Can a foreign national pursue the EB-5 Program and register for the Diversity visa Lottery at the same time?

Yes, a foreign national is permitted to pursue both immigration routes simultaneously. There is no prohibition against filing Form I-526 while registering for the Diversity Visa Lottery.

While the EB-5 program boasts a high success rate, the chances of acquiring a U.S. green card through the DV Lottery are much smaller. However, there is no issue with participating in both programs. Signing up for the DV Lottery will not harm any of the EB5 investor’s EB-5 petitions and likewise, filing an EB-5 petition will certainly not affect the investor’s chances of winning in the DV Lottery.

Diversity Visa Lottery

Established with the Immigration Act of 1990, the Diversity Visa Lottery exists to promote cultural and racial diversity amongst foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States. Each year, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) administers the program and allocates 50,000 U.S. green cards to be distributed to participants from countries with historically low immigration rates to the United States.

The DOS issues a list of eligible countries for the lottery, which varies annually. Historically, Canada, China, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom have consistently remained ineligible due to the high volume of immigrants from these countries. After the registration period is over, winners of the lottery are typically notified seven months after.

Apart from being a citizen of a qualifying country, the candidate must have completed a minimum of secondary school-level education and have at least two years of work experience, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor.

EB-5 Program: Escrow Accounts

Foreign nationals should be mindful that once they have begun the EB5 process and made a minimum investment, they may not be able to reclaim their investment capital. This will depend largely on the details outlined in their project’s offering documents.

Depositing their investment funds into an escrow account would provide a level of security. The nature of the escrow agreement is such that if the EB-5 investor’s petition is denied, they will be able to retrieve their funds. If their petition is approved, the investment money will be released into their chosen project.