How can an EB-5 investor legally operate a direct investment with a pending I-526 petition?

With a pending I-526 petition, the EB-5 investor has not obtained immigration status and therefore may find it challenging to legally manage the project until they acquire lawful employment authorization. If an EB-5 investor has a pending petition, they can employ a managing associate to operate the new commercial enterprise or project for the time being. Because the EB-5 program poses many complications, particularly for direct EB5 investors, prospective investors are advised to seek counsel from an industry expert or specialist before beginning the process.

After I-526 petition approval, the applicant can apply for conditional permanent residency. Investors who have not yet acquired an immigrant visa must file Form DS-260 with the National Visa Center, which will be managed through their nationality’s U.S. consulate or embassy. Investors who are already legally living in the United States, on the other hand, must submit Form I-485 to adjust their status to conditional permanent resident. It is customary for both procedures to invoke the counsel of an immigration lawyer.

Some foreign nationals residing in the United States who wish to secure employment authorization can submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Foreign nationals with immigrant statuses that allow them to be lawfully employed in the United States without any limitations can also submit Form I-765 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to acquire an EAD.

Foreign nationals who aspire to work in the United States but are not U.S. citizens may qualify for employment by falling in one of the following three groups:

  • Category 1: Permitted to work in the United States due to immigration status
  • Category 2: Permitted to work for a specific employer due to nonimmigrant status
  • Category 3: Immigrant status that necessitates an appeal for employment authorization

All foreign nationals who wish to work lawfully in the United States must provide legal documents to their employer verifying their legal employment authorization.