In the era of scrutiny and increased denial rate, a thorough preparation is a key to success
In the EB5 Investment immigration category, it is rather common for investors and their families to undergo consular processing outside of the United States rather than adjusting status in the United States. Although the majority of these applicants have gone through a consular processing for different visa types, there are a few specific issues that are particularly vital for EB5 applicants to be aware of.
The majority of investor clients ultimately have similar types of inquiries regarding such consular interview preparation, and, in essence, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Be organized with your consular documents. The National Visa Center is in charge of coordinating the document preparation for the consular interview and forwarding the completed file to an appropriate US Embassy or Consulate. All copies of documents submitted to NVC must be taken to the interview, and in some instances, original documents will be required;
- Be familiar with your Regional Center’s project. No one will truly care if you know dollars and cents of each particular phase of the project but you have to have a clear understanding what the project is all about, its completion timeframe, number of investors and create jobs. Reputable and experienced regional centers usually prepare a package of documents for investor’s consular interview that contains essential project data that investor should be aware of.
- Be ready to explain your Sources of Funds. Even though your I526 petition was approved by USCIS – and source of funds was a large part of it – consular officers are routinely interested in hearing you explain the source of funds to them. It is advisable to prepare a separate set of documents summarizing the source of funds and relevant documents submitted in an I526 petition. Certain Embassies in the countries less familiar with EB5 process feel very comfortable re-verifying sources of funds already approved by USCIS and requesting much more detailed documentation than what was presented with I526. One must be very comfortable with that notion and be as prepared as possible ahead of the interview.
- Know your immigration history. In the current environment, consular officers are encouraged to exercise heavy scrutiny of all applicants, including those who have immigration history in the United States. If you studied or worked in the United States in the past, it is advisable to prepare a solid timeframe supported by copies of previously issued Approval Notices and I-94 Arrival-Departure Records. Even though in most instances consular officers will have access to your immigration file, it is advisable to secure your own documentation in case of “blind spots” in their files.
- Be mindful of your family members’ applications. As much as the consular officer will scrutinize your I-526 (or select aspects of it), your family members applications will also be subject to careful review. Therefore, the previous bullet point applies to each family member application as well. There is no carte blanche concept in US immigration laws, and each applicant must prove its eligibility for a benefit sought.
To conclude, a consular process is a natural conclusion to an immigration process with the result of immigrant visa issuance and a right of the applicant to enter the United States as an immigrant. This step has to be carefully prepared, and as with every non-immigrant and immigrant process, a strategy of success should be developed between you and your immigration attorney. Please feel free to contact our Boston-based immigration law firm if you wish to learn more about this process or you if you have questions regarding the EB5 investment immigration process.
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