Investor Visa of USA
About Investor (EB-5) Visa of USA
The United States, often referred to as the “land of opportunity,” offers a unique pathway to residency for international investors through the EB-5 Investor Visa Program.
This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of the EB-5 program, including eligibility criteria, required documents, the application process, duration of stay, and essential factors for those looking to invest in the U.S. and secure a brighter future.
To be eligible for the EB-5 Investor Visa, applicants must meet certain criteria:
- Investment Amount: Invest a minimum of $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise. However, if the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), where unemployment is high or rural areas, the minimum investment is reduced to $900,000.
- Business Involvement: Play an active role in the business by participating in its day-to-day management or as a limited partner with specific rights.
- Job Creation: Create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the U.S. The job creation requirement is reduced to five jobs for investments made in a TEA.
- Lawful Source of Funds: Demonstrate that the investment capital is lawfully sourced and acquired.
- At-Risk Investment: The invested capital must be at risk for the purpose of generating a return on the capital placed at risk. Investments in purely passive enterprises or those that do not generate jobs do not qualify.
To initiate the EB-5 process, investors must compile a comprehensive set of documents, including:
- Investment Capital Documentation: Evidence of the lawful source and path of the investment funds, such as bank statements, tax records, and business financials.
- Business Plan: A detailed business plan outlining the enterprise’s objectives, financial projections, and job creation strategy.
- I-526 Petition: File Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, to establish your eligibility for the EB-5 program.
- I-485 Application (Adjustment of Status): After I-526 approval, file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to adjust your status to that of a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder).
- Job Creation Documentation: Provide evidence that at least ten full-time jobs (or five in a TEA) have been created or will be created within the required time frame.
The EB-5 application process is a multi-step journey:
- Select an Investment Project: Choose a suitable EB-5 investment project, whether it’s your own enterprise or a Regional Center project approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Invest the Capital: Transfer the minimum required investment capital to the selected project.
- File Form I-526: Submit Form I-526 to USCIS. It typically takes about 18-24 months for USCIS to process this petition. If approved, you move to the next step.
- Conditional Permanent Resident Status: If the I-526 petition is approved, you and your immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) can apply for conditional permanent resident status by filing Form I-485 or by obtaining an immigrant visa through consular processing if you are outside the U.S.
- Two-Year Conditional Residency: Once approved, you and your family will receive a two-year conditional Green Card, allowing you to live and work in the U.S.
- File Form I-829: Approximately 21-24 months before your conditional Green Card’s expiration, file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, to demonstrate that the required jobs have been created or will be created, and that the investment capital remains at risk.
- Permanent Residency: If USCIS approves the I-829 petition, you and your family will receive permanent Green Cards, granting unconditional permanent resident status.
Duration of Stay
The EB-5 Investor Visa leads to lawful permanent resident status in the United States. As a conditional resident, you can enjoy the benefits and opportunities available to permanent residents, such as living, working, and studying anywhere in the U.S.
Additionally, you can travel in and out of the country without requiring a separate visa. After successfully removing the conditions on your Green Card, you will enjoy permanent resident status without the need for further renewals.
Relevant Factors to Consider
- Regional Centers: Many EB-5 investors choose to invest through USCIS-designated Regional Centers. These centers pool investors’ capital to fund job-creating projects and offer a more passive investment approach.
- Job Creation Requirement: Ensure the investment project you choose has a credible job creation plan, as meeting this requirement is critical to securing permanent residency.
- Business Risk: Understand that the investment carries inherent business and financial risks, and the return on investment is not guaranteed.
- Source of Funds: Carefully document the source of your investment capital to demonstrate its lawful origin.
The EB-5 Investor Visa Program provides a unique pathway to U.S. permanent residency for international investors seeking to invest in the American economy.
By meeting the program’s eligibility criteria, assembling the required documents, and navigating the application process diligently, investors can realize their goal of living, working, and thriving in the United States while contributing to job creation and economic growth.