EB5 Visa / Green Card - Requirements and Information on How to Apply

EB5 Visa

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The EB5 “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 million or more (or at least $500,000 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.

EB5 visa applications have become much more popular in recent years, after the USCIS relaxed the requirements together with an increase in consistency of granting EB5 applications.

EB5 visa green card for foreign investors4 Reasons to Consider the EB5 Green Card

  • This Green Card is often granted faster, both for the petitioner and any family members.
  • Does not require a job offer in place, or labor certification.
  • You do not have to disclose your net worth.
  • The applicant is not required to be highly involved in the application process.

Criteria for Investing in a New Business

  1. The investor must be investing at least US$1 million (or at least $500,000 if in a designated targeted employment area*).
    • * The definition of targeted employment area is a rural area or area that has experienced high unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.
  2. The investment must be shown to benefit the U.S. economy, usually by providing goods or services into domestic markets.
  3. The new business must — directly or indirectly — create at least 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers.
    • May include citizens, Green Card holders, and others who are permitted by law to work in the U.S.
    • May not include the EB5 petitioner or their family members.
  4. The capital investment does not have to be all cash, but may also comprise:
    • Cash equivalents or indebtedness secured by assets that the investor owns and for which they are liable.
    • Equipment, stock, or other tangible property.
  5. The EB5 petitioner may be involved directly in a management capacity, or as a limited partner.

Criteria for Investing in a Failing Business

  1. The business must have been running for at least 2 years.
  2. It must have returned a net loss for the recent 12/24-month period prior to petition.
  3. That loss must constitute at least 20% of the business’ net worth on the balance sheet.
  4. The investment must maintain at least as many jobs as there were prior to investment for a minimum of 2 years.
  5. Invest or be in process of investing $1,000,000. Or at least $500k if investment is in a designated “Targeted Employment Area *”.
    • * A rural area or an area that has a high unemployment rate (at least 150% of the national average).
  6. The petitioner may be involved in day-to-day management or as a limited partner.

Family Members

The legal spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years may be admitted to the U.S. on a 2-year conditional period. A petition (I-829) may then be filed to remove conditions from family member Green Cards.

As lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) in their own right, family members will be authorized both to work and attend school in the U.S.


EB-5 Questions Answered

“Will the EB-5 program be continued after September 2018, or will the required investment be increased?”

The EB-5 visa program is set to expire at the end of September 2018, but experts predict it will be extended through December 2018, when Congress is expected to raise the minimum investment amount of $500,000 to $1.35 million and the $1 million investment to $1.8 million in order to account for inflation over the past 28 years. So it looks like there is more time for investors to obtain green cards and create jobs for Americans at the lower investment rate.

“How do you choose best EB-5 Visa Service provider? And when applying for an EB-5 visa, do I necessarily need to start a business in USA or can I obtain my visa by investing in any financial asset?”

The type of investment project is perhaps the most important decision an applicant must make, as the enterprise choice will no doubt affect whether or not the application is approved and the degree to which financial success is achieved.

There are a wide range of investment options that have the potential to meet USCIS conditions for approval. When calculating the most suitable type of business to fund, potential investors must ask themselves:

“Do I want a larger return on my investment or am I investing primarily to meet the basic requirements for obtaining a green card?”

Acceptable EB-5 enterprises exist across a wide variety of fields and industries from medical facilities, manufacturing, agriculture and real estate development, to hotels, restaurants, casinos and stadiums.

An EB-5 investor can take one of two routes:

  1. Direct Investment – invest in someone else’s company or open and operate your own company/franchise in the U.S.
  2. Regional Center – public or private approved organizations that are involved with economic growth and tend to be most useful for investors who do not intend to invest directly and take a day-to-day role in the business.

For potential investors, putting large sums of money at risk in a foreign economy and having citizenship determined by the long-term business success as well as the ability to create at least 10 U.S. jobs is a high-stakes decision that requires due diligence.

It is best to seek advice from an EB-5 network of attorney/broker-dealers that can provide immigration legal advice combined with investment advice based on comprehensive insight into Regional Centers, developers, and projects to ensure proper assessment of options and particular issues that applicants may face to create a strategy for meeting USCIS requirements.

“What is the success rate of an EB-5 visa to the USA? Are the projects safe enough to invest in?”

USCIS relaxed the requirements together with an increase in consistency of approving EB5 applications, the success rate ultimately depends on the applicant’s ability to meet all of the criteria.

For potential investors, putting large sums of money at risk in a foreign economy and having citizenship determined by the long-term business success as well as the ability to create at least 10 U.S. jobs is a high-stakes decision that requires due diligence.

The type of investment project is perhaps the most important decision an applicant must make, as the enterprise choice will no doubt affect whether or not the application is approved and the degree to which financial success is achieved.

There are a wide range of investment options that have the potential to meet USCIS conditions for approval. When calculating the most suitable type of business to fund, potential investors must ask themselves, “Do I want a larger return on my investment or am I investing primarily to meet the basic requirements for obtaining a green card?”

Acceptable EB-5 enterprises exist across a wide variety of fields and industries from medical facilities, manufacturing, agriculture and real estate development, to hotels, restaurants, casinos and stadiums.

With so much riding on the choice of commercial entity, it is imperative that foreign investors asses the risks associated with the type of business and the strategy for meeting USCIS requirements, such as job creation.

Giving proper consideration to the type of investment can be a daunting task, especially for those without a background in business, economics or a specific industry.

“Once you have an EB-5 visa, do you need to stay in the US?”

A major benefit of obtaining an EB5 visa is that even on under the conditional permanent residency that is initially granted, the holder may travel freely both within and outside the U.S.

However, it is imperative to maintain permanent residency and a prolonged absence (6 months or more) may interrupt the naturalization process.

“Why is EB5 visa not famous compared to H1B visa?”

Good question! The Eb5 visa has become much more popular in recent years for three reasons:

  1. The Eb5 visa is a fast-track to permanent residency for the investor AND his/her immediate family, including children under the age of 21.
  2. The USCIS relaxed the requirements together with an increase in consistency of approving EB5 applications.
  3. The applicant is not required to be highly involved in the application process and can bypass the green card backlog.
    However, EB5 visas are not quite as “famous” due to the amount of money required for investment and the duration of time the investment must be held at risk.

So what happens is people with specialized knowledge and/or an advanced degree who secure employment in the U.S. will opt to take their chances at obtaining an H1-B visa. If granted, they can come and work in the U.S. and if they want to stay will find another avenue to permanent residency.

“How safe can the EB 5 visa investment be?”

There are a wide range of investment options that have the potential to meet USCIS conditions for approval. When calculating the most suitable type of business to fund, potential investors must ask themselves:

“Do I want a larger return on my investment or am I investing primarily to meet the basic requirements for obtaining a green card?”

The type of investment project is perhaps the most important decision an applicant must make, as the enterprise choice and associated risks will no doubt affect whether or not the application is approved and the degree to which financial success is achieved.

Acceptable EB-5 enterprises exist across a wide variety of fields and industries from medical facilities, manufacturing, agriculture and real estate development, to hotels, restaurants, casinos and stadiums.

For potential investors, putting large sums of money at-risk in a foreign economy and having citizenship determined by the long-term business success as well as the ability to create at least 10 U.S. jobs is a high-stakes decision that requires due diligence.

It is best to seek advice from an EB-5 network of attorney/broker-dealers that can provide immigration legal advice combined with investment advice based on comprehensive insight into Regional Centers, developers, and projects to ensure proper assessment of options and particular issues that applicants may face to create a strategy for meeting USCIS requirements.

“How long does it take for an EB-5 visa to process?”

The approval of the I-526 petition takes on average 12-14 months. Once USCIS approves the investor’s Green Card, it is conditional for a period of 30 months (two and a half years).

Conditional Green Card status confers the same rights as the permanent (unconditional) Green Card.

Expedited I-526 Processing project is an option for investors to get ahead of the Backlog/Retrogression.

“Do I have to show bank statements to prove the money was received as a salary for a EB-5?”

A crucial part of obtaining an EB-5 visa is disclosing the source of funds (7 years of tax returns). Gifting of funds to the applicant may only be from parents, siblings and spouses (immediate family members).

Leave a Comment:

NZUZI DISUNGU Olivier says March 6, 2017

Bonjour, je souhaite de faire demande d’un visas.

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NZUZI DISUNGU Olivier says March 6, 2017

Investissement dans la venir

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