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EB-5 Investor Visa: Immigrant Investor Program
EB5 Visa Program Introduction
What is the EB-5 Investor Program?
The EB-5 Visa / EB5 green card allows investors to obtain immigrant visas which can lead to permanent residence and citizenship in the United States. The EB-5 Visa and investment green card program is an excellent option for anyone who wishes to gain permanent residence in the US. It also may be the only way residents of non-treaty countries who cannot obtain E-2 or E-1 visas can immigrate to the United States through investment. Call (619) 677-5727 and get the best immigration attorney evaluation from a high-level business immigration attorney.
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What is an EB-5 Visa?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 203 (b)(5) and United States Code (USC) Section 1153 (b)(5) defines the EB-5 visa. It is also regulated by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 204.6, copied in full for you here.
Applications begin with Form I-526: Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. EB-5 investors file this form after making qualifying investments to obtain conditional EB5 green cards. Form I-526 passes through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the department that grants permanent residency and citizenship to participating immigrant investors. Your choice of immigration lawyer will help you interpret the regulations and laws detailed here, ensuring that you adhere to all guidelines.
How can I get an EB-5 Visa?
To obtain an EB-5 Visa, which serves as a conditional green card and can lead to citizenship, you must invest $500,000 to one million dollars in capital in the US, while creating at least 10 jobs for American workers, each at 30 hours a week, for two years. Capital indicates tangible investment elements, such as property, equipment, cash, cash equivalents, and inventory. However, startup costs don’t count towards your total investment, and cannot help you qualify for an EB5 green card.
In some circumstances, your investment must create all 10 jobs, but you can also invest in a pre-existing regional center. A regional center is any for-profit enterprise that has gained regional center status, in order to attract EB-5 immigrant investors. Regional centers are described in detail here. Jobs created indirectly through the regional center project in which you make your EB-5 investment will count towards your quota.
Keep in mind that regardless of whether you invest in your own business or a regional center, your investment cannot be guaranteed by the US government or any other entity.
To receive an EB5 green card with a $500,000 investment, you must invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is an area with an unemployment rate of 150 percent of America’s average, meaning the unemployment rate is one and a half times the current national average. Rural areas with a population of less than 20,000 are also TEAs.
Once you have made your investment, you may apply and qualify to participate in the EB5 visa program. Technically, you can petition for an EB5 green card while you are in the process of completing your full investment, but your immigration lawyer will advise you to apply after investing the total required amount, to increase your odds of an approved EB-5 visa petition.
What Happens After a Petition is Accepted for an EB-5 Visa?
Once your petition has been accepted, you will receive a conditional green card. The only difference between a conditional green card and a permanent green card is that after you have fulfilled the terms of the EB5 visa program for 21-24 months, you must apply to have the conditions removed to become a permanent resident. The countdown begins immediately after you obtain conditional permanent residence (CPR) status. For example, if you become a CPR in January of 2013, you must apply for the removal of conditions between October 2014 and January 2015.
In some circumstances, after you have completed EB-5 program requirements and obtained your non-conditional EB-5 visa, you may sell your investment. Selling your EB-5 interests is a complex matter, and it is recommended that you consult your immigration attorney to determine what is permissible.
How Many EB-5 Visas are Issued Each Year?
The USCIS authorizes a maximum of 10,000 EB-5 each year. 3,000 of these visas are for those who make their EB-5 investments in regional centers, through the regional centers Pilot Program. They also reserve 3,000 EB5 green cards for those who invest in targeted employment areas (TEAs).
Applying for an EB-5 investor visa is a complex process. USCIS frequently amends EB5 visa requirements, making this field impossible to navigate without professional guidance. This website serves to familiarize potential EB-5 investors with the field, not as a legal guide for applying successfully. To ensure acceptance of your EB5 visa petition and eventual attainment of a non-conditional EB5 green card, hire your choice of an immigration attorney with an extensive EB-5 visa experience.