EB-5 Investor Green Card Program
EB-5 is an American government immigration program that allows foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States when they make a qualifying investment of $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a business that generates a minimum of 10 full time jobs.
Investors can qualify for an EB-5 visa by establishing and operating their own business that will employ 1o workers or by investing into a Regional Center – an entity that develops a project and creates jobs, thus relieving the investor from those duties. Investors must show that the investment funds were derived legally. EB-5 visas are issue to the investor as well as his spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Currently EB-5 investor visa is one of the fastest paths to a Green Card. On average, investors may expect to become permanent residents within a year to two years.
EB-5 investor visas are available to citizens of all countries and investors are not required to manage or operate the business themselves.
EB-5 Investor Visa Requirements:
Creation of 10 Full Time Jobs
Minimum Investment of $500,000
Legal Source of Funds
General Immigrant Eligibility
An investment must create 10 full-time jobs per each investor. There are three ways to satisfy a job creation requirement:
1. Establishing a new business venture, which will generate 10 new jobs;
2. Investing into a failing business and preserving/saving jobs that would have been lost, but-for the investment;
3. Expanding an existing business and creating 10 additional job positions.
Investment Amount $500,000 or $1,000,000
The minimum investment amount requirement depends on the location of the projects.
If the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment requirement is reduced to $500,000. If the project is located outside of a TEA zone, the minimum investment amount is $1,000,000.
A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is either a rural area or an area where the unemployment rate is 1.5 times higher than the national average. Most EB-5 projects are located in TEA zones.
Legal Source of Funds
Investors must submit documentation to demonstrate that the investment funds were obtained legally. Typically the source of funds can be demonstrated by paystubs, tax returns, contracts for sale of real property or assets. Gifts from family members or friends may also be considered as a legal source of funds. Loans or credits can be used for an EB-5 investment, as long as they are not secured by the assets of the EB-5 project.
Investment Must be at Risk
One of the requirements of the program is that the investment cannot be absolutely guaranteed, it must be subject to a business risk. Therefore an investment into government bonds or other guaranteed securities does not qualify for an EB-5 investor visa.
General Immigration Requirements
Potential EB-5 visa recipient must be eligible to be a United States immigrant (medical exam, criminal background check, etc.)
It takes about two months to select a project and to gather all the necessary documents for an EB-5 visa petition – form I-526. After the I-526 is submitted it is processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A review of an I-526 petition can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months. There is no premium (expedited) processing available for I-526 petitions.
If the I-526 is approved, the investor and his family will receive conditional Green Cards, which gives them a right to live and work on the territory of the United States and to enjoy all the benefits available to permanent residents. Twenty-one months after the receipt of the initial, conditional Green Card, the investor must file an I-829 petition to remove conditions. The I-829 petition must include evidence showing that the investor did not retract his investment and that the project was completed or has made substantial progress towards job creation.
If the I-829 petition is approved, the conditions are removed from the investor’s Green Card and the residency status becomes permanent.
Contact Rostova Law Group, P.A. for a consultation to help determine if EB-5 investor visa program is the right option for you.