An introduction to EB-5 Visa Program

The American Dream. For decades, this phrase has been painting the picture of a better life for people all over the world. The United States of America is the largest economy in the world with millions of people having found different paths in order to begin their life anew. In 1990, Congress created the EB-5 Program to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.

What is EB 5?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is a program that aims to help foreign investors and their immediate family (spouse and children under the age 21 years) secure permanent residency in the U.S.

Simply put – invest in an American business, create jobs for the American people, and the government will ensure permanent residence in the country as a U.S. Green Card holder. After maintaining the 5-year timeline as a permanent resident, participants are also eligible to apply for full U.S. citizenship. The two main applications that are a part of the EB-5 application process are the I-526 and the I-829. Upon I-829 approval, the applicant (and family) receives US Green Cards. 10,000 visas are reserved every fiscal year for the EB-5 Program. To date, it has brought in over $19 Billion in investment and created thousands of jobs. In FY2016, 9,947 visas were issued[1].

What are the requirements?

In order for your investment to qualify for the EB-5 program, the investment must:

  • Be in the value of $1 million in capital investment or $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is an area with high unemployment (e.g. rural areas with an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national unemployment rate)
  • The investment must result in at least 10 full-time jobs being created. In the case of Direct EB-5 investment only direct W-2 jobs will be accounted, on the other hand, investment through a Regional Center Program takes into account direct and indirect jobs. (Read more about Direct vs Indirect EB-5 Investment)
  • The investment needs to be legally sourced.
  • The investor needs to have no criminal background.

The Process

The entire process of obtaining permanent residency can take a minimum of 4 years. EB-5 application should always be handled by professionals who have legal, financial and investment expertise. The process involves:

  • Identify the investment opportunity
  • Conduct due diligence on the project
  • Hire a trusted immigration firm to work on your application
  • Select the project for investment
  • Work on collecting the Source of funds for the investment
  • Finalize the path of funds and transfer the funds to the project account
  • Finalize the I-526 application and submit it to USCIS
  • On I-526 approval (18-24 months)[2], a 2-year conditional Green Card is issued
  • At least 90 days before the end of the second year for conditional Green Card, file an I-829 form and provide documents to prove that your investment has created at least 10 jobs
  • I-829 adjudication can take a minimum of 29 months2. While in-process the conditional green card is extended and legal status in the country is not affected
  • After I-829 is approval, a U.S. Green Card is granted securing permanent residency

Who is EB 5 for?

If any of the below sound like you, you are definitely the right candidate for EB 5:

  • Individuals in queue for H1 B visa lottery and in the lookout for a quicker, guaranteed U.S. Visa route
  • Aspiring students looking forward to study and start their career in the U.S.
  • Business owners/Entrepreneurs interested to grow their business in the U.S. with ease
  • Individuals looking to migrate to the U.S.

Signing off

We hope this blog gave you a brief overview on the basics you need to know about EB-5 to decide if this is a route for you. Stay tuned for more blogs on pro tips, case studies and more. Until then, don’t stop dreaming!

[1] https://share.geckoboard.com/dashboards/F7C1F0339D47813D

[2] Source: IIUSA: https://share.geckoboard.com/dashboards/F7C1F0339D47813D

(subject to change based on USCIS)

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