At what point in the EB-5 process are EB-5 investors required to be physically present in the United States?

During the early stages of the EB-5 process, the EB-5 investor is not required to be physically present in the United States. The EB-5 investor will be immersed in carrying out the initial steps of the EB-5 process: gathering the appropriate amount of funds for their EB-5 investment and preparing the extensive number of required documents to file Form I-526, Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. During this time, prospective EB-5 investors are advised to retain an experienced immigration attorney or industry expert to help them navigate the complications of the EB-5 process and conduct due diligence on the various projects available for investment.

During these initial steps, the investor can remain in their home country. Contact between the investor and their attorney does not need to be conducted in person; all communication can happen via phone, email, or other such modes of contact. The immigration attorney will be able to manage the process on the investor’s behalf.

Upon receiving permanent resident status, however, either conditional or unconditional, the EB-5 investor must adhere to specific rules and regulations to maintain their residency status, which includes a mandated physical presence in the United States. So, once Form I-526 has been approved, the investor must relocate to the United States.

To maintain their permanent resident status, investors should not leave the United States for periods longer than one year. Of course, some investors are obligated to travel abroad for longer periods due to work commitments. In these cases, the investor should file for a reentry permit. This way, USCIS will be less inclined to question their intention for permanent residency in the United States. In cases in which the investor has not obtained a reentry permit and leaves the United States for longer than six months, USCIS may raise a rebuttable presumption that could compromise the investor’s residency status.