What happens to an investment if USCIS denies the EB-5 investor’s I-526 petition?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that all invested EB-5 funds remain at risk until the end of the investor’s conditional permanent residence period. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the investor’s I-526 petition will be approved or that they will ultimately receive their permanent resident status through the EB-5 program. Further, the investor is not always guaranteed to get back their invested funds if their I-526 petition is denied. In light of the risk associated with EB-5 investment projects, investors should carry out careful research on the projects and regional centers that will be in charge of their investments.

If the investor’s I-526 petition is denied, they may or may not get back their investment. In the case of direct investments, the investor will likely be unable to recuperate their investment; much, if not all, of the invested funds will have been spent by the time the I-526 petition is evaluated by USCIS.

In contrast, the investor may be able to get back the invested funds if the project in question is sponsored by a regional center. Depending on the subscription agreement made between the investor and the regional center, the regional center may offer to pay back the investment if the investor’s Form I-526 is denied. Typically, the regional center would only refund the invested amount, not the administrative fees (such as attorney’s fees and filing fees). EB-5 Affiliate Network, however, does include these administrative fees in the refund guarantee for certain projects.

Investors should keep in mind that they will likely be unable to receive such a refund if USCIS designates them as inadmissible. They could be rendered inadmissible due to a variety of medical issues or criminal convictions. In most cases, investors will be unable to recuperate their funds if their I-829 petition is denied, though some exceptions can occur.