This is another in a continuing series of posts I’m writing to describe some of the Alcorn Immigration Law team’s client success stories.* To maintain confidentiality, the name of the client has been changed, and details may have been slightly altered.
Wei arrived in the U.S. on a student visa roughly three years ago to study English in California. After he arrived, he realized his goal is to be an entrepreneur in the United States.
Given the current climate at U.S. ports of entry, Wei and his parents back in China worried that he would be unable to return to school if he traveled outside the country during the breaks. That coupled with his desire to find a way to eventually work here, Wei contacted Alcorn Immigration Law to find a more permanent immigration option
Determining a Path
Few visa options exist for international students who wish to remain in the U.S. after graduation—let alone for those who have not yet graduated. However, Wei’s parents had the means to invest money in the U.S. So, we recommended Wei apply for an EB-5 green card through a Regional Center. Wei decided that waiting several years for an EB-5—which is the wait time Chinese nationals face—was worth it.
A foreign national can get an EB-5 green card by investing $1 million in a regional center that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. A foreign national only needs to invest $500,000 if the regional center is located in a high unemployment or rural area. A regional center is a business—often a real-estate project—approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While USCIS maintains a list of approved regional centers, it neither guarantees nor endorses the investment.
Since 2015, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been included in the federal budget. Because of that, Congress has reauthorized the program along with the budget on a short-term basis. The EB-5 program will expire on Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, unless Congress reauthorizes it again.
The Alcorn Method
The Alcorn Immigration Law team knew Wei faced a long wait for an EB-5 green card. So, we moved quickly to get his petition approved so he could get in line for an immigrant visa number. Each year, a limited number of immigrant visa numbers for green cards are available. That means even if USCIS approves a visa petition, petitioners may have to wait sometimes several years for a number.
Although USCIS typically takes 20 to 26 months to process EB-5 petitions, Wei’s petition received approval in just 16 months. Now, he waits for his priority date—the date USCIS approves a petition—to become current in the monthly Visa Bulletin, A current priority date will enable Wei to apply to adjust status to become a permanent resident.
The EB-5 is a great option for some international students to live and work legally in the U.S. following graduation. The wait times for China and Vietnam are getting long. But if you are from any other country, currently there is no backlog.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team supports immigration for innovation by assisting highly-motivated investors, founders, talent, students, and families obtain visas, green cards, and citizenship. Contact us if we can help you, an employee or a loved one. We can help whether an individual is inside or outside of the U.S.
* Our success in a case does not predict nor guarantee the outcome in your legal matter. The result portrayed above was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts.