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Form I-526 Application & Instructions

Form I-526 Application & Instructions

What Is Form I-526?

Form I-526—Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur—is the application needed for a person to apply for the EB-5 visa program. The form is intended to show that you meet the program’s qualifications—that is, you have a well-structured business plan and the necessary funding.

Who Needs Form I-526?

Form I-526 is for an immigrant investor. If and when United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) approves your Form I-526 application, you will then receive an EB-5 visa, also known as the immigrant investor green card.

What Is the EB-5 Visa?

The purpose of the EB-5 program is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation. The EB-5 visa program is also meant to stimulate growth for either new or at-risk businesses. 

As an immigrant investor, you are in the United States to grow your commercial enterprise(s), which will either create new jobs or preserve existing ones. You can either invest as a sole proprietor, be in a business partnership, own a corporation, or invest in other qualifying businesses.

Additionally, the EB-5 program includes targeted employment areas (TEAs), which are areas that are most in need of economic development in the United States. 

Speak to the immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for more information about the EB-5 visa program. Submitting your Form I-526 application is the first step of your immigration journey and creating jobs in the United States. 

Form I-526 Application Requirements

To get an EB-5 green card using From I-526, you must prove to USCIS that you can meet the following requirements:

  • You have an investment of capital, such as cash, property, equipment, etc.
  • You are investing in a new commercial enterprise 
  • You have 10 qualifying employees to fill full-time positions

You must provide your business plan and detail the intricacies of each of these three qualifications when you send in your I-526 application. 

You must also have between $900,000 and $1.8 million USD to invest in the new commercial enterprise. The qualifying amount will depend on the location of the business and if it is located in a place in need of economic development. 

The money needed to invest must also be lawful capital, meaning you need to show USCIS that the investment funds were acquired through legal means. 

In addition to these three primary qualifications, you also need to be involved with your business and company. You need to fully participate in your business’s growth in order to gain and retain your EB-5 visa. 

Form I-526 Instructions

The physical Form I-526 application is a 13-page document made up of 11 parts. On this page, we will briefly review all of the application components so you have an idea of what the Form I-526 instructions are. 

Since Form I-526 is an immigration form that impacts employment and investment, it’s important to work with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure you have filled out the form correctly. We can also help you with your supporting evidence to make sure you qualify for the EB-5 visa program.

Be sure to print clearly using black ink when filling out your I-526 application—and all other immigrant forms for that matter.

Part 1

Part 1 is information about you. You will write in your:

  • Alien registration number, if applicable
  • USCIS online account number, if applicable
  • U.S. social security number, if applicable
  • Full name
  • Any additional names you have used
  • Mailing address
  • Physical address, if different from your mailing address
  • Additional physical addresses you have lived at in the last five years
  • Employment history, including the employer’s name, address, your job title, and the dates you worked there
  • Birth date
  • Sex
  • Place of birth 
  • Which country you last had residency in
  • Information about coming to the United States, including your date and place of arrival, I-94 arrival-departure record number, when your stay expires, passport number, travel document numbers, and current nonimmigrant status if you have one—if you have questions about nonimmigration status, contact your immigration attorney today 

Part 2

Part two is where you provide information about your investment. This is where you differentiate what type of location and capital investments you are making. It is particularly helpful to work on this section with an immigration lawyer because your qualifications need to be exact.

In this section, you will let USCIS know:

  • If you are investing in an approved regional center, including its name, ID number, and New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) number, if available
  • The type of petition, such as if you are investing in a:
    • Targeted employment area, plus additional information about that area
    •  Upward adjustment area
    • Non-TEA/Non-upward adjustment area

You also need to share how much money you have for your investment, including:

  • Total amount deposited/committed into a U.S. business account(s)
  • Value of assets for the NCE
  • Value of property transferred from outside the United States
  • Debt financing amount
  • Stocks and equity
  • Any other capital
  • Gross and net incomes at the time of investment
  • Current gross and net incomes 
  • Net worth both currently and at the time of investment

You will also need to provide detailed information about how you secured your capital (all sources of capital must be legal). 

Part 3

Part 3 focuses on the new commercial enterprise. You will have different qualifications and business evidence to turn in depending on when the NCE was formed—before/on or after November 29, 1990. 

Also include the:

  • Name of the NCE
  • NCE address
  • NCE telephone number
  • The type of business (LLC, partnership, etc.)
  • What the business does
  • Any industries and industry codes associated with your NCE
  • Date the NCE was formed
  • Federal employer ID number
  • Additional information about your capital investment
  • The percentage you own of the NCE

If there are multiple investors, you will also need to provide their names and their percentage of ownership. 

Part 4

One of the requirements for the EB-5 visa is creating at least 10 full-time positions. In part four, you will give information about the “job-creating entity” if it is different from the NCE.

Part 5

In part five, you will provide information about employment creation, including:

  • Your own position
  • Your duties
  • Your salary and costs for benefits in the NCE 
  • Number of employees currently and at the time of investment
  • Estimated number of employees
  • Other information regarding JCE values

Part 6

Part six is titled “Processing Information.” This is where you will tell USCIS how you plan to obtain lawful permanent residency and more information about your country of origin. You will also let USCIS know of any interaction you have previously had with the Department of Homeland Security.

Part 7

Part seven is where you provide information about your spouse and children. This part is straightforward. If you need more space, you will put your family member’s information in part 11. 

Part 8

Here, you will sign the form and review the declaration and certification made by the form.

Part 9

If you use an interpreter, you will put their information in part nine. They will need to sign the form, as well.

Part 10

Similar to part nine, in this section, you will provide the information and signature of any other preparer on the form. 

Part 11

If you need any more space, such as a section that was not filled to completion, write down the additional information in part 11 of your Form I-526.

I-526 Filing Fee

The filing fee for Form I-526 application is $3,675. You are allowed to pay for the form with a:

I-526 Approval Time

To check your Form I-526 status, you can check online with the USCIS Case Status Tracking tool. Simply enter the receipt number USCIS sends you once they receive your application, and click “check status.” 

It’s important to mention that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected I-526 approval times, much as it has other processes in the U.S. and globally. That being said, historically speaking, the I-526 processing time has increased over the past few years. 

I-526 Statistics

As stated above, the Form I-526 approval time has increased in the last several years.

Looking at USCIS historic processing times, the I-526 statistics are as follows:

  • 2012: 6.6 months
  • 2014: 12 months
  • 2016: 16 months
  • 2018: 17.9 months
  • 2020: 31.1 months
  • 2021: 32.5 months
  • 2022: 37.2 months

*A note on these I-526 statistics: These numbers are the median processing times in months. This means they reflect the amount of time it took for half (50%) of Form I-526 applications to be processed.

As you can see, the median for Form I-526 processing time has drastically increased over the years, and even more so during the ongoing pandemic. 

Working with the knowledgeable immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. will ensure that all of your Form I-526 application details are submitted in a timely manner. The faster you submit your application, the faster USCIS can process your Form I-526. 

I-526 Approval Time for the Future

Although the processing time for Form I-526 has increased over the years, there is hope for the future of I-526 applications. 

The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021 includes an assessment of fee processing in order to more efficiently process EB-5 applications. Additionally, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, was also the director of USCIS. He was the leader who developed and implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and he is supportive of the EB-5 visa program. 

Contact an Immigration Attorney

The experienced immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to help you with your Form I-526 application. We can represent and assist you through the complexities of immigration law and United States compliance standards

Additionally, if you have any questions about hiring immigrants, we are here to help with all immigration forms. With over 70 years of combined experience, we are well equipped to be with you every step of the way on your immigration journey. Call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!