What is an EB5 Visa?
An EB5 visa is an employment-based visa (EB) that allows an investor and the investor’s family to get green cards through a qualifying investment in the United States. It is also known as the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program.
To get an EB5 visa, you must invest in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create a minimum of ten jobs. EB5 investors can choose between investing through an authorized regional center or a direct investment.
The general requirements for an EB5 green card are:
- Investing the required minimum amount in a business in the United States:
- EB5 Direct $1.8 million USD or
- EB5 Regional Center $900,000 USD
- The investment funds must come to the United States from abroad
- Prove to the U.S. government that the source of funds is legitimate and show the complete trace of the funds from its original source to the United States
- Create ten jobs in the United States
You must also be admissible to the United States. This means you do not have any disqualifying criminal convictions or illness that prevents you from being admitted into the U.S. as an immigrant.
What is an EB5 Regional Center?
EB5 Regional Centers are legal entities, organizations, or municipal or state agencies approved by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) that allow foreign investors to qualify for a green card through investment. Regional Centers provide investors with a portfolio of EB5 projects in specific areas throughout the United States defined by the law as targeted employment areas. Targeted employment areas are areas that the government has designated to promote economic growth through new jobs, economic activity, export sales, and development.
An EB5 Regional Center project allows you to qualify for a green card without having to start your own business and be responsible for creating ten jobs. If you invest through a regional center, you can live anywhere in the United States, engage in any other activity, work, or retire.
What is the EB5 Regional Center investment amount?
As of November 2019, the minimum investment in an EB5 Regional Center project is USD $900,000 (nine hundred thousand dollars). This amount is invested directly with the EB5 regional center project of your choice. Regional Centers also charge additional administrative fees.
How do I choose an EB5 Regional Center Project?
There are hundreds of approved Regional Centers throughout the United States. Choosing the right one can be a daunting task. If you are looking for a Regional Center project to invest, you should conduct indeendent due diligence prior to making the investment. Investors must understand how the Regional Center of their choice works. After all, investments are at risk. Due diligence ensures that the Regional Center project will create new jobs in the targeted areas and is less of a financial risk.
How to start the EB5 Application Process with a Regional Center?
If you are interested in an EB5 green card, our attorneys can handle your case from beginning to end. Many clients come to us wanting to invest in an EB5 Regional Center project but do not know where to start. We start by assisting individual foreign investors with evaluating and reviewing EB5 project documents to assess EB5 compliance and eligibility.
Steps to the application process:
- Secure the USD $900,000 investment money in a bank in the U.S.
- Secure the regional center administrative fees
- Prepare the Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, Form I-526
- Submit the form to USCIS with government fees and supporting evidence that qualifies the investor for the EB5 green card
We assist with the preparation of all the supporting evidence that accompanies the application to USCIS. The supporting evidence must include proof that the investment funds were legally obtained and ensuring that the Regional Center project documents comply with the applicable immigration laws. Once the application is submitted, the processing times can be 24 months. If approved, USCIS will send the approved case to the National Visa Center for consular processing at the US Embassy or Consulate abroad.
What is the EB5 Direct investment project?
An EB5 direct is an investment in a business in the United States of your choice. The investor is an integral part of the business and creates a minimum of ten jobs.
What is the EB5 Direct investment amount?
As of November 2019, EB5 direct investments must be at least USD $1.8 million. The business can be located anywhere in the United States.
How do I start the EB5 Direct Application Process?
The process for the EB5 direct investment is different than the Regional Center process. In an EB5 direct, the investor must present a business plan for the business in the United States. Also, the investor must prove that he or she can manage the investment and propose the creation of ten full-time jobs.
The United States issues only 10,000 EB5 visas each year. Therefore, processing times for Form I-526 petition can have a backlog. Therefore, processing times may take months or years to complete depending on the backlog. The time depends on the number of pending applications with USCIS. Many investors choose to wait for the decision in their home country. The investor may remain in the United States under any other legal status.
If you live abroad, you proceed with the immigrant visa application process at the US Embassy or Consulate abroad once your Form I-526 petition is approved. The immigrant visa process abroad is called a consular process. The consular process requires you and your family to appear at the Consular Office or Embassy abroad for an interview. Once the interviewing officer reviews your documents, you and your family members get an immigrant visa on your passport. The visa lets you and your family come to the U.S. as green card holders.
If you have another legal status in the United States, you can apply for adjustment of status with USCIS in your area. USCIS will schedule you and your family members for an interview to review the application and documentation. The change from your previous status to a green card is called adjustment of status.
Once the Form I-526 is approved, you get a 2-year conditional green card. The condition being that after two, years the investment is maintained and continues to employ ten employees. You must apply to remove the conditions of your EB5 Green card before it expires.
During the final 90 days of the 2-year conditional period, you must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, and submit the applicable government fees. We will present proof that you maintained the investment and that the EB5 investment created at least ten jobs.
After your application to remove conditions is approved, you receive a permanent Green Card that expires in 10-years. Once you complete 5 years of legal permanent residency in the United States, you will qualify for U.S. citizenship. To learn how to apply for U.S. citizenship click here
How Terra Immigration Partners helps?
Our immigration attorneys have the experience and the dedication necessary to help you get an EB5 green card. We understand the complex immigration system and we work closely with our clients to get the right result.
Let’s talk about your case. Call or email us today and speak to an immigration lawyer.