U.S. immigration law permits foreign nationals to acquire a US green card by investment. The fifth employment-based category, EB-5 investor visa US, is reserved for foreign national investors that have already invested or are proactively proceeding to invest a minimum of $1 million or $500,000 in certain targeted employment areas (investment amount is based on filing date, please see below for more details on the minimum investment amount). To obtain a US green card through investment, the EB-5 investor must invest in a commercial enterprise which creates at least 10 full-time positions for qualifying employees. Essentially, the investor visa USA requirements through the EB-5 US green card investor program require the foreign national investor to (1) invest a significant amount of funds into (2) a commercial enterprise which (3) creates 10 full-time jobs.
What are the EB-5 investor visa USA requirements?
The EB-5 US permanent residency through investment program was created to stimulate the U.S. economy, create numerous jobs and provide an opportunity for foreign nationals to obtain a green card through investment in the US. The EB-5 program provides an opportunity for foreign investors to become permanent residents of the United States. Each Fiscal Year there are 10,000 EB-5 visas available. To get a US green card through investment, investors must satisfy the following requirements:
- Investment in Commercial Enterprises: The EB-5 investor must make an investment into a US commercial enterprise, which is a lawful business enterprise engaging in for-profit activity, such as corporation, limited liability company, partnership, holding company, or business trust, among others.
- Job Creation: The EB-5 investor must create at least 10 full-time qualifying positions. To be considered a qualifying employee, the employee must be a US citizen or permanent resident, or have another form of valid employment authorization in the United States. The EB-5 investor’s spouse, children, or any foreign national without valid immigration status and employment authorization, will not be considered as a qualifying employee by USCIS. To be considered a full-time employee, the position must require a minimum of 35 working hours per week.
- Capital Investments: To obtain an US green card by investment, the EB-5 investor must make a capital investment which can include cash, cash equivalents, inventory, or tangible property. The minimum investment in US to get green card will increase on November 21, 2019. The below table shows the minimum investment amounts to obtain a green card through investment:
|Petition Filing Date||Minimum Investment Targeted Employment Area||Minimum Investment High Employment Area|
How to get a US green card through investment, step-by-step description?
The EB-5 green card consists of a four step process that foreign national investors are required to complete to become green card holders through the EB-5 investor visa US program. Please note, the EB-5 investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible to acquire US permanent residence based on the main applicant’s qualifying investment. Five years after acquiring permanent residence status, the applicants may apply for US citizenship.
Step 1: Finding the right EB-5 Project
The EB-5 applicant must find a suitable project in which to make the required capital investment. A suitable project is one that meets the EB-5 program requirements described above. EB-5 projects are generally new commercial enterprises or regional center projects. An EB-5 Regional Center is an investment project approved by USCIS, which allows indirect job creation to count towards the 10 full-time position requirement.
Step 2: Capital Investment and I-526 Petition
After the EB-5 project is identified, the applicant must make the minimum investment to obtain a US green card described above. The EB-5 investor must be able to demonstrate that the funds for the investment come from a lawful source. The investment must be in capital form, which includes cash, tangible property, or other cash equivalents.
Once the investment is made, the applicant must provide evidence to USCIS that the investment meets all requirements of the EB-5 US green card investor program by filing Form I-526. Applicants typically have to wait 12 to 18 months before receiving a decision about their I-526 petition and EB-5 investor visa US application. If an applicant’s I-526 petition is denied most regional centers will refund the investment.
Step 3: Two-Year Conditional Permanent Residency
If the EB-5 investor’s I-526 petition is approved, the investor can apply for two-year conditional permanent residence in the United States. During this two-year conditional period, the EB-5 investor and his/her family can reside in the United States and must begin implementing the project financed by their EB-5 investment. Residency can be attained in one of two ways:
- If the EB5 investor already resides in the US in lawful status, then he/she can file Form I-485 to adjust status to conditional permanent resident while in the United States.
- If the EB5 investor resides abroad, then he/she must apply for an immigrant visa by submitting Form DS-260 and attending a visa interview at US consulate or embassy.
The process of applying for conditional permanent residence can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months. During the two year conditional permanent residency period, the EB-5 investor is obligated to physically reside in the United States.
Step 4: Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residency and the I-829 Petition
The final step of the EB-5 investor visa process is the EB-5 investor’s application for 10-year unconditional permanent resident card. In order to remove the conditions on the two-year conditional permanent resident status, the EB-5 investor must file Form I-829 with USCIS within 90 days of the second anniversary of the EB-5 investor becoming a conditional permanent resident.
USCIS typically process I-829 petitions six to eight months.
The investor, his/her spouse, and his/her unmarried children under the age of 21 can benefit from a US green card by investment. Five years after the initial two-year conditional green card is obtained, the EB-5 investor and his/her family can apply for US citizenship.
Our investor immigration lawyer is here to help you with your immigration case
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