How will I-526 approval affect a derivative’s ability to obtain or renew an F-1 visa?

How an approved I-526 petition would impact a derivative’s chances of obtaining or renewing an F-1 visa depends largely on timing.

If the derivative has not yet filed Form DS-260 as part of EB-5 consular processing, then they have not yet expressed immigrant intent and there is a chance they will be successful in their application for an F-1 visa. However, it may be necessary for the derivative to include mention of the primary EB-5 investor’s approved I-526 petition and the possibility of future immigration.

If, on the other hand, the derivative has already filed for an EB-5 visa, this indicates immigrant intent and could potentially result in denial of an F-1 visa.

F-1 Visa

An essential component of the F-1 visa is that it requires the applicant to provide sufficient evidence of their intention to depart upon completion of studies and expiration of their F-1 visa. As a nonimmigrant visa that does not carry dual intent, the F-1 visa serves only as a temporary authorization for international students to complete academic studies in the United States.

Any prospective applicant of the F-1 visa would need to append documentation to their application that indicates permanent ties to their home country, such as the existence of family and relatives, a position of employment that will be resumed upon their return, or a permanent home residence or property. Failure to satisfy the nonimmigrant intent requirement could result in rejection of the derivative’s application.

If the derivative is applying for a renewal, they must follow the same process as when they first applied. This entails filing Form DS-160 and attending an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate office in their home country.

Because timing plays a critical role in this situation, any EB-5 derivative seeking an F-1 visa whose family member has already received approval of Form I-526 is best served consulting an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on how to best proceed.