In our last blog, we discussed the types of documents and information EB-5 applicants must prepare prior to completing their U.S. Consulate interview. This included an applicant having satisfactory knowledge of the contents of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor application, their I-526 petition, and knowledge the EB-5 project itself (e.g. the investment amount, what type of EB-5 project is being funded and where, and so on).
However, pre-interview preparation is only half the battle—you and your family must still be interviewed by a U.S. Consular officer! As mentioned in the previous blog, the actual process at the U.S. Consulate mainly centers on document submission, fingerprinting, and paying any outstanding visa fees, and finally being interviewed. In total, your visit to the U.S. Consulate can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. The interview itself is relatively quick and generally finished in about 10 minutes.
While the interview time is short, it can still determine whether or not immigration visas are issued. Below we will provide information about what to expect during your EB-5 U.S. Consulate interview, such as the variety of questions that an applicant and his or her family members might be asked. In addition, we will also discuss different types of situations and outcomes that might arise regarding the U.S. Consulate interview.
The EB-5 U.S. Consulate Interview Process: What Type of Questions Will I Be Asked?
Long story short, the purpose of the U.S. Consulate interview (immigrant visa interview) is to decide if the applicant and any dependent family members are eligible for immigrant visa issuance. The interview will consist of file assessment and questions to determine admissibility to the United States of America. While the purpose of the interview is not to "re-adjudicate" your approved I-526 petition, the Consular officer may ask general questions about the EB-5 investment, e.g. how much did the applicant invest, what is the name of the project and where is it located, and how the petitioner obtained the funds to invest in the EB-5 project. As long as the applicant answers are truthful and consistent with what is already in the I-526 petition file and he or she is otherwise admissible to the U.S., the immigrant visa will be granted
Generally, interviews conducted by a U.S. Consulate officer are brief—remember that your application and documents have already been reviewed by USCIS, NVP, and U.S. Consulate! Applicants should be prepared to answer questions regarding their eligibility for receiving an immigration visa, immigration intent, the details of their EB-5 project and investment information, plans for working in the U.S. as well as personal information (i.e. marital status). Applicants must also be prepared to answer questions regarding their immigration, employment, medical, and criminal histories similar to the questions asked on the visa application. In some situations, an applicant may be asked to show evidence of his or her EB-5 investment funds transfer.
As previously mentioned, it’s important that the primary applicant is familiar with his or her application and information submitted to the U.S. Consulate. While Consular officers try to complete the interview in a timely manner, discrepancies between records and an interviewee’s answers could cause a delay, or even denial, in issuing a visa.
It is also important to note that failure to appear on the scheduled date and time your U.S. Consulate interview can result in termination of your case and cancellation of visa petitions filed. Any visa fees paid to the NVC or U.S. Consulate are not refunded if an applicant’s file and/or visa petition is terminated.
Finally, it’s worth to remember that each U.S. Consulate and its officers may ask different questions. Nevertheless, the applicant should be well ready to answer the essential questions as stated above. If the visa is granted, the applicant must enter the U.S. prior to its expiration (typically 6 months from the date of issuance), after which USCIS will mail a temporary U.S. Green Card to the investor and qualifying family members.
The process of qualifying, applying, and interviewing can be stressful and difficult. Furthermore, there are a limited number of EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visas available each year. If there are any mistakes on the EB-5 application, or if any of the documents are not in order, the EB-5 application will be denied. Preparation is key to success, so it is important to have a strong immigration firm by your side that can guide you through the visa application process.
For more information about the U.S. EB-5 Immigrant investor program, please click here.
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