Can an EB-5 investor’s partner in a civil union apply for an EB-5 visa as a derivative?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not recognize a civil union partner as a derivative beneficiary of an EB-5 investor. If a couple is not married due to the laws in their home country—as is sometimes the case with same-sex couples—the solution is to get married in a nation that legally recognizes their union. USCIS recognizes an EB-5 investor’s spouse as a derivative beneficiary as long as they were married in a place where the marriage is legally recognized.

Derivative Beneficiaries

The EB-5 visa process allows the immediate family of an EB-5 investor—their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21—to also receive permanent resident status upon adjudication of Form I-526. Derivative beneficiaries are only able to receive permanent resident status by way of their connection to the primary applicant which, in the case of the EB-5 visa, is the EB-5 investor.

Derivative beneficiaries must go through the same checklist items for a U.S. green card as the primary applicant. They must submit the same paperwork, pay fees, pass a medical examination, and participate in an interview. Derivative beneficiaries are also afforded the same benefits of U.S. permanent residency as the primary applicant—in this case, the EB-5 investor.

Entering the United States

After their I-526 petition is adjudicated, the primary applicant and their derivative beneficiaries may relocate to the United States. Usually, visas are valid for a period of six months. While it is recommended that the EB-5 investor and their immediate family travel to the United States at the same time, the primary applicant may travel any time before their derivatives. The most important thing is that the derivatives travel within the six-month window so that their visa does not expire.

It is always recommended that EB-5 investors and their immediate family work with an immigration attorney who can guide them through the EB-5 process.