If the principal I-526 applicant is living in the United States on a different visa and plans to adjust status through Form I-485, how can dependents living abroad file for the EB-5 visa?

After the principal EB-5 investor has adjusted status, it should be possible to apply for follow-to-join benefits on behalf of any dependent family members. However, the quicker course of action may be for the principal EB-5 investor to return to their home country and undergo consular processing concurrently with any dependents. Because every case is unique, it is best to seek counsel from an experienced immigration attorney to determine the best course of action.

Adjusting Status and Follow-to-Join

After receiving approval of Form I-526, an EB-5 investor who is living in the United States with a valid nonimmigrant visa may apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485. If the investor was already residing in the U.S. with an H-1B, E-2 or F-1 visa prior to the filing of Form I-526, they may be eligible for EB-5 Concurrent Filing.

After successfully adjusting status and obtaining conditional permanent resident status, the EB-5 investor may file for follow-to-join benefits for any dependent family members who are still living overseas. The Policy Manual of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) outlines that in follow-to-join cases, the derivatives of the EB-5 investor must have a “qualifying relationship to the principal applicant [that] must have existed when the principal beneficiary obtained lawful permanent resident status and continue to exist through final adjudication of the derivative’s adjustment application for the derivative applicant to remain eligible.”

As with the EB-5 program’s regulations, children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 to qualify for follow-to-join benefits. To apply for follow-to-join benefits on behalf of any dependent family members, the EB-5 investor must file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition.

Consular Processing

Depending on the circumstances, and in the interest of facilitating the EB-5 process, it may be faster for the EB-5 investor to simply return home and undergo consular processing with any dependent family members. This would entail filing Form DS-260 and attending an interview at the local U.S. embassy or consulate office in the investor’s home country. The entirety of the process is known to take around 6-8 months.