For foreign nationals seeking a means of obtaining a green card and pathway to citizenship, the EB-5 visa can allow foreign entrepreneurs and their dependents to live in the United States. Individuals who come to live and work in the United States under an EB-5 visa are required manage their large-scale investment. Minimum levels of investment apply to EB-5 visas. For investments made into most commercial ventures, a minimum investment of $1 million is required. However, EB-5 projects located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) can be funded with just $500,000. Aside from requirements regarding the initial investment, EB-5 entrepreneurs must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers to obtain a permanent immigration benefit.
Why Would an Entrepreneur Select an EB-5 Visa over E-2 or other Options?
One must first determine the exact nature of their immigration or business goals before it is possible to weight the relative advantages and drawbacks of visas. However, for individuals who are seeking to establish the United States as their permanent home and obtain a green card, the EB-5 visa provides a pathway. The E-2 visa, for instance, does not since it is only a temporary work authorization. Beyond this aspect, other favorable characteristics of the EB-5 visa include the fact that one does not have to maintain a business in their home country and no extraordinary skills or achievements are required.
Furthermore, the EB-5 visa can provide derivative immigration benefits to close relatives like a spouse or children who have not yet reached age 21. Furthermore, unlike immigration through a family preference category, the EB-5 visa does not require you to already have family members living in the United States. Since the EB-5 visa is assigned its own allotment of visas, one may be able to qualify for a visa even when the allotment of visas for family preference categories have been exhausted.
What Requirements Must An EB-5 Immigrant Investor Satisfy?
Before making an investment into a new or existing commercial venture, an investor-entrepreneur must before significant research and due diligence. This includes assessing an array of EB-5 projects which may be part of a regional center or located within a TEA. For certain EB-5 investors from nations with strict capital controls, such as China, selecting an EB-5 project located in a TEA may be essential due to the reduced capital investment requirements.
However, after selecting a project an performing due diligence to the investor’s satisfaction, the investor must pay the fee and make legal filings. These filings include completing and submitting an I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur to the appropriate regional center of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, which usually takes between nine and 15 months to grant approval.
After winning this approval, the foreign investor must meet with a representative of the U.S. government at the embassy in the investor’s home country for reviews of the applicant’s medical, criminal, and immigration history. Once the initial EB-5 visa is granted on a two-year conditional basis, the immigrant investor must enter the United States within 180 days of issuance.
What Must Be Included in An EB-5 Petition?
Individuals who apply for an EB-5 visa face a lengthy and laborious process where they must provide evidence setting forth a number of facts. The failure to take these steps can jeopardize an EB-5 investment’s immigration benefits or lead to their forfeiture. In order to adjust status an EB-5 applicant must be able to show that he or she has:
- Established a new commercial venture or invested into a regional center’s existing commercial venture.
- Invested the proper amount
- Invested money derived from a lawful source of income
- The investment was placed “at risk”
- The investment will create or preserve the requisite number of jobs
- The investor has and intends to remain in the United States
- The investor will or actually is engaged in the management of the investment and commercial venture
Particular attention is paid to the lawful source inquiry. USCIS agents are known to press for extremely through documentation proving that funds are not derived from illicit activity. If you cannot demonstrate a lawful source of funding, then EB-5 will be difficult if not impossible to achieve.
A Waiting List Exists for EB-5 Visas
Despite a slow start, the EB-5 program has proved to be remarkably popular. Each year the supply of visas is routinely exhausted and a waiting list now exists. For EB-5 applicants who wish to provide an immigration benefit to their child, it is important to file as soon as possible. Due to waits that can last for several years, a child can “age out” before he or she is able to be granted a permanent green card or citizenship. Therefore, it is essential to disclose this goal when you speak with an immigration lawyer.
Our Miami EB-5 Visa Lawyers Can Help
At Colombo & Hurd our lawyers are dedicated to assisting clients in achieving their immigration goals. After taking the time to understand your circumstances and immigration goals, we may be able to work diligently and strategically to pursue an EB-5 application for you. Even if an EB-5 visa is not a good fit for your scenario, we can provide legal guidance and advice regarding potentially viable approaches to your issue.
If you are interested in speaking with our attorneys and learning more about whether an EB-5 visa is right for you and your family, please call our immigration law team. To schedule your confidential EB-5 visa consultation, dial 305-692-0232 for a confidential appointment at our Miami law office. We can also arrange for a consultation by phone, Skype, or VOIP.