How the F-1 Student Visa Can Enable EB-5 Investors to Move to the United States Quickly

Obtaining a permanent U.S. Green Card is one of the most in-demand immigration goals for foreign nationals. The wealth of career and academic opportunities that the United States offers, as well as the country’s economic and political stability, make it perhaps the most coveted immigration destination in the world.

At the same time, there are very few direct paths to a U.S. Green Card, and many immigration options are highly uncertain, depend on lottery results, or subject applicants to unreasonably long wait times.

This makes the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program one of the most straightforward and secure paths to U.S. residency, with clear requirements for applicants and reasonable adjudication times for immigrant petitions.

At the same time, EB-5 visa applicants who are not already residing in the United States under a non-immigrant visa may have to wait for some time for USCIS to process their visa applications. Waiting for USCIS approval may be inconvenient for EB-5 investors who are eager to relocate, especially to pursue goals such as having their children benefit from the U.S. education system.

Wait times may be even longer for EB-5 applicants from China and India, as both of these countries are experiencing a backlog of EB-5 visa applications.

Still, there is a way for EB-5 investors living abroad to relocate to the United States quickly, even before receiving USCIS approval: obtaining an F-1 student visa, making an EB-5 investment, and then adjusting their immigration status.

In this article, we explain how this process can enable EB-5 investors to relocate to the United States quickly and enjoy many of the benefits of a Green Card even before obtaining one.

How Long Must EB-5 Investors Wait Before Receiving Green Cards?

After investing at least $800,000 in an eligible U.S. business—usually a real estate development project—EB-5 investors file Form I-526E, the initial immigrant petition. Upon approval of Form I-526E, an investor receives a two-year conditional Green Card through consular processing.

This allows the investor and dependent family members to relocate to the United States, where they can live and work freely. During the final 90 days of the conditional residence period, EB-5 investors file Form I-829 to remove conditions from their Green Card and become permanent residents.

USCIS typically takes upwards of two years to adjudicate I-526E petitions for investors from Latin America, Canada, Europe, and other regions with moderate demand for EB-5 immigration. Of course, processing times vary and may be shorter—or significantly longer.

This is especially true for high-demand countries like China and India, whose investors may have to wait for many years before finally obtaining their Green Cards through the EB-5 program.

At the same time, EB-5 visa applicants who already live in the United States under a non-immigrant visa such as the H-1B, F-1, or E-2 categories, can go through the immigration process significantly faster.

The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 now allows EB-5 investors who hold a non-immigrant visa to file Form I-485 (used to adjust one’s immigration status) concurrently with Form I-526E.

This provision lets investors immediately adjust their immigration status to “pending” while USCIS processes their I-526E petitions. In the meantime, investors can live and work in the United States, enjoying many of the same freedoms as Green Card holders.

An added benefit of concurrent filing is that it also avoids consular processing for a Green Card, which is prone to experience additional delays and sometimes unpredictable adjudication.

How EB-5 Investors Can Relocate Quickly Through the F-1 Student Visa

Since it is much faster for non-immigrant visa holders to adjust their immigration status, foreign nationals interested in the EB-5 program should consider obtaining a non-immigrant visa, relocating to the United States, and then making an EB-5 investment.

Doing so makes investors eligible to file Forms I-526E and I-485 concurrently, thereby adjusting their immigration status and allowing them to live in the United States with few restrictions until receiving their Green Cards.

The F-1 student visa is one of the easiest non-immigrant visa categories to obtain for this purpose.

Applying for an F-1 Visa Through a Graduate Degree Program

The best way for prospective EB-5 investors to obtain an F-1 visa is to enroll in graduate school.

The wide variety of graduate degree programs available throughout the United States ensures that EB-5 applicants will be able to find a program that suits their academic and career background. In addition, many graduate degrees in the United States are highly accessible in their tuition, GPA requirements, and acceptance rates.

Graduate programs without an age requirement are common, as are programs specially tailored for nontraditional students.

The following list features accessible master’s degree programs that allow future EB-5 investors to qualify for an F-1 visa.

Master’s Degree Programs For F-1 Visa Applicants




Immigrate to the United States with EB5AN

While applying for an F-1 visa and then filing the I-526E and I-485 petitions concurrently is a valuable option for EB-5 investors, the immigration process requires careful planning. Every EB-5 investment made in pursuit of a Green Card involves a degree of financial and immigration risk, and it can be challenging to find safe EB-5 investment opportunities that comply with USCIS policies.

EB5AN is one of the leading fund managers and consultancies in the EB-5 industry. With backgrounds in immigration law, business strategy, investment valuation, and other relevant fields, our team has helped more than 2,000 investors find safe EB-5 investment opportunities and begin the immigration process. Many of our investors already enjoy permanent Green Cards.

Click here to view a successful sample adjustment of status request for an EB-5 applicant who invested in one of our projects.

We invite you to schedule a free consultation with EB5AN to explore your immigration options and relocate to the United States—perhaps sooner than you previously thought possible.