Investor Visas (EB5 Visas)
Green Card can also be obtained through capital Investment and job creation in business in the US to stimulate the US economy. This visa category is known as the Employment Fifth Preference (EB-5). Under this program, entrepreneur and their spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:
- Makes an investment of $500,000 to 1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise in the United States;
- Creates 10 permanent full-time (35 hours a week) jobs for qualified U.S. workers not including the investor and the investor’s spouse, sons, or daughters within two years.
The 1993 Appropriations Act amended the EB-5 program to create the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program (IIPP) called a regional center. Regional centers are highly sought-after way to apply for an EB-5, but the program has never been made a permanent program and is still considered a pilot program. The program is scheduled to expire on March 23, 2018, unless Congress extends it. Since the creation of this program Congress has kept extending it, however there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so.
To get an EB-5 visa, investors can either invest in a “regional center,” an organization that are designated and approved by the USCIS to run the business and create jobs. This is an added opportunity for the investors to not have to create their own business and invest only $500,000, instead of the $1 million.
Usually Regional Centers take care of USCIS requirements for the initial, conditional EB-5 visa. However, Investors are responsible to carefully choose a regional center that can actually help them to get the unconditional green card.
Another way to get an EB-5 visa is through direct investment in your own business of a minimum of $1 million either creating a new U.S. business or expanding an already existing business. The investment amount is $500,000 if your business is located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) where unemployment is high.
Immigrant investor visa categories are:
- Employment creation outside a targeted area – C5
- Employment creation in a targeted rural/high unemployment area – T5
- Investor Pilot Program not in a targeted area – R5
- Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area – I5
You can adjust your Status in one of the two ways:
a) If you are in the U.S. you may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status provided your petition is approved and the visa is available
b) If you are outside the U.S you must complete consular processing at a U.S. Embassy in your home country once the petition is approved and a visa is available.
- Initially the EB-5 provides the investor with a temporary or conditional Green card for two years. The investor must maintain the investment until the green card is obtained and must be actively engaged in the business.
- During or before the conditional green card, investor must be able to create 10 jobs in the US or the conditions may not be removed and the green card will be cancelled.
- Investors must live or be present in the U.S. once the green card is obtained. Green card cannot be used for work and travel purposes only. However, if you keep your green card for five years and live in the U.S. continuously during that time, investors can eventually apply and obtain U.S. citizenship.
- Investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are treated as the accompanying relatives of investors and they can obtain green card(s) along with the investor.
PROCESS AND REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:
The EB-5 immigrant investor is the principal applicant and must fill out the I-526. The principal applicant, must submit the following documentation for obtaining a Green Card as an EB-5 immigrant investor who is already in the United States:
- Form I-485, Adjust the Status;
- Copy of the Form I-797, Approval Notice for Form I-526 petition;
- Two passport-style photographs;
- Copy of government-issued identity document with photograph;
- Copy of birth certificate;
- Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable);
- Copy of passport page with admission or parole stamp (issued by a U.S. immigration officer) (if applicable);
- Copy of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, or copy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable);
Note: If CBP provided you with an electronic Form I-94 upon your arrival/admission to the United States, you may print out a paper version of the Form I-94 from the CBP website at www.cbp.gov/I94;
- Proof that you have continuously maintained a lawful status since arriving in the U.S.;
- Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (you may submit this form together with Form I-485 or later, by mail or in person at your interview, if any);
- Certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions (if applicable);
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility (if applicable);
- Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal (if applicable);
- Documentation of past or present J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant status (if applicable), including proof of compliance with or a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement under INA 212(e) (for more information, see Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement);
- If you currently hold A, G, or E nonimmigrant status, include Form I-508, Request for Waiver of Certain Rights, Privileges, Exemptions and Immunities. Additionally, if you are a French national, you may also need to include Form I-508F;
- Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request – A, G or NATO Dependent Employment Authorization or Change/Adjustment to/from A, G or NATO Status (only if you have A, G, or NATO nonimmigrant status); and
- Form I-485 Supplement A, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i) (if applicable).
Note: certain forms, including Form I-485, have a filing fee. You must submit the correct filing fee for each form, unless you are exempt or eligible for a fee waiver. Please see USCIS’ Filing Fees and Fee
EB-5 or Green Card through investment is very strictly monitored by the USCIS. USCIS rejects many petitions in this category either because the eligibility requirements are very narrow, and/or because of the misuse or fraudulent applications by the applicants. It is advised that investors interested in obtaining a visa in this category must consult lawyers for their specialized knowledge and experience to obtain their green cards successfully.