Recently several clients asked me very similar questions. They wanted to know how their EB-5 application would impact their current immigration status. This is an insightful concern because it recognizes that everything in immigration is interrelated! As we pointed out recently, everything you put in visa applications and say to Consular and Customs Officers becomes part of your permanent record and can be a factor in future applications. For this reason, before you make any decisions on your immigration status, you should consult with your immigration attorney. Here, I'll briefly try to answer this question for EB-5 applicants who hold H-1, F-1, OPT or Multi-Entry visas.
If you are currently holding an H-1 visa, an EB-5 application will not impact your current status or the status of your immediate family living with you in the United States and holding an H-4. In every case, it is very important that you remain in valid immigration status until you can file for your Green Card.
Your existing F-1 and OPT (Optional Practical Training) will generally not be impacted by your EB-5 application. However, if you are required to file for a new F-1 in your home country, our experience is that it is possible that the Consular Officer will believe that, since you are applying for EB-5, you have immigrant intent and will deny your new F-1. This is something to discuss in detail with your immigration attorney.
It was a great move for the Obama administration to work to put in place the ten-year multi-entry visa. As I have discussed in the past, this is no substitute for EB-5, although it certainly makes the delay in the EB-5 process more palatable. If your ten year multi-entry visa is in place, then it should not be impacted by the filing of your EB-5. As with an F-1, you will want this visa in place before you file your I-526 EB-5 application to avoid the appearance that you have immigrant intent.
Remember, if you are ever asked by a Consular or Customs Officer if you have filed any immigration application, always— always—tell the truth. Even if your failure to respond correctly is not intentional, it can be construed against you and adversely affect your immigration options. If you have any related questions, please feel free to contact us online. Our experienced attorney team would be more than happy to assist you in your immigration matters.