Are EB-5 investors required to apply for advance parole when filing Form I-485?

It is not required for EB-5 investors to apply for a travel document—also known as advance parole—when filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. However, if the investor does not have a valid H or L visa, it is not recommended that they travel outside of the United States without advance parole. Doing so may be considered an abandonment of the investor’s I-485 adjustment of status application.

Advance Parole

When a foreign national applies to adjust status, it may take some time before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants approval. Since it is unknown exactly how long it will take, it is in an applicant’s best interest to submit Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. Known as advance parole, this will allow the applicant to travel outside of the United States without any issues. However, advance parole is not a guarantee of admission back into the country. This is at the discretion of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents.

H and L Visas

There are several different visa categories, including H and L. Both of these nonimmigrant visa types allow foreign nationals to work in the United States for a specified period of time, under the sponsorship of their employer. The H visa requires employees to be sponsored by U.S. employers, while the L visa allows employees with special skills to run the U.S. offices of their employer that is based in their country of residence. Employment-based visas allow visa holders to travel to and from the United States as long as their visa status remains current.

Concurrent Filing

It is possible for foreign nationals who are in the United States under a nonimmigrant visa—the H-1B for example—to become EB-5 investors and file Form I-526—Immigrant Petition by an Alien Investor—and Form I-485 concurrently. Prior to the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, investors had to wait for Form I-526 to be adjudicated before they could adjust status. Concurrent filing saves them valuable time and expedites the historically lengthy process of obtaining U.S. permanent resident status.