EB-5 Visa: Everything You Need to Know

Do you want to invest in the United States? If so, the EB-5 visa program may be right for you! This article will discuss everything you need about the EB-5 visa program. In addition, we will cover topics such as eligibility requirements and investment options. So if you’re interested in learning more about this unique opportunity, keep reading!

The EB-5 Investor Program: What Is It?

The EB-5 Investor Program was created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to encourage foreign investment in the United States. The program offers a number of benefits to foreign investors, including permanent residency. In addition, if you meet the requirements, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

What is an EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 visa is a United States immigration visa created in 1990. It provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. The EB-5 visa is one of the most popular visas for high-net worth foreign citizens looking to live in the United States. In 2014, there were 10,692 applications for the EB-5 visa, and 3,755 visas were issued. China is the largest source of EB-5 applicants, accounting for about 80% of all applications in 2014.

What Are the Investment Options?

There are two primary investment options for the EB-5 Investor Program:

  1. Direct Investment: You may invest directly in a qualifying business. This option often requires a larger investment than the other option, and more risk is involved as an investor will need to be involved in the day to day operation of the business in a new country.
  2. Regional Center Investment: You may also invest through USCIS-approved regional centers. A regional center is an organization that has been approved to promote economic growth in a specific geographic region. This option does not require to investor to be involved in the day to day operation of the business, which will be operated by the EB-5 project management team.

Which Option Is Right for You?

The right investment option for you will depend on several factors, including your investment goals and risk tolerance. For example, if you are interested in running your own business, then the direct investment option may be right for you. However, the regional center’s option may be better if you are looking for a more hands off investment.

Who Can Apply for the EB-5 Investor Visa?

The EB-5 Investor Visa is a great way to obtain permanent residency in the United States. To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Invest in a U.S. company and satisfy the minimum criteria established by 8 CFR 204.6.

  • The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years of issuing the visa.

  • Additionally, the investment amount must meet the requirements. If the commercial enterprise is located within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or Rural Area, the investment amount will be $800,000, otherwise it will be $1,050,000.

The EB-5 investor immigrant visa allows foreign nationals who make a qualifying investment in a U.S. business to live and work permanently in the United States. This is an excellent opportunity for those who are looking to invest in a business and obtain permanent residency status.

EB-5 Visa requirements

Source of Funds

All EB-5 applicants must show that their investment funds come from a lawful source. Documents that may be used to demonstrate the lawful source of funds include but are not limited to bank statements, wire transfer records, tax returns, and payroll records. 

Applicants should consult with an immigration attorney to determine which documents will be most beneficial in their case.

 In addition, applicants must show that the funds have been lawfully obtained and are not derived from criminal activity. Funds from sources such as gambling, drug trafficking, or other illegal activities will not be considered lawful and will likely result in the denial of the EB-5 application.

Job Creation Requirements

The USCIS mandates that EB-5 investments create 10 new full-time jobs for American workers. The investors funds must be used to create these jobs during the first two years of receiving conditional permanent status. 

In some circumstances, the investor is required to demonstrate that their investment resulted in the creation of direct jobs for workers who are directly employed by the commercial organization that received the investment. However, if the investment was made into a regional center, the EB-5 investor will only need to demonstrate that 10 full-time direct, indirect, or induced jobs were created.

Jobs developed in companies that provide goods or services to the EB-5 project are called indirect jobs. Induced employment refers to job growth that occurs due to increased spending in the local economy by workers who are employed as a direct result of the EB-5 investment.

To be credited towards the 10 full-time job requirements, both indirect and induced jobs must meet specific criteria set forth by USCIS. For example, they must be new positions that would not have existed absent the EB-5 investment, and qualified U.S. workers must fill them. 

Direct, indirect, and induced jobs all strengthen the U.S. economy and create opportunities for American workers, which is why the USCIS requires that EB-5 investments result in job creation.

EB-5 investment amount

Since the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, applicants for EB-5 visas are required to make a capital investment of $800,000 or $1,050,000 into a U.S. business. 

The EB-5 investment is valued using the fair market value of U.S. dollars and may take the form of cash, inventory, equipment, secured debt, tangible property, or cash equivalents.

Suppose the investment is made in a business that is situated in a rural area. In that case, an area with a high unemployment rate or an infrastructure project, the minimum investment capital requirement for the EB-5 immigrant investor program may be reduced from $1,050,000 to $800,000.

How Do You Apply For An EB-5 Visa?

Step 1: Determine If You Meet The Basic Requirements

The first step in applying for an EB-5 visa is to ensure that you meet the program’s basic requirements.

Step 2: Choose An Investment Option

The next step is to choose an investment option that meets your needs. Two main types of EB-5 investments are direct investments and regional center investments.

Step 3: File The I-526 Petition

The next step in the process is to file Form I-526 with the USCIS. This form is also known as the “Petition for Alien Entrepreneur.” This form aims to establish that you meet the requirements for an EB-5 visa. To do this, you will need to provide evidence of your investment, such as a business plan and a signed contract. You will also need to submit biographical information, including your birth certificate. Once you have gathered all of the required information, you can submit your petition. The USCIS processing time for this form is approximately twelve to eighteen months. If your petition is approved, you will be able to move on to the next step in the process.

Step 4: Apply for Conditional Permanent Resident Status

Immigrant investors who wish to obtain a visa to enter the United States must complete Form DS-260. This form is then submitted to the National Visa Center, where it will be reviewed by consular staff. If the investor is already authorized to live in the United States, they must instead submit Form I-485. This form is used to apply for conditional permanent residency. Both forms can be complex, and it is recommended that investors consult with an immigration lawyer before beginning the process. Lawyers can help to ensure that all required information is included and that the forms are completed correctly.

Step 5: Remove Conditions On Residency and File an I-829 petition.

Once an investor has obtained a conditional permanent resident status through the EB-5 green card program, they must take care to maintain their status. After two years, the conditional status expires and the investor must submit an I-829 petition within the last 90 days of the conditional residence period. This petition must show that the investor has met the conditions of the EB-5 program, such as creating jobs and sustaining the investment in a commercial enterprise. Thus, investors need to keep track of the expiration date of their conditional status and submit the necessary paperwork in a timely manner.

Can My Family Members Also Get Visas?

If you are approved for an EB-5 visa, your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 will also be eligible for permanent residency in the United States. However, your family members will need to submit the required documentation and forms as well.

What Happens After I Get My Visa?

After you have obtained your EB-5 visa, you will be able to live and work permanently in the United States. You will also be able to travel freely in and out of the country. However, it is essential to note that you must maintain your investment in the commercial enterprise for the required amount of time.

If you decide to sell your investment or leave the company before the sustainment period is up, you may be subject to your Visa application being denied and having to leave the United States.

When applying for an EB-5 visa, you must submit various documents to the USCIS. These documents include:

Financial Documents

  • Evidence that the investment capital was obtained through lawful means.

  • Business licenses

  • Documentation of Business Ownership

  • Evidence of other Capital Sources

  • Business tax returns

  • Accounting records for each business

  • Five years of bank statements

  • Five most recent tax returns

Personal Documents

  • A copy of your passport and family members

  • Household Registration

  • A duplicate of any earlier immigration applications

  • Evidence that you have made the required investment in the commercial enterprise

  • Medical examination forms

  • Police and court records

  • Form I-94

  • Evidence that you have created or will create at least ten full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

Other Important Documents

  • Form DS-160 confirmation page or Form I-485

  • Form I-829

  • Form I-526

  • Two passport-style photographs

Benefits of Receiving an EB-5 Visa

Following a legal immigration path can be time-consuming and difficult for many immigrants who want to move to the United States. However, immigrants can gain from an EB-5 visa in a number of ways, including:

Live and work permanently in the United States.

This is perhaps the most significant benefit of receiving an EB-5 visa. Once you have obtained your visa, you will be able to live and work permanently in the United States.

Obtain citizenship for your children who are under the age of 21.

If you have children under the age of 21, they will be able to obtain U.S. citizenship once you have received your EB-5 visa.

Travel freely in and out of the United States.

Once you have an EB-5 visa, you will be able to travel freely in and out of the United States. You will not need to apply for a separate visa each time you want to enter the country.

Easy way to permanent residency and citizenship

The EB-5 provides a more expedited path to permanent residency than other visa categories. After just two years of their initial entry to the United States, holders of the EB-5 visa may be eligible to have the conditional restrictions on their visa lifted.

Path to United States Citizenship

Immigrants who enter the country on an EB-5 visa may become citizens as soon as five years after they become lawful permanent residents. The EB-5 visa thus provides a quicker path to citizenship than other visas and green cards. 

Opportunities for children to pursue education and jobs.

The EB-5 investment visa allows foreign investors’ children to enroll in school and access the same educational opportunities as children of American citizens, at primary, secondary, and higher education levels. These children will have equal access to professional options after completing their education as they will have the ability to work in the US without the need for employer sponsorship. The EB-5 investment visa provides many opportunities for those who want to invest in the United States and ensure their children have a bright future. 

The EB-5 program does not have a “sponsor” requirement.

One of the key benefits of the EB-5 visa is that investors are not required to have a sponsoring organization. This means they essentially serve as their own sponsors and have great flexibility in how and where they live, work, and/or study.

Final Thoughts

The EB-5 visa program has been an excellent way for people worldwide to come to the United States and start a new life. It is important to remember that this visa is not an easy path to citizenship, but it is a viable option for those who are willing to work hard and follow the rules. If you are considering applying for an EB-5 visa, be sure to do your research and speak with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you are taking the proper steps.

EB-5 Visa FAQS

Here are the frequently asked questions about EB-5 Visa.

The program takes an average of five years from start to end of the process, and the initial application and petition are generally approved within twelve to eighteen months. After approval you’ll have to wait for USCIS and the Department of State to arrange an interview. Still, you must also wait for your Visa to be approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State. 

The main difference between E-2 and EB-5 visas is that the former does not lead to citizenship. On the other hand, the EB-5 visa gives you a path to citizenship and many other benefits.

If your EB-5 visa application is rejected, you may be able to reapply, but this depends on the reason for the denial.

If you’re having trouble finding an investment, you can do a few things:

  1. You can try contacting a regional center.

  2. You can look for investments on your own.

  3. You can consult with an immigration lawyer to see if any other options are available.

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