** LEGAL UPDATE **
Investors who will apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa to enter the United States now must scan all documentation supporting their visa application and send it to the National Visa Center (NVC) by email, according to the Department of State. Sending the documentation by postal mail is no longer an option.
For the past five years, the NVC has required the application form, DS-260, to be submitted online, but applicants in many cases needed to follow up by sending supporting documents by mail. The new rule, effective June 2018, eliminates all paper processing of immigrant visa applications for applicants in the EB-5 category.
To make the new process work, the NVC must have an email address for all EB-5 visa applicants. The NVC will typically use the email address provided at the I-526 petition phase. Contact the NVC immediately if no email address was provided or the email address has changed since the I-526 was submitted.
The NVC requires all scanned documents to be in PDF (portable document format). You should create a separate PDF for each document—do not combine documents in one PDF file. Make sure you are scanning both sides of any document that has information on both sides.
When naming the PDF file, the NVC wants you to use your NVC case number, your (the applicant’s) full name, and the document name. For example, the birth certificate of EB-5 visa applicant Yu Qi, whose NVC case number is GUZ2018123456, should be scanned and named GUZ2018123456_Yu_Qi_Birth_Certificate.pdf.
No PDF file can exceed 5 MB (megabytes) in size. If your document when scanned cannot fit into a file that is 5MB or less, you will need to reduce the size of the pdf (if you have the software to do so) or split the document into separate files of 5MB or less.
Do not put any password protection on the files you create.
When you have all documents scanned as PDF files, attach them to an email addressed to NVCAttorney@state.gov. This address is typically used by attorneys only, but it is the correct address for sending EB-5 visa application documents and asking NVC anything about your EB-5 case, whether you are an attorney or not.
It is important to enter your case number in the subject line of the email so that the NVC knows which case the documents belong to. If you have documents pertaining to more than one NVC case number, use a different email message for each.
If you have numerous documents to attach, be aware of the size limitations of email programs. You may need to send multiple emails if the total combined size of your attachments approaches 20MB.
Upon receiving the scanned documents, the NVC will determine whether the visa applicant has provided all the required documentation, and if so, will schedule a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate overseas.
Effective Date: June 1, 2018