The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is a program that allows foreign investors and their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) to obtain U.S. green cards (permanent residency) by investing a significant amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa:
- Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements for the EB-5 program. The primary requirements include having the necessary capital to invest and being able to demonstrate the lawful source of funds.
Select an EB-5 Project:
- Identify an EB-5 project to invest in. This can be a new commercial enterprise or a regional center project designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Determine the required investment amount based on the location of the commercial enterprise. For projects located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or rural area, the minimum investment is $900,000. For projects in a non-TEA area, the minimum investment is $1,800,000.
- File Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, with USCIS. This form establishes your eligibility as an EB-5 investor and provides details about the investment project, the amount invested, and the job creation plan.
Conditional Green Card:
- If USCIS approves your I-526 petition, you and your eligible family members will be granted conditional green cards valid for two years.
Investment and Job Creation:
- Invest the required capital into the new commercial enterprise.
- Ensure that the investment leads to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of your admission as a conditional permanent resident.
- File Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, with USCIS within the 90-day period before the expiration of your conditional green card. This form demonstrates that you have met the investment and job creation requirements.
Permanent Green Card:
- If USCIS approves your I-829 petition, you and your eligible family members will receive permanent green cards, allowing you to live and work permanently in the U.S.
Path to Citizenship:
- After being a lawful permanent resident for five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen), you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process.
It’s important to note that the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa process can be complex and may require professional guidance from immigration attorneys and financial advisors. Additionally, the program may have specific requirements and regulations that can change over time, so applicants should stay informed of the latest updates and guidelines from USCIS and the U.S. Department of State.
What is EB-5 visa minimum investment amount?
As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the minimum investment amount for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa depends on the location of the commercial enterprise in which the investor is investing. There are two investment thresholds:
- $1,800,000: If the EB-5 investment is made in a new commercial enterprise that is not located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment amount is $1,800,000.
- $900,000: If the EB-5 investment is made in a new commercial enterprise that is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which includes rural areas and areas with high unemployment, the minimum investment amount is reduced to $900,000.
The TEA designation is important because it allows investors to take advantage of the lower investment threshold, making it more accessible for some investors. The determination of whether an investment project qualifies as a TEA is based on the project’s location and the unemployment rate or other qualifying factors in that area.
It’s essential to note that the EB-5 program regulations and policies can change, and the minimum investment amounts may be adjusted in the future. As a result, applicants should verify the current minimum investment requirements with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure they meet the latest criteria when applying for the EB-5 visa.
How long does it take to obtain EB-5 immigrant investor visa?
The processing time to obtain the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of the investment project, the individual’s circumstances, the workload at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Department of State, and the specific regional center or project selected for investment. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here are some general considerations regarding the processing time:
- I-526 Petition Processing: The first step in the EB-5 visa process is filing Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. The processing time for I-526 petitions can vary from several months to over a year or more. As of my last update, it was not uncommon for I-526 processing times to exceed 18 months or even longer in some cases.
- Visa Availability: The availability of EB-5 visa numbers can also impact the overall processing time. The EB-5 program has an annual numerical limit, and the demand for EB-5 visas can sometimes exceed the available visa numbers. In such cases, investors may face delays in obtaining a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
- I-829 Petition Processing: After the I-526 petition is approved, the investor can file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, to remove the conditions on their conditional green card and obtain a permanent green card. The processing time for I-829 petitions can also vary, and as of my last update, it could take several months to over a year.
- Individual Case Complexity: Complex cases or cases that require additional evidence or documentation may experience longer processing times.
- Backlog in Adjudication: At times, there may be a backlog in the processing of EB-5 petitions and applications due to various factors.
- Source of Funds Verification: The verification of the lawful source of the invested funds is an essential part of the process and may require additional time for review and approval.
It’s important to keep in mind that the processing times are subject to change, and actual processing times may differ from historical data. USCIS regularly updates its processing times on their website, so applicants should check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.
Additionally, it’s advisable for EB-5 investors to work with experienced immigration attorneys and financial advisors who can guide them through the process and help ensure that all necessary documentation is prepared accurately and promptly to avoid unnecessary delays.