How to apply for USA EB-5 visa is a common question for many foreign investors who want to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card. The EB-5 visa program invests in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
So in this article, we will explain the steps and requirements for applying for an EB-5 visa and the benefits and risks involved.
Making a qualifying investment in a new business that generates jobs in the US is one of the key requirements for receiving an EB-5 visa. If the project is located in a targeted employment area (TEA), which is a rural area or an area with substantial unemployment, the minimum investment is $900,000.
If the project is not in a TEA, the minimum investment is $1.8 million. Every five years, these sums are subject to adjustment for inflation.
A direct or indirect investment can be made through the EB-5 program. Direct investment is one in which the investor directly owns, manages, and creates jobs for the company. An indirect investment is one where the investor uses a regional center, a body authorized by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to gather money from different investors and distribute it to various projects. It is simpler to achieve the job creation criteria for a regional center because it can count both direct and indirect jobs produced by its projects.
Hotels, restaurants, manufacturing facilities, office buildings, shopping centers, and other types of projects are among the various types of projects that are eligible for EB-5 investment.
Since there are no assurances of success or a return on investment, the investor should exercise due diligence and extensively examine the project before investing. Location, market demand, management team, financial predictions, exit strategy, and risk factors are some things to consider.
Proof that your investment resulted in creating at least 10 full-time jobs for Americans is another crucial condition for receiving an EB-5 visa. This means that the positions must supply at least 35 hours of work per week and persist for at least two years.
Jobs can be created for staff members of your own company or staff members of other companies whose operations are directly or indirectly impacted by your investment.
You must give the USCIS proof and documents to show that you complied with the job creation criteria. Payroll data, tax returns, company plans, economic studies, and other pertinent papers may be included. When you file your initial petition (Form I-526) and your final petition (Form I-829), you must both present this evidence.
Depending on whether you made a direct or indirect investment, different timelines and types of proof may be required for job creation. You must demonstrate that the jobs were produced or will be created within a reasonable amount of time after your first petition is accepted if you made a direct investment.
If you invested indirectly through a regional center, you must demonstrate that the jobs were or will be created using a sound economic theory.
Creating jobs may sound daunting, but don’t worry; we are here to help you along the way. We have some tips on how to avoid common pitfalls and challenges in job creation, such as:
- Choosing a project that has a strong potential for growth and profitability
- Hiring qualified and reliable employees and contractors
- Keeping accurate and updated records of your business operations and finances
- Communicating regularly with your regional center and your immigration attorney
- Following the USCIS guidelines and regulations
There are a number of stages and forms that you must complete and submit to the USCIS in order to apply for an EB-5 visa. Depending on the volume of applications and the availability of visas, the process could take many months or even years. The main steps and forms in the process are listed below:
- You must submit Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, and proof of your investment and job creation. A filing fee of $3,675 is furthermore required.
- Your petition will be examined by the USCIS, which will decide if you qualify for an EB-5 visa. Depending on the complexity of your case and the USCIS’s workload, processing times may change. The typical processing time is roughly 18 months, although it could be longer or shorter depending on a number of circumstances.
- You will get a notice of approval (Form I-797) from the USCIS if your petition is accepted. You now have conditional permanent residency status for a period of two years. After that, you can move on to the following phase of the process.
- If your petition is rejected, you will get a notice of denial (Form I-797) from the USCIS. This indicates that your application for an EB-5 visa was denied. You can file a new petition with fresh information or an alternative project, or you can appeal the ruling.
- Depending on whether you are inside or outside the United States, you must either apply for your visa or change your status.
- If you are not a citizen of the United States, you must apply for a visa at a consulate or embassy of the United States in your country of residence. Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, must be completed and submitted online.
In addition, you must pay a $345 visa cost per person. Then, a time will be set forward for you to attend an interview at the consulate or embassy, during which you will be required to show your original documents and respond to inquiries. If your application is accepted, a visa stamp will be placed on your passport, allowing you to enter the country as a conditional permanent resident.
- If you are already in the country, you must change your status to a conditional permanent resident. You must submit Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with all required documentation and a $1,225 filing fee for each individual.
After that, a USCIS office near you will schedule an interview with you, when you’ll have to provide your original paperwork and respond to some questions. A green card proving your status as a conditional permanent resident will be given to you if your request for adjustment of status is approved.
- You have 90 days before your conditional permanent residency expires to submit Form I-829, Entrepreneurial Petition to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. You must provide proof and paperwork proving that you protected your investment and generated or preserved at least 10 jobs throughout the course of the two-year period. A filing fee of $3,750 per person is also required.
- The USCIS will examine your petition to see if you qualify to have the restrictions on your permanent residency lifted. Depending on the complexity of your case and the USCIS’s workload, the processing time may change. The processing period is typically 24 months, although it might vary based on a number of circumstances.
- If your petition is accepted, you will get a notice of approval (Form I-797) from the USCIS. You can now live and work permanently in the US as a result of receiving unconditional permanent residence status. Once you have lived in the country permanently for five years, you can then apply for citizenship.
- The USCIS will send you a notice of rejection (Form I-797) if your petition is rejected. Your status will be terminated because you didn’t fulfill the requirements to have the constraints on your permanent residence removed. You can ask an immigration court to review the decision or file an appeal.
A fantastic chance for overseas investors who wish to move to the US and get a green card is to apply for an EB-5 visa. The EB-5 visa program enables investors to take advantage of the advantages and opportunities of living and working in the United States by investing in a new commercial venture that generates at least 10 employment for Americans.
Numerous processes and forms are involved in the application process, all of which call for thorough planning and preparation. We trust that this post has given you helpful knowledge and direction on the EB-5 visa application process. Please feel free to enter the comment box below if you have any questions or comments.
The USA EB-5 Visa is open to individuals who are willing to invest a minimum amount of $1.8 million (or $900,000 in targeted employment areas) in a qualifying business project. Apart from the investment requirement, there are no specific educational or language qualifications needed.
A targeted employment area, often referred to as a TEA, is a designated region with high unemployment or rural areas that qualify for a reduced investment amount of $900,000. These areas are determined by the state or local government and provide opportunities for investors to contribute to the development of economically distressed regions.
The processing time for an EB-5 Visa application can vary, but typically it takes around 18 to 24 months. This duration includes the time required for the initial petition, the adjudication of the petition, and the processing of the immigrant visa application.
Yes, the EB-5 Visa allows you to include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 in your application. They will also receive conditional permanent residency along with you, and after a certain period, they can apply for permanent residency independently.
Upon approval, the EB-5 Visa initially grants you conditional permanent residency for a period of two years. During this time, you must actively manage your investment and demonstrate that the investment has created or preserved at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers. After fulfilling these conditions, you can apply to remove the conditions and obtain permanent residency without further restrictions.