Would an inadmissible spouse adversely affect an EB-5 investor’s I-526 petition?

One of the many benefits to the EB5 program is that the spouse and dependent — unmarried and under the age of 21 — children of the investor are eligible for an EB5 green card as well. In some cases, foreign nationals are inadmissible to the United States, meaning they are barred from obtaining immigrant status in the nation. Fortunately, an inadmissible spouse would not adversely affect an EB5 investor’s I-526 petition. Moreover, there are ways to remedy certain grounds for inadmissibility, meaning an inadmissible spouse may still be able to obtain U.S. permanent residency alongside the primary EB5 applicant.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has strict regulations regarding who is admissible to the United States and who is not. These can be due to health concerns, criminal activity, security concerns, immigration violations, and more. Certain grounds for inadmissibility bar a foreign national from United States admission for life, such as convictions or murder, terrorist activity, or human trafficking. Others may only bar an individual for a certain amount of time.

Fortunately, a waiver can be obtained for some grounds of inadmissibility. In essence, a waiver petitions the U.S. government to overlook the ground for inadmissibility and grant a U.S. green card despite it. Waivers are available for grounds of inadmissibility that include, but are not limited to: crimes of moral turpitude, prostitution, and mental disorders associated with dangerous behavior.

Even if a waiver of inadmissibility is available for an individual, this does not guarantee that they will be granted one. There are multiple U.S. immigration agencies that may make a determination of inadmissibility. These include the U.S. Department of State, Customs and Border Protection, and USCIS. These agencies can prevent admission at any point if they find a foreign national to be inadmissible. Foreign nationals who are inadmissible for any reason are strongly advised to contact an experienced immigration attorney before beginning the EB5 investment process. Competent counsel is necessary to navigate possible legal issues, gather any evidence needed to prove eligibility for a waiver, and minimize the chance of denial.