The EB-5 "Investor Green Card" is a permanent residency U.S. visa designed to allow permanent U.S. residency to foreign investors who are willing to invest significant capital in American companies.
The conditions require:
- An investment of $1,050,000 million or more (or at least $800,000 in certain rural areas or regions with high unemployment);
- And that the company will employ at least ten full-time positions for either American citizens or legal permanent residents.
EB-5 visa applications have become much more popular in recent years after the USCIS relaxed the requirements and increased the consistency of granting EB-5 applications.
Benefits of an EB-5 Green Card
- Expedited processing for petitioners and family members: The EB-5 Green Card is typically granted more quickly compared to other categories, benefiting not only the petitioner but also their immediate family members, such as spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
- No job offer or labor certification required: Unlike certain other Green Card categories, the EB-5 visa does not necessitate the applicant to secure a job offer or labor certification, providing flexibility and ease for entrepreneurs and investors.
- Net worth disclosure not mandatory: Applicants for the EB-5 Green Card are not obligated to reveal their net worth, offering an additional layer of privacy and financial discretion.
- Minimal involvement in the application process: The applicant does not need to be deeply engaged in the entire process, as the primary focus is on their investment and its economic impact, rather than their specific skills or qualifications.
- Freedom to live and work anywhere in the U.S.: The EB-5 Green Card allows the holder to reside and work in any part of the United States, providing flexibility and a wide range of opportunities.
- Pathway to permanent residency and citizenship: The EB-5 Green Card offers a direct route to permanent residency, and eventually, U.S. citizenship, for both the principal applicant and their eligible family members.
- Access to educational opportunities: Green Card holders have access to the same educational opportunities as U.S. citizens, such as public schools, universities, and financial aid.
- Increased global mobility: Holding an EB-5 Green Card enhances the applicant's ability to travel internationally, as it often provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous countries around the world.
- Eligibility for various social benefits: Green Card holders are eligible for certain social benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance, subject to meeting the respective requirements.
- Business flexibility: EB-5 Green Card holders can start or acquire businesses, diversify their investments, and participate in various economic opportunities within the United States.
Criteria for Investing in a New Business
- The investor must be investing at least US $1,050,000 million (or at least $800,000 if in a designated targeted employment area).
The targeted employment area is a rural area or area that has experienced a high unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.
- The investment must be shown to benefit the U.S. economy, usually by providing goods or services to domestic markets.
- The new business must, directly or indirectly, create at least ten full-time positions for U.S. workers.
- May include citizens, green card holders, and others allowed to work in the U.S.
- May not include the EB-5 petitioner or their family members.
- The capital investment does not have to be all cash but may also comprise:
- Cash equivalents or indebtedness are secured by the investor's assets and for which they are liable.
- Equipment, stock, or other tangible property.
- The EB-5 petitioner may be involved directly in a management capacity or as a limited partner.
Criteria for Investing in a Failing Business
- The business must have been running for at least two years.
- Before the petition, it must have returned a net loss for the recent 12/24-month period.
- That loss must constitute at least 20% of the business's net worth on the balance sheet.
- The investment must maintain at least as many jobs as before investment for a minimum of 2 years.
- Invest or be in the process of investing US $1,050,000. Or at least $800k if the investment is in a designated "Targeted Employment Area."
- A rural area or an area with a high unemployment rate (at least 150% of the national average).
- The petitioner may be involved in day-to-day management or as a limited partner.
The duration needed for EB-5 processing can fluctuate. Evaluating the initial request (Form I-526) might range from 47 to 71 months. Subsequently, the candidate must verify if a visa is accessible. Currently, there are no delays for EB-5 candidates.
Should the candidate reside outside the U.S., the approval period for a green card through consular processing might span 4 to 6 months. Conversely, if the candidate is located within the U.S., the decision-making process via the Adjustment of Status procedure could vary from 7.5 to 45.5 months, contingent on the service center.
For an up-to-date examination of form-specific processing durations, the USCIS online instrument is available for use. Additionally, the Visa Bulletin can be consulted to determine when green cards will be issued.
When an applicant secures an EB-5 Green Card, their legal spouse and unmarried children under 21 years may enter the U.S. on a two-year conditional period. Then, you can file a petition to remove conditions from family member green cards (I-829).As lawful permanent residents (green card holders) in their own right, family members will be authorized to work and attend school in the U.S.
During the two-year conditional period, the family members hold a temporary status in the United States. To transition from conditional residency to permanent residency, the primary applicant must file a petition (Form I-829) to remove the conditions from their family members' green cards. This step typically occurs 90 days before the second anniversary of obtaining conditional residency.
Employment and Education Opportunities:
As lawful permanent residents, family members have the right to work and attend school in the United States. This access to employment and educational opportunities provides them with the same advantages as other U.S. residents, allowing them to build a stable life and pursue their personal and professional goals.
Healthcare and Social Benefits:
Green Card holders, including family members of EB-5 investors, are eligible for certain healthcare and social benefits such as Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare, as long as they meet the respective requirements.
Pathway to Citizenship:
Family members who obtain permanent residency through the EB-5 Green Card program are also on the path to U.S. citizenship. After meeting the residency requirements and fulfilling other necessary criteria, they can apply for naturalization, ultimately becoming U.S. citizens.
Living in the United States as lawful permanent residents allows family members the opportunity to assimilate into the American way of life, gain a deeper understanding of the country's customs and values, and contribute to its diverse cultural landscape.
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