Like any other foreign national or nonimmigrant visa holder, a C-1/D visa holder may participate in the EB-5 program by first filing Form I-526. However, while the prospective EB-5 investor’s I-526 petition is pending, because the C-1/D visa does not afford them any sort of legal immigration status, they may find it difficult to remain in the United States, depending on the duration and expiration of their C-1/D visa.
Due to the nature of their visa, C-1/D visa holders are barred from adjusting status to conditional permanent resident. Therefore, after being granted approval of Form I-526, the C-1/D visa holder will likely need to return to their home country and undergo consular processing.
Furthermore, because the C-1/D visa does not grant full work authorization, the visa holder will not be permitted to manage a business, which means making a direct EB-5 investment is not possible. However, making an indirect investment through an EB-5 approved regional center would be a possibility.
The C-1/D visa is issued primarily to foreign nationals seeking to work in the United States temporarily as a crew member on board a commercial sea vessel or international airline. Some positions that would qualify for a C-1/D visa include the following: flight attendant, captain, musician, ship and service personnel, cosmetician, pilot, technician, entertainer, and any other worker aboard a ship or aircraft.
To qualify for a C-1/D visa, the applicant must prove that they will be temporarily employed as a crew member on board; they should be able to provide a letter of verification from their employer confirming their name included on a list of crew; and they must provide evidence that they intend to leave the U.S. and return home after a maximum of 29 days.
By investing through an EB-5 regional center, the EB-5 investor will be afforded a number of benefits. The regional center will facilitate the process by providing a selection of policy-compliant EB-5 projects for the investor to choose from. The regional center will also file Form I-526 for the EB5 investor, ensuring the petition adheres to all requirements outlined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). When it is time to file Form I-829, the regional center will provide the necessary supporting documentation.