The EB-5 Visa and permanent residence process involves several steps. First, the investor decides what EB-5 project to invest in. Once the project has been identified, the investor usually makes a refundable deposit based on the deposit agreement. Upon making the deposit, the investor is given a certain period of time to decide whether they desire to complete the investment in the project. If so, then the remaining amount is due. If not, the deposit is returned in accordance with the deposit agreement.
Assuming the immigrant investor proceeds with the project, the I-526 is filed by the their immigration attorney. If approved, the business investor, in conjunction with their immigration attorney, chooses between a consular process or file adjustment of status to receive the conditional residency.
It is important to note that the residency is conditional and granted for a period of twenty four (24) months. Twenty one (21) months after permanent residency is granted the investor will file for removal of the conditions and to become a permanent residence. This will be granted if: (a) the investment remains at risk and (b) the ten (10) jobs were created. After approval, the investor now has permanent residence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Must I have previous business experience or education?
No. As an investor, you are not required to have any prior business experience.
Must I speak English?
Must I be in good health?
Yes, in general good health.
What are the benefits of an EB-5 green card?
Each person desires a permanent residence in the us for a different reason. A green card with the EB-5 investor program provides many benefits that accomplishes these goals:
- Legal permanent residents under the EB-5 investor program enjoy many of the same benefits as United States citizens.
- The U.S. is a safe harbor for your family, as well as your personal and business investments.
- Any member of a family with an EB-5 green card can enter the U.S. at any time and stay as long as he/she wishes.
- Investors have constant and easy access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes.
- Permanent residents travel to the U.S. without the need of a visa.
- Investors may work, live or own their own proprietary business anywhere in the United States.
- The U.S. has internationally recognized colleges and universities for basic education and graduate study. As a resident, the immigrant investor can benefit from lower college tuition costs, as well.
- The cost of living in the U.S. is lower than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and goods in most other countries.
- Students may work in the U.S. while they attend college and continue to work thereafter. This enables the student to pay part of their education while completing graduate and postgraduate studies.
- The U.S. provides many financial, social and education entitlements: public schools, health and medical attention, social security and higher education.
- The immigration investor has the ability to bring other family members to the United States after proper applications and can obtain U.S. citizenship after 5 years.
- Permanent residency requires no renewal or re-application, except for a processing fee.
What is meant by the requirement that the investor’s assets must be “Lawfully gained”?
Under US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations, the investor must demonstrate that their assets were gained in a lawful manner. This requires them to prove that their investment funds were obtained through lawful business, salary, investments, property sales, inheritance, gift, loan or other lawful means. The USCIS is hyper technical on these issues and much documentation is necessary and will most likely be requested.
Can money gifted by a parent or other relative be used for an EB-5 investment?
Yes, provided that any applicable gift taxes are paid. It must also be demonstrated that the gift is an actual “Arms-length transaction” and is not a mere ruse that the gifted funds will be given back after permanent residence status is granted.
What is the difference between “Conditional” and “Unconditional” green cards?
Under regulations, an investor in us projects who is also approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa can receive a “Conditional” EB-5 green card. It must be reissued after two years, subject to removal of conditions. Otherwise, both conditional and unconditional green cards offer the same rights and privileges.
What is a “Conditional” green card?
A conditional EB-5 green card is a temporary green card valid for two years. One year and nine months (21 months) after it is issued, there is a three-month period during which an individual must file another application with the US Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS). It must verify that all required funds have been invested and employment was created – ten (10) U.S. full time jobs.
If my I-526 petition is approved by the USCIS, what is the purpose of the consulate application and interview or adjustment of status, and how soon do I get my EB-5 green card?
Upon approval of an I-526 petition, you must wait for notification from the U.S. consulate in your home country (if you are not in the U.S.) to prepare documents for the visa interview. At the interview, the consulate officer may address the issues and information printed on the I-526 application, including asking for a summary of the nature of your immigrant investment. If you and your family are in the United States, then you may be able to apply for an adjustment of status by filing form I-485 with supporting documents. The application may be filed at the appropriate office of the US Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS). You should speak with an immigration attorney regarding the benefits of both, as one may be less advisable.
What issues cause the greatest problems when applying for an EB-5 visa?
The most common problem area has been insufficient documentation for the source of funds. It is better to provide too much information than too little. Your immigration attorney will most likely request more information than you think is necessary.