Step-by-Step Guide to the EB-5 Visa Process

Step-by-Step Guide to the EB-5 Visa Process


The EB-5 visa program provides a path to lawful permanent residency for foreign investors and their family members. It is accomplished by investing in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least ten permanent full-time jobs for United States workers. Each year, congress sets aside 10,000 EB-5 visas for this purpose. Most of these visas are typically allocated to applicants from China and Vietnam.

Filing the I-526 Petition

EB-5 visa applicants must file Form I-526 to prove that the capital they invest in their new commercial enterprise comes from lawful sources. They also must submit detailed financial information to show that their investment will create at least ten permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Once the I-526 petition is approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will be processed for visa allocation. The NVC will notify applicants of their fee payment requirements and schedule an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country. Investors already living in the United States can skip this step and apply for their immigrant visa through adjustment of status or consular processing. If they are using abroad, they must submit a Form DS-260 and attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of origin. This step includes submitting biographical information and answering questions about their employment and education history. It may also require undergoing a background check and submitting fingerprints.

Obtaining a Conditional Green Card

After an EB5 application process is approved, the investor receives a conditional green card (a CR-1 visa) for two years. It allows the investor and their family to live in America and work legally. A green card has conditions because the government wants to ensure that you invest in your business and hire ten full-time employees to meet your obligations under the visa program. If you show that you met these requirements, you can apply to remove the conditions and get a permanent green card. You must submit the same types of evidence you used when you applied for your conditional green card, including photos of you and your spouse, joint financial documentation, and any other proof that you entered into your marriage in good faith and not solely for immigration purposes. If you can show that your marriage is indeed bona fide, then you can successfully apply to have the conditions removed and become a permanent resident.

Investing in a Business

To qualify for an EB-5 visa, you must invest $1,050,000 or $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise that creates ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The EB-5 program is intended to foster economic growth and job creation in rural or high-unemployment areas. The investment must be at risk, and you must actively engage in business management. Alternatively, you can invest in a regional center and show that your investment will lead to at least ten new full-time jobs (directly or indirectly). Under the EB-5 program, investors may count existing jobs saved by their investment as part of the ten required positions. However, the employee must have existed before your EB-5 investment and be preserved for at least two years. You must also demonstrate that your investment capital was lawfully obtained. It means that it came from various sources, including earnings from legal employment, private investments, property sale, stocks and bonds, gifts, loans, or inheritance. Unlike other U.S. immigration categories, the EB-5 visa requires you to provide proof of source and path of funds.

Filing the I-829 Petition

EB-5 is the only visa program that offers foreign investors permanent residence in exchange for creating jobs and stimulating the economy. Investors must make a minimum investment of $800,000 for projects in rural or high-unemployment areas and create at least ten full-time jobs. Investors can choose to invest in a direct project or through a Regional Center. EB-5 investors can also apply for U.S. Citizenship after maintaining their Green Card for five years. Once an investment has been made, the investor and their family must file Form I-829 with the USCIS to remove the conditions on their conditional status. The process is lengthy and complex, but it is essential to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to ensure all the steps are completed correctly. If the EB-5 investor has received previous investor approvals or exemplar approvals for their project, this can help speed up the interview. However, it is essential to remember that a project can only be allowed if there are material changes. EB-5 investors who still need to meet the job creation requirement must wait longer for their I-829 petition to be approved.

Obtaining a Permanent Green Card

The EB-5 visa process allows investors to obtain a Permanent Green Card after two years of conditional residency. However, the investor will still need to comply with all other immigration laws and continue investing in maintaining their permanent resident status. If they fail to do so, their green cards could be revoked. In addition, the investor must provide documentation to show that they obtained the investment funds lawfully. It may include proof that the money came from selling assets, inheritance, or another source. USCIS will review the source of the funds to ensure that it was not obtained illegally. Once a permanent green card has been issued, the immigrant can begin working and living in the United States. They can also apply for citizenship after five years of permanent residency. Green card holders can also bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 with them. It includes birth and adopted children. However, parents and siblings of U.S. citizens must wait longer for their green cards as they are considered preferred relatives.

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