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China’s accession to the Hague Apostille Convention will facilitate EB-5 visa processing

During the month of May, China adhered to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Legalization Requirement for Foreign Public Documents, also known as the Apostille Convention. All information below.

The Asian country and one of the most important for the world economy will officially join the Hague Convention on November 7 of this year, seeking to reduce the time and costs associated with the authentication of certain relevant documents for different immigration processes, including the EB-5 Immigration Program, which allows foreign investors to obtain a Green Card through an investment.

The Apostille Agreement, or Agreement of October 5, 1961, is an international treaty that facilitates the process of legalization of public documents for use in foreign countries.

With this change, you will probably have access to more simplified procedures regarding official foreign public documents from China, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal records, or degree certificates.

A public document issued in one Hague member country will now be certified for legal use in another Hague member country by having an “apostille” certificate from an official designated by the issuing country. Simplifying the certification of certain documents is expected to save more time for people, including investors seeking the EB-5 route.

Joana Fernandes, Country Manager, EB-5 BRICS, LLC, stated that “This reduces the time needed to prepare an EB-5 visa application and also allows for faster consular processing once the I-526E application is adjudicated.” .

He also assured that instead of several months, Chinese citizens will now be able to authenticate their documents in a few days.

What is expected of this change for Chinese EB-5 investors?

Abeer Husseini, a partner in Fragomen’s UAE office, stated that currently Chinese documents must go through a time-consuming, multi-step authentication process that typically takes several weeks or months to complete, so this change should mean a significant advance in terms of processing times.

“Once mainland China adopts the requirements of the treaty, Chinese documents will be subject to a one-step attestation process by issuing a single apostille certificate by a competent authority for use in the other member countries of China. The Hague, which is a much simpler and faster process”. Husseini says.

In that context, it is possible to ensure that China’s adherence to the Apostille convention will help save time in another way that may be important for EB-5 investors and their families.

And when it comes to the EB-5 Program, various experts also say the change is particularly beneficial for the funding source section of the EB-5 application.

“For EB-5 funding source purposes, an apostille document certifying an original signature from a relevant government official may help an investor if USCIS questions the authenticity or validity of any such document submitted along with the EB petition. -5”, explained Nataliya Rymer, shareholder of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Good times for Chinese EB-5 investors

Natalia Rymer also commented that it is important to note that this change is already in effect for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions.

“It is not yet clear if the process will be reciprocal for China, and China will confirm closer to the November accession date if it will also accept documents from treaty member countries,” Rymer says.

Rymer says it is also unclear whether China will adopt the electronic Apostille Program, called the “e-App Program”, which was launched in 2006 to assist in the implementation of technology under the Apostille Convention to support the electronic issuance and verification of Apostilles in everyone.

While China’s accession brings with it a more streamlined process, Husseini says it’s important to note that the Apostille Convention only applies to documents issued by public authorities, such as government agencies, courts and notaries. Documents issued by private entities, such as employers, he says, may still need additional authentication.

“People should expect temporary delays as the new process rolls out across all consulates,” Husseini says. “This includes delays in mainland China in obtaining and accepting apostilled documents at Chinese consular offices in other Hague member countries.”

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