When entrepreneurs invest significant sums of money in the United States they can qualify for an EB-5 immigrant investor visa in some cases, allowing them to gain a green card.
The immigrant investor program is based on a qualifying investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States.
The category was first set up in 1990. Although it was once underutilized, it became a popular option in recent years, partially due to over-subscription in other employment-based categories.
To qualify for an EB-5 visa, a foreign investor must invest at least $1 million in a U.S. commercial enterprise. He or she can qualify by investing $500,000 if the enterprise is in a rural area or an area with high unemployment known as a targeted employment area.
Often the investment is made through regional centers which pool investors’ money and apply funds toward projects to boost the economy in the approved area.
If you are applying for an EB-5 visa, you will encounter a three-step process.
Three Steps to Apply for an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa
1 The Foreign Entrepreneur Submits an Immigrant Petition
The applicant from overseas must submit the immigrant petition by an alien entrepreneur (form I-526). The investor generally should either invest the funds in the commercial enterprise or commit the money for investment by placing it in escrow. Under the latter option, the funds must be automatically transferred on approval of the I-526 petition and the immigrant visa being issued or the I-485 application being approved.
There are some additional requirements the investor should provide when form I-526 is submitted, including:
- Evidence of the source of the investment funds. The money must be lawfully obtained.
- The enterprise’s ability to create 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers.
- The investor’s role in the management of the enterprise.
If the investment is made via a regional center, the EB5 investor is not required to be involved in the management of the enterprise.
2 Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
When the I-526 is approved, the investor along with his or her spouse and children under 21 may apply for conditional green cards valid for two years.
3 Filling in Form I-829
A successful EB-5 applicant receives a conditional green card valid for two years. He or she must remove the condition about 90 days before the conditional green card is due to expire by filing form I-829.
Certain evidential requirements must be met. The I-829 has to be accompanied by evidence that the investment funds are still in the project and that the requisite 10 jobs were created. Once the form is approved, the immigrant investor will receive a permanent, unconditional green card.
Find out more about the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program here on our website.