If an EB-5 investor predicts that their nonimmigrant visa will expire before their I-526 petition can be adjudicated, there are only a few recourses available to them. One option for EB-5 investors is to seek an extension of their current nonimmigrant visa. This can be done by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The petition, must be filed before the investor’s authorized stay expires, would then be sent to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for assessment.
Another option for EB-5 investors is to apply for a different nonimmigrant status. If an EB-5 investor wishes to work during their stay in the United States, there are nonimmigrant visas that grant temporary employment authorization. The H-1B visa, for instance, can be granted to individuals who work in a specialty occupation. Eligibility for this visa requires a higher education degree or its equivalent. The H-2B visa, on the other hand, allows US employers to hire foreign workers for temporary non-agricultural work. The H-2B petitioner must provide a valid temporary labor certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The last option would be for an EB-5 investor to leave the United States, return to their home country, and apply for consular processing. This can be done by filing Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. As part of the application process, the EB-5 investor will be required to attend an interview held at their home country’s U.S. embassy or consulate office.
Once an I-526 petition has been filed and submitted to USCIS for adjudication, there is no way to expedite the process. Generally, Form I-526 takes around two years for USCIS to process and assess, though this approximation could be even longer, depending on the particular EB-5 investor and their unique application. Thus, EB-5 investors who wish to reside in the United States during their I-526 petition processing should plan ahead accordingly.