For foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States, the EB-5 visa is a way to make a potentially profitable investment while working towards American citizenship. This investment visa opportunity is available for qualified applicants who make large investments of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in the United States, and who meet other criteria. The EB5 Visa lawyers of Colombo & Hurd have assisted hundreds of investors obtain EB-5 visas and are highly skilled at navigating the process on behalf of their clients.
What is an EB-5 Visa?
An EB-5 visa is a specialized immigrant visa designed to allow foreign entrepreneurs and their dependents reside in the United States to manage large investments. The primary criteria for an EB-5 visa is the investment of either $500,000 in a targeted employment area or $1,000,000 anywhere in the United States. The investment must also create full-time employment for at least 10 American workers.
This type of visa is highly sought-after, as it direct path to American citizenship for the investor and his or her dependents. Qualifying for an EB-5 visa also requires complying with a complex application process. Working with an experienced Orlando EB-5 visa lawyer can help facilitate the undertaking for foreign investors.
Benefits of an EB-5 Visa
In comparison to other immigrant visas, the EB-5 investor visa has numerous advantages. One of the most important benefits of the EB-5 visa is that unlike other investment and employment visas, the EB-5 visa can lead directly to U.S. citizenship. The EB-5 visa program was established with the intent to allow for permanent residency — and ultimately citizenship — to eligible investors and his or her dependents. With other types of immigrant visas, foreign nationals often have to find different ways to obtain green cards (permanent residency status) in order to work towards citizenship. If an investor is granted an EB-5 visa, he or she has a direct path to a green card, and then to citizenship.
In addition, there are many ways in which the EB-5 visa process is simpler and less arduous than other visa applications. Significantly, because an investment through the EB-5 visa program will actually create American jobs, applicants are not required to go through the lengthy labor certification process to demonstrate that there is a shortage of U.S. workers to perform a particular job (as is required for most employment visas). EB-5 visas also do not require the applicant to have an extraordinary ability in business, or to maintain a business in their country of origin. This gives investors the ability to gather the funds that they need in order to make the necessary investment in the United States.
EB5 visas do not require that applicants have family members that are US citizens or lawful permanent residents. This makes EB-5 visas far more flexible than other types of visas, such as diversity visas or family-based visas. If granted, EB-5 visas are initially valid on a two-year conditional basis.
The Two-Stage EB-5 Visa Process
There are two major stages involved in the EB-5 visa process:
- The issuance of the conditional two-year visa; and
- The granting of unconditional permanent residency after demonstrating that an investor is complying with the terms of an EB-5 visa.
A skilled Orlando EB-5 visa lawyer can help foreign investors with each step of the process to maximize the potential for a favorable outcome.
Eligibility for a Conditional EB-5 Visa
EB-5 visas are initially issued on a conditional basis for a period of two years. In order to qualify for a conditional EB-5 visa, an investor must first decide where to invest his or her money, and how much to invest. Under current U.S. law, applicants must either invest $500,000 in a targeted employment area, or $1,000,000 anywhere in the United States. Once the investment has been made in the appropriate regional program and the required fees have been paid, the applicant must submit Form I-526, Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, to United States Customs and Immigrations Services (USCIS). Approval of this form typically takes between 9 and 15 months.
Next, the applicant must be interviewed at the U.S. embassy in his or her home country. At this interview, the applicant’s medical, criminal and immigration history will be reviewed. If the conditional EB-5 visa is granted, the investor must enter the United States within 180 days.
Filing an EB-5 Visa Petition for Unconditional Permanent Residency
After an investor on a conditional EB-5 visa has entered the United States to manage his or her investment, he or she must comply with the terms of the visa in order to remove the conditions on his or her green card. A knowledgable Orlando EB-5 visa lawyers, such as the attorneys of Colombo & Hurd, can work with EB-5 investors to help them understand these requirements and put together a successful EB-5 petition.
To remain in the United States without condition, an investor has to demonstrate that the terms of the visa have been fulfilled, including the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers. An EB-5 petition, Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, must document that:
- The investor has established a new commercial enterprise;
- The proper amount of capital has been placed at risk;
- The capital invested was lawfully gained;
- The investment has created or is expected to create at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers;
- The investor intends to stay in the United States; and
- The investor will be engaged in the management of the enterprise.
It can be particularly challenging to prove that the funds used for the investment were lawfully gained, as USCIS requires substantial documentation that the capital was not the product of illicit activity. If an investor cannot provide this evidence, the EB-5 petition may be denied.
Importantly, Form I-829 must be filed within 90 days of the expiration of the investor’s conditional green card. If the investor fails to file this form in a timely manner, he or she may be unable to remove the conditions on his or her residency status.
Work with a Skilled Orlando EB-5 Visa Lawyer
At Colombo & Hurd, our immigration attorneys have represented clients throughout the world who seek to immigrate to the United States, including investors from Brazil, China, Argentina, Mexico, India, Iran, the United Kingdom and Egypt. While past results do not guarantee future success, our Orlando EB-5 visa lawyers have a strong track record of success in helping applicants obtain EB-5 investment visas. Our knowledge of the EB-5 visa process, along with our understanding of the current political climate and pending immigration legislation in the United States, makes us an excellent choice for any entrepreneur considering an EB-5 investment visa.
The EB-5 visa represents a unique opportunity to not only earn money through an investment in the U.S., but to gain American citizenship for yourself and your family. If you are interested in learning more about EB-5 visas, the experienced Orlando EB-5 visa lawyers of Colombo & Hurd can help. Contact us today at 407-478-1111 to schedule a confidential initial consultation, or contact us online to set up a phone or Skype consultation.