Immigrating into the US is becoming increasingly difficult as more people worldwide look to move in. Securing an EB-5 green card is one way you can live, work, or study in the US without needing to find an employer. EB-5 investment visas can be complex to comprehend, so you need expert assistance to know which investment program is for you.
Investment Options for Your EB-5 Visa
The US limits the EB-5 visas issued to investors to 10,000 per year. This number includes green cards the immigration office issues to family members.
To be eligible for the EB-5 visa, investors must satisfy one of two investment options, including:
Direct investments refer to creating your own US company or purchasing an existing one. These direct investments often require a higher capital outlay since you can start them outside targeted employment areas (TEA). You must also maintain 10 American employees on a full-time basis within your company to qualify for the EB-5 investment visa.
Investing in Regional Centers
The USCIS segregates some regional centers throughout the US to stimulate economic growth. Such targeted employment areas include high unemployment regions and rural areas. Investors must agree to start companies in such regions and help create jobs, directly and indirectly, to qualify for the EB-5 visa.
You can also get your EB-5 visa by investing in infrastructure projects. The USCIS reserves at least 2% of total EB-5 visas issued each fiscal year for investors creating commercial enterprises for infrastructure projects. Programs your business can engage in include constructing, maintaining, or improving public works.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
All EB-5 visa applicants must be eligible for the visa by meeting all requirements, including:
- Invest the minimum capital amount: Immigrants must invest at least $800,000 in Targeted Employment Areas or $1,050,000 when starting companies in urban areas. The minimum capital amount is adjustable depending on the inflation within the economy. The capital can be in actual cash, personal items, and tangible assets the investor owns.
- Prove your investment creates at least 10 American jobs: Job creation is a mandatory requirement for eligibility. Commercial enterprises outside regional centers must employ at least 10 American citizens full-time. Enterprises within regional centers can create jobs directly and indirectly, but one must show that their company will increase the number of employees exponentially.
- Register a legal “for-profit” organization: For-profit organizations are taxable by the law, so you will be contributing federal taxes. You must register the organization as a commercial enterprise, including sole proprietorship, partnership, holding company, corporation, business trust, or limited liability company.
- Invested money must be at-risk: Your capital amount should not be invested with a guaranteed rate of return.
- Your investment must be USCIS-approved: The USCIS involves the necessary parties in reviewing your business plan to confirm that your activities will be legal and contribute to the US economy.
EB-5 Application Process
Once you meet all eligibility requirements, you can apply for your EB-5 investment visa. Here is a step-by-step outline of the EB-5 visa application process.
- Step 1: Application filing and submission – You start by filling out Form I-526 on the USCIS website. This form will include all your details and investment portfolio for easy evaluation of your intended business activities. USCIS offers some form-filing tips to guide you through your online application. After completing the details, sign your form to make the application review process faster.
- Step 2: Fee payment – Once the USCIS has reviewed the application, they send it to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The NVC will contact you to request the necessary documents and prompt you to pay relevant fees.
- Step 3: Immigrant Visa interview – The NVC will inform you where to attend your interview and what documents to bring. You will get your two-year green card if your interview is successful.
Fees for an EB-5 visa will vary depending on your location and other factors, but the NVC will help you determine your fee. The fee is payable using a cashier’s check, personal check, or money order. When paying by check, you must make it payable to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Getting an EB-5 Green Card
Immigration into the US allows you to explore numerous economic opportunities. You can obtain an EB-5 investment visa by starting a commercial enterprise in the US. The application process can be complex, but immigration experts can help you get your EB-5 green card.