EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa & Green Card

The United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5 immigrant investor visa,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Since 1992, under a “Pilot Immigration Program,” certain EB-5 immigrant investor visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

EB-5 Investor Visa Eligibility Requirements

Qualifying for a green card through investment has some limitations:

1) All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which includes:

  • A company established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
  • A company established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
    • Purchased and the existing business that has been restructured or reorganized so that a new commercial enterprise results, or
    • Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees has occurred.

Note: Commercial enterprise includes any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.

2) Job Creation Requirements

  • New Enterprise: Must create and preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident, or
  • Regional Center Investment: Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs.

Note: Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business (an enterprise that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526.)

3) Capital Investment Requirements

  • In general, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
  • In Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area), the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $500,000.

Capital can be cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. Note: Investment capital cannot be borrowed.

When all EB-5 immigrant investor visa requirements are met and all supporting documents are in order, an investor may file Form I-526, EB-5 immigrant visa petition.

EB-5 Application Process

Upon approval of the Form I-526 petition, the EB-5 immigrant investor may either:

  1. File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS to adjust status to conditional permanent resident within the United States, or
  2. File Form DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, with the Department of State to obtain an EB-5 visa for admission to the United States.

If EB-5 investor is living outside the United States, s/he can become a conditional permanent resident through consular processing at the place of residence of the entrepreneur. Consular processing is when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, when visa number is available. The entire application process may take nine to fifteen months to complete, depending on the country of investor’s residence. Prior to submission, time is required to conduct due diligence, make the investment, prepare documentation in support of the petition, complete background checks and source all investment funds.

Within 90 days prior to the two-year anniversary of the granting of the EB-5 investor’s conditional resident status (Green Card), a conditional resident must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. If the investor has demonstrated that s/he invested and/or was actively in the process of investing the required capital, maintained the investment throughout the two-year conditional period, and created the required number of jobs, then the I-829 application should be approved. If USCIS approves this petition, the conditions are removed from the EB-5 applicant’s status and the EB-5 investor and derivative family members will be allowed to permanently live and work in the United States.

Adjustment of Status for EB-5 Investors

If EB-5 investor is living in the United States, s/he can become a conditional permanent resident through adjustment of status. Once Form I-526 is approved and a visa number is available, an investor can apply for conditional permanent residence on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, at the regional USCIS office. Investor than can wait for the decision without having to leave the United States. Green Card for a period of two years. Up to 10,000 visas may be authorized each fiscal year for eligible entrepreneurs.

Note: Investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21, (known as derivatives) may be included on I-485 immigration petition. If they are residing in the US, they will each need to file a Form I-485. They are counted towards the annual cap of 10,000 visas. The EB-5 investor (and his or her derivative family members) is granted conditional permanent residence for a two-year period upon the approval of the I-485 application or upon entry into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa. Read more about EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa.

Note: Generally, when Form I-485 is pending, it is possible to apply for authorization to work in the United States and to seek advance parole (advance permission to travel and be admitted to the United States upon your return).

Note: A green card holder is eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship 5 years after the conditional green card is issued, and upon satisfying residency and other requirements.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa: Step-by-Step to a U.S. Green Card

Investor’s Checklist for an EB-5 Compliant Business Plan

To check current EB-5 visa processing times, visit www.uscis.gov.

We Can Help You

At Guzhva Law Firm, we are providing thoughtful solutions and measurable value to each individual situation. Because U.S. immigration law and regulations significantly affect how foreign nationals may qualify for EB-5 immigrant investor visa, it is important that you obtain up to date information about the provisions that apply to you.

Our immigration attorney can help you prepare the forms and supporting documents with much less of your time involved and with much more accuracy. Furthermore, the attorney will be able to inform you of any potential problems in your particular case and how to improve your chances of success.

To schedule a free phone consultation with an immigration attorney, please contact us today. With offices in Washington State, in Bellevue near Seattle, we work with clients worldwide.

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