Is Form I-130 used within the EB-5 process?

No, Form I-130 is generally not used in the EB-5 process. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, should be filed by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to request immigrant status for family members who are currently living abroad. The petition is used to establish that a legitimate familial relationship exists between the U.S. citizen or permanent resident (the sponsor) and their family member who is seeking a green card (the beneficiary).

Upon approval Form I-526, the first step in the EB-5 process, the EB5 investor receives conditional permanent residency. This conditional green card is also granted by extension to their spouse and any dependents, specifically unmarried children under the age of 21. As a result, filing Form-130 is unnecessary.

However, after being granted permanent resident status, the EB5 investor may wish to help other eligible family members (apart from their immediate family) achieve immigrant status. In this case, filing Form I-130 may be a viable option. Like most of the forms required to be filed as part of the EB-5 process, Form I-130 will be adjudicated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on the application’s supporting documents and proof that a valid relationship exists between the sponsor and the beneficiary.

Participants in the EB-5 program should note that only U.S. citizens are permitted to sponsor parents and siblings, in addition to their spouse and children. Permanent residents are permitted to sponsor only their spouse and unmarried children. Even when a legal familial relationship exists, there are eligibility exclusions that could prevent the filing of Form I-130. Such exclusions include grandparents, grandchildren, stepparents, stepchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins. EB-5 investors who successfully become permanent residents or U.S. citizens should take note of these exclusions and their corresponding exceptions before filing Form I-130.