The EB-5 Investor Visa Explained
Before you take time out of your schedule to apply for an EB-5 Investor Visa, you should first understand the basics and how it can help you financially and as a small business owner. The program was created in 1990 by the US Congress to increase the availability of jobs for those individuals who are eligible.
The EB-5 Visa is available to out of the country entrepreneurs seeking to invest in businesses in the United States, allowing them permanent US residency as long as rules and regulations are followed. Foreign entrepreneurs are then allowed to apply for a green card so that they can live, and work in the United States. They must invest in commercial enterprises and fill out the proper forms in order to qualify for the permanent resident status.
The main rule of the EB-5 Visa program is that when entrepreneurs invest in a commercial enterprise, at least 10 full-time jobs must be created and available to US qualified residents. These jobs must remain in place during the time of the investment also. Entrepreneurs must also provide proof that they are involved in the business either by working there or managing it themselves.
By following all of the rules and regulations put forward by the program, you are then eligible to become United States residents, under certain other conditions. Residency is conditional at first, but five years after your original entry into the country, you are then able to apply for non-conditional residency status, meaning you will be a permanent resident of the United States.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is an agency under Homeland Security and is responsible for overseeing the EB-5 program. In addition, this visa program is often processed faster than any of the other visa or green card programs available to non-US citizens. Anyone considering applying for an investor visa should consider speaking to an immigration attorney for information on which visa program is more beneficial to your current situation.
What are the Many Benefits of the EB-5 Program?
The largest benefit of the EB 5 program is that qualified individuals/entrepreneurs will receive a green card allowing them to live and work in the United States. Other benefits include the following:
It is the fastest way to get a United States permanent resident status.
Allows you to work, study, and live in the United States with no other immigration rules.
Allows your dependents the same freedoms and citizenships.
Your child’s college tuition could be reduced.
There is not outside sponsorship needed.
It gives you the potential for United States citizenship five years after your initial entry into the country.
An EB-5 investor visa allows you to bring your spouse over to the US as well as your unmarried children, ages 21 o younger.
The following will give you the outline you need and the information that is pertinent to your application.
1. You Must File Form I-526, Mandatory
Filling out this form is a mandatory step in applying for your investor visa. But when done correctly, you can move forward with your application. While it is also the most time-consuming step of them all, it is of the highest priority if you want to be approved for your EB-5 visa. Forms can be found on the USCIS website for no charge. In order to continue with your application, you must be able to prove that the investment you have made or are making coincides with the regulations of the EB-5 visa program.
What Must Be Included When Completing the I-526 Form
Your current citizenship.
When you plan to arrive in the United States
Any travel documents you have, such as your passport.
Information on your current US immigrant status, if applicable.
Information about the investment you are making.
Proof of the type of investment made or being made.
Location of investment
Is is a Regional Center?
Is it an employment area that has been targeted?
Your net worth and current income.
Business information including, physical address, registration number, and information about the management of the company.
Information about the jobs you plan to create.
Basic information on your spouse and children, if applicable.
Documents and Information Required for Processing Form I-526
Most of the information above will be needed before submitting form I-526. The exact information needed, of course, may vary depending on your situation. It’s best to have as much of it as possible, to be prepared. Other documents and information you should gather just in case include the following:
Proof that you have or are investing in a qualifying commercial establishment or a regional center.
Proof that you have or will invest in a company that is in the targeted job area.
Proof of your actual involvement in the establishment, whether you are employed there or involved in the management of it.
Proof that your investment truly exists, and has a minimum value of $1 million, except if you qualify for the reduced amount of $500,000.
Proof of your net worth, tax records, business records, and criminal records all to show that you have obtained the funding lawfully.
Proof of the jobs that will be created with your EB 5 investment.
Once you have gathered all the documents and proof needed, you can send it all with the I-526 form either by FedEx, UPS, or DHL. The address to send it to can be obtained from the USCIS website or by contacting them by phone.
The I-526 form must be completed and signed before mailing it out. Incomplete forms will not be processed and they will be sent back to you. This could delay your approval for the EB-5 program. As well as the proper documents, proof, and the filled out and signed the form, you must also send a processing fee along. Check the website at USCIS to find the exact amount needed. Keep in mind that processing can easily take 12-18 months. When and if your application is approved, you will be contacted for an interview, providing that no further information is needed from you.
2. It is Time to Apply for the EB-5 Investor Visa Program
The next step of the process is to apply for the program. Once your I-526 form has been approved, you will then have to get your visa. There are two different ways to accomplish this.
1. I-485 Form Must Be Filed When:
This form is to be filed if you are already a US resident under a different status. You’ll have to file it to change your status to an EB 5 visa holder.
2. DS-230 Form Must Be Filed When:
This form is to be filed if you are not a resident of the US under any status. You will have to go to a US Embassy or US Consulate to apply for your EB 5 visa.
Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to receive your investor visa. Afterward, you and your family will become conditional US residents.
3. File Form I-829
Within three months of your second anniversary of US admission as an EB 5 visa holder, you must file the I-829 form. Once this form is approved, you and your dependents will become permanent residents of the United States meaning that any restrictions or conditions of your status will then be removed.
Requirements for the I-829 form are as follows:
You must prove our investment is authentic.
You must show the jobs that it created.
You must prove what your involvement was in the investment.
There is a filing fee for the form.
There is also a biometric service fee that must be included. The exact amounts can be found on the USCIS website.
The Recap and Conclusion
The information that we provided here may seem overwhelming, so here is a quick recap of the requirements needed to get an investor visa, green card.
- The entrepreneur must invest at least $500,000 in a commercial business or regional center.
- The investment must create at least 10 full-time, permanent jobs for US citizens.
- The EB 5 investment must be ‘at risk’, to receive all of its benefits.
- The investor must be able to prove the money used for the investment was obtained lawfully.
- The investor must prove that they are involved in the company in some way, like management or working there.
For any other requirements not listed here, be sure to visit the USCIS website for a more in-depth look a the information provided here and any other information you might need to go forward with the process.