How might an illegal stay in another country affect an EB-5 petition?

An unlawful presence in a foreign country has no direct effect on an applicant’s eligibility for an EB-5 visa. However, the issue may come up during the applicant’s visa interview. In such an event, it would be in the applicant’s best interest to provide the information requested of them as accurately as possible. Any misrepresentation can result in the denial of the applicant’s visa petition.

The applicant interview is one of the final steps in the visa immigration process and the actual interview process—including required documentation—can vary depending on the applicant’s home country. It would be in any EB-5 visa applicant’s best interest to obtain the services of an immigration attorney who can guide them through the process.

Any prospective EB-5 visa investor who is currently residing illegally in a foreign country would need to return to their home nation to begin the visa process. Potential investors already residing in the United States (such as those holding H-1B or F-1 visas) have an advantage. With the passing of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act in March 2022, EB-5 investors who already reside in the United States can file Form I-526 and I-829 concurrently, cutting down significantly on historically long wait times. Foreign investors living outside of the United States must file Form DS-260 through the National Visa Center prior to submitting form I-526.

After an applicant has completed their visa interview, they will be informed whether their application has been denied or approved. If approved, they will be informed of when and how their passport and visa will be returned to them, and they have until the date of expiration printed on the visa to arrive in the United States. A visa is usually good for six months from the date of issuance or until the date the medical examination expires, whichever comes first. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they have made their travel arrangements within that timeframe.

Applicants should not make any permanent financial commitments—selling their home or other property or resigning from their job, for example—until they have received their immigrant visa.