What happens if a dependent child turns 21 before the I-526 petition is approved?

The EB-5 visa process grants U.S. permanent resident status to EB-5 investors and their immediate family members. Known as derivative beneficiaries, the spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 receive their U.S. green card along with the primary applicant—in this case, the EB-5 investor. This happens when Form I-526—Immigrant Petition by an Alien Investor—is adjudicated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Should an investor’s child reach the age of 21 before Form I-526 is approved, they are still eligible to receive U.S. permanent resident status under the protection of the Child Status Protection Act, so long as Form I-526 was submitted prior to the dependent turning 21.

Child Status Protection Act

Prior to the passing of the Child Status Protection Act, a major concern for EB-5 investors with minor children was that their children would “age out” of the EB-5 visa process by reaching the age of 21 before Form I-526 was adjudicated. Because so many children were “aging out,” the act was passed to allow a child’s age to “freeze” the date that Form I-526 is submitted, not adjudicated. This was also due to USCIS having long backlogs for countries with high demand for EB-5 visas.

Adjustment of Status

Once an EB-5 investor and their derivative beneficiaries receive conditional permanent resident status, they must adjust their status. If they are residing in their home country, they must consular process within a year of I-526 approval. However, if they are residing in the United States, they can file Form I-485—Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. EB-5 visa applicants who reside in the United States can also file Forms I-526 and I-485 concurrently thanks to the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. Prior to this act, EB-5 investors would have to file each form separately, which caused greater delays in the already-lengthy process.