Thousands of EB-5 visas are issued each year to high net-worth individuals. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program was established in 1990 by the U.S. Congress as a way to facilitate increased investment in U.S. based businesses. The program is operated and overseen by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Simply put, the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program is the fastest way to get your green card and gain permanent residency in the United States. The program is predicated on foreigners making an investment in a U.S. business, specifically one that would create 10 or more jobs for Americans.
To obtain permanent residency status (i.e. a Green Card) through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigrant investor must meet specific requirements.
First and foremost, a potential EB5 investor must meet the USCIS’ capital investment amount requirements. USCIS must also be satisfied that the business that will receive the investment “qualifies” for the EB5 visa program.
In general, there are four steps that an immigrant investor must complete in order to become a U.S. permanent resident through the USCIS EB5 visa program (though we suggest you start by interviewing and retaining an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney).
Once these steps have been completed, the EB5 investor, his or her spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 will be eligible to become permanent residents of the United States.
U.S. permanent residency is an immigration status that gives immigrants the right to permanently live and work in the United States. Foreign immigrants who have obtained lawful permanent residency are given a permanent resident card, colloquially known as a Green Card.
An immigrant investor hoping to obtain his or her green card though the EB5 visa program must first choose an EB5 project and then make the required capital investment. That path to a green card and potentially to US citizenship begins with the filing of Form I-526, the Immigration Petition for Alien Entrepreneur. That petition must be submitted with accompanying evidence in support of the USCIS EB5 program’s requirements.
Each EB-5 visa applicant has two investment options, namely a direct investment or an investment through an EB-5 Regional Center.
Direct investment means that the EB-5 visa applicant must find his own investment project and must take a direct managerial role in the project’s oversight. While the ultimate goal of an EB-5 investor is to obtain a green card, direct investment tends to be better suited for those who want more hands-on control of their investment and for those who want to earn a higher rate of return on their investment.
According to USCIS, the EB-5 investment must either create or preserve a minimum of ten (10) full-time jobs for workers in the United States. The creation or preservation of jobs must occur within two (2) years of the investor’s conditional permanent residency and entrance into the United States. Jobs created in EB-5 projects are defined as direct, indirect or induced.
EB-5 visa applicants must follow three general steps in order to obtain permanent residency in the United States: