Is there a limit to the number of family members who can apply for EB-5 visas as derivative beneficiaries?

There is no maximum number of family members who can apply for EB-5 visas as derivatives. However, only immediate family members are eligible as derivative beneficiaries to the principal applicant—the EB-5 investor. These would be the EB-5 investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. However, after an EB-5 investor becomes a U.S. citizen, they may sponsor other relatives for a green card, such as their siblings and parents.

Derivative Visa Applicants

A derivative visa applicant is either the spouse or child of the principal visa applicant. In the case of the EB-5 visa, the principal applicant is the investor. A child qualifies as a derivative visa applicant if he or she is unmarried and under the age of 21. It is possible for derivative visa applicants to “age out” of the process, meaning that they are older than age 21 at the time the I-526 petition is adjudicated. In this event, the child—now an adult—would need to begin their own visa process as an individual.

Child Status Protection Act

There is a way to possibly avoid an EB-5 investor’s child from “aging out” of the EB-5 visa process. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was enacted by congress in 2022. Congress recognized that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had backlogs that were causing the children of EB-5 visa applicants, as well as other visas, to age out of the immigration process. CSPA was enacted as a means to avoid that. Essentially, a minor child’s age “freezes” on the date that Form I-526 is filed. This may prevent the child from aging out of the EB-5 visa process, as long as the I-526 petition was filed before they turned 21. In addition, the child must remain unmarried in order to qualify to continue in the process.

Given the complexity of the EB-5 visa process, especially when an EB-5 investor intends to immigrate with their immediate family, it is recommended that an EB-5 applicant work with an immigration attorney.