F1 to EB-5: How to Change from F1 Visa to an EB-5 VisaThe process of changing an F-1 Visa to an EB-5 Visa allows a F-1 student to obtain a green card and permanent residence in the US. The F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that grants foreign students temporary entry to the US. The EB-5 Visa is an immigrant visa that allows foreign investors to live and work in the US. Changing the F-1 Visa to the EB-5 Visa permits the applicant to stay in the US even after graduation. Having an EB-5 Visa from F-1 Visa allows the applicant to work and reside anywhere in the US.

The F-1 Visa to EB-5 Visa process begins with the Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor (I-526). You need to have the required amount of investment capital for a US-based business to be eligible for the program.

What is F1 Visa?

The F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows an academic student to study full-time for a set period at an accredited school, college, seminary, or conservatory in the United States. The F-1 Visa requires the applicant to enroll in a program or course that results in a certificate, diploma, or degree. The educational establishment of the F-1 Visa applicant must be approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP).

F-1 Visa students are allowed to work, with certain limitations as to the location and type of work. The student’s spouse and children are allowed to live in the US but will not be allowed to work. The student’s children are able to enroll in schools in the US.

What is EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 Visa is an immigrant visa that allows foreign investors to obtain a green card after achieving conditional permanent residence status. The EB-5 Visa investor then applies for unconditional permanent resident status and, eventually, citizenship in the United States.

The EB-5 Visa applicant must make an investment in the U.S. that would lead to at least 10 full-time jobs for American citizens. This investment can be direct or through a regional center. The spouse and children of the investor are eligible to apply for the EB-5 Visa.

How to Apply From F1 to EB-5 Visa?

The F-1 Visa to EB-5 Visa Program is a pathway for foreign students to obtain a green card. The limitations in residence and work are not applied to an EB-5 Visa as opposed to the F-1 Visa. Transitioning from the F-1 Visa to EB-5 Visa allows the student to remain in the U.S. even after finishing his/her studies.

The application process for an EB-5 Visa from F-1 Visa and EB-5 Visa to a green card is as follows.

  1. Consult your immigration lawyer and an investment adviser.
  2. File Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  3. File Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with the USCIS for a conditional green card. This is valid for 2 years.
  4. File Form I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status with the USCIS for an unconditional green card. This is filed after 21 months as a conditional green card holder.
  5. Apply for citizenship after 5 years of permanent residency in the U.S.

What are the Requirements for an EB-5 Visa From F1?

To apply for an EB-5 Visa from F-1 Visa, Form I-526 is filed with the USCIS. The first requirement is a minimum investment of $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) project. For a project in non-TEA, $1.05 million is the required investment amount. The investment fund must be proven to have come from a legal source. The second requirement is that the investment should create at least 10 full-time jobs for Americans. You are eligible to apply for an EB-5 Visa from an F1 Visa if these requirements are met.

How Long Does It Take to Get an EB-5 Visa?

Upon filing I-526, USCIS will determine whether the applicant and his/her investment are qualified for EB-5 status from F-1 status. On average, the USCIS approval of I-526 is between 29.5-61 months.

Important Note: As a F-1 Student living in the United States, you can concurrently file the EB-5 application I-526 and I-485 Adjustment of Status. This concurrent filing of I-526 and I-485 will get the student a Travel Document within 2 to 12 months depending on the USCIS Service Center Processing Time.

Form I-485 Adjustment of Status processing time to register as a permanent resident takes 7-29 months depending on the service center. Consular processing for applicants living overseas will take 6-12 months.

What are the Benefits of EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 Visa benefits the United States and the foreign investor. The EB-5 Visa Program strengthens the U.S. economy and creates jobs for Americans. The Advantages of an EB-5 Visa from an F-1 Visa cover the investor, his/her spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21.

The top 3 benefits of applying for an EB-5 Visa from an F-1 Visa are as follows.

  1. Allows you to legally stay in the U.S.
  2. Provides you a faster way to green card and permanent residence
  3. Enables you to live and work anywhere in the U.S.

How Much Does an EB-5 Visa Cost?

The cost of an EB-5 Visa from an F-1 Visa includes the investment capital needed to put up a business in the US and the expenses associated with processing your green card. The investment capital is between $800,000 to $1.05 million. Form I-526 application is $3,675. Form I-485 for a conditional green card is $1,140. Form I-829 for permanent residency is $3,750.

The tax on the investment fund, relocation costs, and the fee for the immigration attorney are all included in the F-1 Visa to EB-5 Visa Cost.

Can an Immigration Lawyer Help You with the F1 to EB-5 Visa?

Yes, an immigration lawyer will be able to advise you if the F-1 Visa to EB-5 Visa is the best choice for you. Your immigration attorney will help determine if the F-1 Visa to EB-5 Visa Program is suitable for your immigration goals and circumstances. Your immigration lawyer will discuss with you the requirements that need to be met to qualify for EB-5 Visa from F-1 Visa. Your Immigration Lawyer (Attorney) will then guide you as you go through the whole immigration process to obtain a green card.

Can You Apply for an EB-5 Visa From an F1 Visa?

Yes, as long as you meet the requirements, you can apply for the EB-5 Visa from an F-1 Visa. You must have a legal source of funds to invest a minimum capital in a Commercial Enterprise in the U.S. This business should generate at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified Americans.