6 Tips for People Considering Investing Using EB-5 Investor Visas

HISTORY: Created by Congress in 1990, the EB-5 Program was designed to stimulate the U.S. economy via job-creating and foreign capital investments.  

REQUIREMENTS: The EB-5 program is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and allows for entrepreneurs, their spouses, and their unmarried children under 21 years of age to apply for permanent residence (aka a “green card”) if they 1) make the necessary investments (currently at least $500,000 USD) in a commercial enterprise in the U.S., AND 2) plan to create or preserve 10 permanent, full-time jobs for qualified U.S. citizens.

POLICY: The intent of the EB-5 investor visa was to provide an incentive for foreign investors to come to the United States with their families and stimulate domestic job growth and the economy as a whole. To that end, many projects have been funded and completed using EB-5 investments and many jobs have been created in the U.S. as a result.

Unfortunately, obtaining an EB-5 visa is not an overnight process and will require that you become a 2-year conditional permanent resident before you can apply to become an (unconditional) permanent resident.

The Steps to Getting an EB-5 Visa:

1) Confirm that you are eligible. Before you can apply for a visa under the EB-5 program, you must first confirm that you are an “accredited” investor as laid out in Regulation D of the U.S. Securities Act of 1993.

2) Select the EB5 project and make the investment. Once you have been confirmed as “accredited,” you will need to find a suitable business to invest in. Remember that the investment amount must be at least $1 million USD, or $500,000 USD if the investment is made in a project that lies within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). Often, these investments are placed in an escrow account.

3) Hire an experienced immigration attorney. Your immigration attorney will then provide the proof of investment to the government and ensure that the required paperwork is completed correctly and that the proper supporting evidence is presented.

4) Now the hard part: wait. Typically, after 12 to 18 months, the applicant will be informed by USCIS if their I-526 petition has been approved or not. If your I-526 petition is denied, most EB5 regional centers will refund your investment.

5) Follow through with your sponsored project. If your I-526 petition has been approved, you will become eligible to apply for a two-year conditional permanent residence. This will allow you and your family to reside in the U.S. and implement the project that is being funded by the EB-5 investment. Your immigration attorney will be able to ensure that the required forms and evidence are submitted.

6) Apply to become a permanent resident. The final step in the EB-5 process is to become an (unconditional) permanent resident by having the two-year conditional status removed. This is done by submitting an I-829 petition to USCIS 90 days before the two-year anniversary of receiving conditional residency. The application proves that the applicant has complied with all of the requirements of the EB-5 visa process. Typically, USCIS issues a permanent green card about 8-16 months after submitting the I-829 petition.

The EB5 process is very complex one and should not be underestimated.  The attorneys at Saleh & Associates are experienced in the EB-5 application process. Call us at (305) 448-0077 and get our experience with the program working for you.