EB-5 Visa in Tampa, FL
The EB5 visa is a type of investment visa that is an ideal option for foreign nationals interested in making a substantial investment in the United States to obtain permanent resident status, and ultimately, citizenship. This investment visa opportunity is available for qualified applicants who make investments of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in the United States depending on the location and nature of the investment.
EB-5 visas allow foreign entrepreneurs and their dependents to reside in the United States to manage large investments. To be approved for an EB-5 visa, an investor must make an investment of either $500,000 in a targeted employment area or $1,000,000 anywhere in the United States. In addition, the investment must create full-time employment for a minimum of ten American workers.
The EB-5 visa program began in 1990 as a way of stimulating economic grown in the United States by attracting foreign investors. In exchange for investments and the requirement of creating at least ten full-time American jobs, foreign nationals have the opportunity to obtain a green card, and ultimately, citizenship, for themselves and their dependents.
The Tampa EB5 visa lawyers of Colombo & Hurd have extensive experience assisting foreign nationals obtain this type of investment visa. We work collaboratively with our clients to put together the strongest possible petition for an EB5 investor visa. While the application can be complex, we utilize our substantial skill and knowledge of this area of law to shepherd our clients through the process.
How to Obtain an EB5 Investor Visa?
In order to obtain an EB-5 visa, a foreign national must first make an appropriate investment in the United States, as described in more detail below. The investment must be made prior to application for a visa. Then the applicant can file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If USCIS approves Form I-526, then the applicant has two options based on where he or she is currently residing. If the applicant is living in the United States, he or she can request a green card through the adjustment of status process by filing Form I-485. If he or she is living abroad, he or she can request an immigrant visa through a U.S. consulate in the country where they currently reside. The initial approval will result in a 2 year conditional green card, which can later be converted into a permanent green card.
Investment Strategies for EB-5 Investor Visas
As a Tampa immigration lawyer can explain, one of the key requirements for an EB-5 visa is making a substantial investment in the United States. This requires one of two types of investments: a direct investment of $1,000,000 anywhere in the United States, or $500,000 in a targeted employment area.
Generally, it is more challenging to be approved as a direct investor than it is for investors who choose to put money into a targeted employment area through a Regional Center. In a direct investment, foreign nationals will have to prove on a case-by-case basis that their investments meet all of the criteria for an EB-5 visa, such as the creation of at least ten jobs for American workers. However, a direct investment may still be a good choice for experienced investors with expertise in running an enterprise. If you are interested in making a direct investment, consulting with seasoned EB-5 investor visa attorneys in Tampa can help you determine how to optimize your chances of visa approval.
Over 95% of investments for EB5 visas are done through Regional Centers. These investments work essentially as passive investments with a goal of obtaining permanent residency status. Investing through a Regional Center generally simplifies the EB-5 process as the Regional Center can have a project pre-approved for immigration purposes which makes it far easier for the investor to demonstrate that the legal standards for an EB-5 visa are met. This can allow USCIS to process Regional Center investments more quickly. However, choosing the correct Regional Center for your investment may be challenging, particularly for foreign nationals who may be less familiar with certain areas of the United States.
Another hurdle that many foreign nationals face in being approved for an EB-5 visa is proving that the funds used for the investment arose from a lawful source. Because many countries do not have the same type of banking systems or financial requirements as the United States, this is often challenging for investors. To demonstrate that the capital used for the investment was obtained lawfully, your Tampa EB5 visa lawyer may ask you to provide documents such as income tax returns (personal and/or business) and foreign business registration records.
Converting a Conditional Green Card to a Permanent Green Card
After a foreign national has been approved for an EB-5 visa, he or she will receive a two year conditional green card. The next important step in the process involves removing the conditions on that conditional green card so that it can be converted into a permanent green card.
The Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, must be filed in the 90 days before the conditional green card expires. To be approved, the applicant must demonstrate that the EB-5 investment was made and sustained during the two-year conditional period. He or she also must show that the investment created, or will create, ten full-time jobs for qualified American workers.
If USCIS approves the Form I-829, an investor will receive a permanent (ten year) green card. At this point, the investor is no longer under any obligation to maintain the investment. Because the I-829 process is a separate immigration process that can be complex, an experienced Tampa EB-5 visa lawyer, such as the attorneys of Colombo & Hurd, can assist with this petition and required documentation.
Potential for Future Changes to the EB-5 Investor Visa Program
The EB-5 investor visa program has drawn significant political scrutiny from both sides of the political aisle, as some question its benefit to the American economy and U.S. workers. However, repeated efforts to reform the program have failed, with Congress instead choosing to simply extend it. Most recently, Congress chose to extend the program until September 2018. There have been discussions of raising the minimum investment thresholds.
While threats to the program have caused some developers to shy away from seeking EB-5 funds for their projects, still others continue to utilize these funds for existing construction. However, with the possibility of investment amounts increasing significantly in coming months or years, many investors believe that the time has never been better to apply for an EB-5 investor visa.
Work with EB-5 Investor Visa Attorneys in Tampa
The EB-5 visa offers an incredible opportunity to obtain permanent residency in the United States while also making a return on your financial investment. At Colombo & Hurd, our Tampa EB5 visa lawyers have represented clients from around world. While we cannot guarantee results, we have a strong track record of success in helping applicants obtain EB-5 investment visas.
If you are interested in learning more about EB-5 visas, the experienced Tampa EB-5 visa lawyers of Colombo & Hurd can help. Contact us today at 813-444-1114 to schedule a confidential initial consultation or contact us online.