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Up to the submission of I-526 immigrant petition

What is the I-526 petition? It is an immigrant petition submitted by Investor to USCIS evidencing that the all requirements of I-526 are met, specifically that 1) the investment fund has been lawfully obtained; 2) Conditions set forth in the designated Regional Center have been complied with; and 3) the particular EB-5 project should create the minimum number of jobs required either directly or indirectly.

The EB-5 investor (the "Investor"), the U.S. immigration attorney (the "Attorney") and the Regional Center Program (the "Program") selected by the Investor must all work together as a team to submit a well-prepared I-526 immigrant petition, which is the first step to get your EB-5 case rolling.

1. Investor must select a suitable Attorney and then select the Regional Center, or vice-versa, by reviewing various documents related to both the Regional Center Program and its EB-5 project, and perhaps by even making a due diligence trip to check out the EB-5 project.

2. Thereafter, appropriate Retainer Agreement (with the Attorney) and Subscription Agreement (with the Promoter of the Program) must be signed by Investor.

3. Attorney and Investor must discuss in detail the facts regarding Investor's situation, potential ineligibilities and goals, and then agree on a formulated course of action.

4. Attorney and Investor will discuss how the lawful source can be established for the specific EB-5 case; and Attorney will provide a list of documents that need to be provided by the Investor to begin the preparation of the I-526 immigrant petition.

5. Investor should also ascertain, with the help of Attorney, how the selected EB-5 project is likely to meet the expectations of Investor, including the green card and the return of the requisite investment fund and generate profit.

6. Filing fee for I-526 petition ($1,435 as of Jan. 30, 2009) in the form of a cashier's check should be prepared, as well as I-526 form and extensive documents concerning EB-5 Program and EB-5 project, as well as Investor's documents proving the lawful source requirements.

7. A copy of the above-described I-526 petition packet should be made for the case file, and the original should be sent to the California Service Center at the below address.

II. Filing Location Change

Beginning on January 26, 2009, Forms I-526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5- related only), and regional center proposals under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program must by filed at the following address:

For Direct Mail:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
ATTN: EB-5 Processing Unit
P.O. Box 10526
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0526.

For non-United States Postal Service (USPS) deliveries (e.g. private couriers):

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
ATTN: EB-5 Processing Unit
24000 Avila Road, Room, 2nd Floor
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677.

For a 30-day period, until February 9, 2009, Forms I-526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5-related only) received by the TSC will be considered properly filed, assuming all other filing requirements have been met. The TSC will transfer such forms to the CSC for adjudication. Likewise, for a 30-day period, until February 9, 2009, Immigrant Investor Pilot Program regional center proposals received by USCIS Headquarters will be considered properly filed. Such proposals will be transferred to the CSC for adjudication. After the 30-day transition periods, any Forms I- 526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5-related only) or regional center proposals that are received at a location other than the address specified in this Notice will be rejected and returned with directions to re-file at the appropriate address.

Any Forms I-526, I-829, and I-485 (EB-5-related only) at the TSC for which no adjudicative action has commenced as of January 26, 2009 will be forwarded to the CSC. In addition, any regional center proposals for which no adjudicative action has commenced as of January 26, 2009 will be forwarded to the CSC.

8. After I-526 is submitted to CSC, attorney of record should receive I-526 receipt notice usually within 2 weeks.

9. The I-526 receipt notice contains on the upper left corner a receipt number starting with "WAC". With this receipt number, Investor or Attorney can check the status of I-526 at USCIS Case Online Status Check System.

10. Currently, it takes around 6 months for CSC to review and adjudicate I-526 petition. Request for Additional Evidence issued by CSC Examiner may delay the decision, so it requires some patience. The processing time is supposed to decrease as CSC hired and trained additional staff to adjudicate EB-5 related petitions and applications, but it all depends on the supply of cases filed and the ability of CSC staff to adjudicate these cases.

I am attorney from Mumbai, India. Practicing Indian and USA immigration laws in India since last seven years. I have query, is it compulsory to appoint USA attorney to opt for EB-5 program?And if yes then I would like opt for the US Law degree. Which is the fasted route to obtain it. As i have many clients waiting to invest in EB-5 program.

As I said before, you don't need a U.S. licensed attorney to process an EB-5 case. If you are knowledgeable and capable, you or attorney licensed in another country can prepare documents for you. However, practically speaking, it's not that easy.

I have a question, I'm an entreprenuer and willing to invest $1 million in bay area. But I first need to go to US and form a company. What is the total time it will take so that I can at least leave the country and start business formation in united states? I want to leave as early as possible.

Thanks for awesome post

Just because your business is in california - does not mean you need a california business license. You may want to consider other states for incorporation - most people prefer delaware as their incorporation laws are the simplest and least expensive.

Once you have a business license and your articles of incorporation - you can open a bank account (fictitious name aka business name) and a plethora of other things. And don't forget to get your taxpayer electronic ID number (EIN) from the IRS (federal taxes) and from the State Franchise Tax Board (CA tax agency).

As you wish to open a company in the bay area - you may also need to beware the plethora of other taxes and hidden costs that plague california companies.

I would say several weeks to prepare and file. It takes some time for the CA agency to issue a filed copy to get the ball rolling.