What is the EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa serves as an attractive immigrant visa option designed specifically for individuals seeking to invest in and establish businesses in the United States.

To apply for the EB5 visa, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of $1,050,000 in a US business. However, there’s an exciting opportunity for a reduced investment of $800,000 if the business is located in a “targeted employment area”.

A targeted employment area is defined as an area with high unemployment (at least 150% of the national average) or a rural location according to the Immigration and Nationality Act. A rural area is one that falls outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area and doesn’t include any city or town with a population of 20,000 or more.

In addition to meeting the minimum investment criteria, the business being invested in must generate a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for American workers. It is important to note that only commercial, for-profit businesses qualify for the EB-5 visa, while real estate investments and non-profit ventures do not meet the eligibility criteria.

Advantages of the EB-5 Visa: Unlocking Opportunities for Investors

  • Acquiring an EB-5 visa marks the commencement of a consequential journey toward potential US citizenship, given that the EB-5 visa pertains to the immigrant visa category.
  • In addition, the benefits of this program extend to encompass the investor’s immediate family. Both the investor’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old possess eligibility to secure green cards, thereby ensuring their qualification for permanent residency status in the United States.
  • Furthermore, the EB-5 visa presents the investor’s children with access to a high-quality US education, thereby offering them invaluable prospects for academic and personal growth.
  • Of noteworthy significance for approved EB-5 visa holders is the prerogative to pursue employment across diverse roles without necessitating sponsorship from a specific company. This provision confers upon investors the autonomy to explore various career paths, tailored to their individual skills, preferences, and vocational ambitions.
  • Moreover, the EB-5 visa bestows the liberty to establish residence and engage in occupational pursuits anywhere within the United States, endowing individuals with the freedom to select a preferred locale congruent with personal inclinations, lifestyle preferences, and professional opportunities.
  • A salient feature of the EB-5 visa program is the eligibility to engage in employment within the United States without the requirement of specialized work authorization. This streamlined process obviates the need for supplementary administrative procedures, thereby facilitating a seamless assimilation into the American workforce.

Requirements to get an EB-5 Visa

In order to be eligible for an EB-5 visa, several requirements must be met:

  • Investment in a “new commercial enterprise”: The first prerequisite is to invest in a business entity classified as a “new commercial enterprise“, which refers to a profit-oriented business engaged in legal activities, which was established subsequent to November 29, 1990.
  • Minimum investment amount: A minimum investment of $1,050,000 is required for the new commercial enterprise. However, if the investment is made in a designated “targeted employment area,” a reduced investment of $800,000 may be permissible.
  • Job creation: The investment must result in the creation of a minimum of 10 full-time positions for US workers within the new commercial enterprise.
  • “At-risk” investment funds: The funds utilized for the investment must be deemed “at risk,” meaning they are subject to potential gains or losses based on the performance of the enterprise.
  • Lawful source of investment funds: It is essential that the funds used for the investment have been lawfully obtained through legitimate means.
  • Active involvement in management: As an EB-5 applicant, active engagement in the management of the new commercial enterprise is required.
  • By satisfying these requirements, individuals can move closer to securing an EB-5 visa and embarking on a path towards realizing their investment and immigration goals.

EB-5 Visa Process: A Step-by-Step Journey

•Initiate the EB-5 process by enlisting the expertise of an experienced immigration attorney.

• Collaborate with your attorney to assess your eligibility for the EB-5 visa based on your individual circumstances and immigration goals.

• Throughout the entire EB-5 process, your attorney will serve as your guide, ensuring compliance with immigration regulations and preparing the required documentation.

Step 2 – Select a Suitable Investment

• Conduct thorough due diligence to identify an EB-5 investment opportunity that aligns with your preferences and risk tolerance.

• While your attorney can provide immigration-related guidance, seeking advice on business-related aspects from a Registered Investment Advisor or Broker/Dealer with expertise in the EB-5 program is recommended.

• Work with your attorney to confirm that the chosen investment meets the immigration requirements mandated by the EB-5 visa program.

Step 3 – Invest Your Capital

• Allocate your funds to the selected new commercial enterprise.

• When submitting Form I-526, demonstrate either the completed investment or active engagement in the investment process.

• Consider placing the funds in an escrow account, ensuring their release is contingent upon I-526 approval, adjustment of status, or visa issuance.

• Mere intent to invest at a later date is insufficient; concrete evidence of investment is necessary.

Step 4 – File Form I-526

• With the comprehensive documentation prepared, your attorney will file Form I-526 on your behalf, serving as your initial EB-5 petition.

• Approval of the I-526 petition makes you eligible to apply for a two-year conditional permanent residency (conditional green card).

• Note that the green card remains conditional for two years, allowing you to fulfill EB-5 requirements, including creating 10 full-time jobs for US workers and maintaining a “at-risk” investment in the project.

Step 5 – Adjustment of Status/Visa Processing

• The process of obtaining a conditional green card differs depending on whether you are within or outside the US.

• If you are inside the US, you will file Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status.

• If you are outside the US, consular processing is required, involving the submission of Form DS-260.

Step 6 – File Form I-829

• After 21 months of being a conditional permanent resident, your attorney can file Form I-829 on your behalf.

• Form I-829 is the application to remove conditions from your green card, facilitating your transition to an unconditional permanent resident status (green card holder).

Meeting all EB-5 program requirements, including demonstrating the sustainability of your investment and the creation of 10 full-time jobs for US workers, is crucial for successful removal of the conditional status.

Step 7 – Optional: Naturalization

• If you have maintained permanent residency for at least five years, you may choose to pursue naturalization, applying to become a US citizen.

Embarking on the EB-5 visa journey entails following these sequential steps, guided by your immigration attorney, to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired immigration outcomes.