respond with clarifications and supporting documentation to demonstrate that the EB-5 project does meet the necessary criteria. However, if the business plan does not genuinely comply with the regulations, then responding to the RFE will not lead to approval of the I-526 petition.

While obtaining approval for the I-526 petition can be a complex process, prospective investors should not be discouraged. The EB-5 investment program has enabled thousands of foreign nationals to successfully relocate to the United States. However, to ensure compliance with USCIS regulations and minimize delays in the EB-5 investment process, it is essential to enlist the help of industry professionals. For guidance on responding to RFEs, prospective investors can contact EB-5 consultants such as EB5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN).