EB-5 Visa: Green Card Through Investment
What is an EB-5 Investor Visa?
An employment-based 5th preference category (EB-5) investment visa provides a method of becoming a permanent U.S. resident for foreign nationals hoping to invest capital in the United States. In order to apply for this green card, a foreign investor must invest $1.8 million (or $900,000 in a Regional Center within a “Targeted Employment Area”) and create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for United States workers (excluding the investor and their immediate family). Under the Pilot Program, the investment can be directed toward a new or existing, job-generating commercial enterprise; or a third-party-managed investment organization called a “Regional Center” that assumes the responsibility of creating the required jobs.
Regional Centers Provide a Quicker Option
The Regional Pilot Center Program is a government-created program that allows applicants to invest in government-sponsored entities rather than locate or create a business on their own. Through this specific program, foreign nationals can invest in growth-promoting businesses in Targeted Employment Areas. Similar to the $1.8 million option, after 2 years, the applicant must show evidence that their investment in Regional Centers has created or preserved 10 full-time jobs. The biggest difference between these 2 programs is the investment size needed to qualify for the EB-5 visa.
EB-5 Visa Investment Opportunities
There are 5 main requirements that a foreign investor must meet before being granted an EB-5 visa:
- Invest or work toward investing $1.8 million in a business ($900,000 in some cases)
- Invest in a new or existing business (this allows them to create or buy a business)
- Prove the fund’s legitimacy and the source of funding
- Prove that their investment is active or at risk (not just a thought or pipedream)
- Demonstrate how the investment directly or indirectly creates 10 full-time jobs
Applying for an EB-5 Visa
Foreign investors must adhere to a multi-step process in order to qualify for the EB-5 investor program. This can be a complicated and a confusing process, but it’s a direct path to secure permanent residency in the U.S. for the investor and their family.
- Find a Project to invest in – Viable projects can be new, existing, or based through a Regional Center
- Make a capital investment and have an attorney file an I-526 petition – The foreign national must provide evidence that their investment will create 10 opportunities for U.S. workers
- Answer any requests for additional information – Often immigration officials will check-in regarding the business’ progress
- Apply for a conditional Green Card visa – The applicant will be eligible once their I-526 has been approved
- Operate as an organization for 2 years – The conditional Green Card gives the investor a 2-year probationary period to accomplish the EB-5 goals
- Provide any and all proof of completion – The foreign investor must supply evidence of EB-5 goal completion to USCIS within the final 90 days of the conditional period
- Wait for a permanent Green Card(s) to be issued – USCIS will take anywhere from 8 to 14 months to adjudicate the petition and grant the removal of conditions on residence
It’s only after these steps that an investor and their family can be issued permanent Green Cards, and work towards becoming naturalized citizens, if they choose to do so.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?
The EB-5 Green Card process is one of the faster options for immigrants seeking residency in the U.S. While other immigration and citizenship application processes often take years, the EB-5 visa processing time takes anywhere from 10 to 16 months to receive a conditional Green Card.
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