What is EB -5 US Visa ?

The EB-5 program allowed foreign investors to obtain a Green Card for themselves and their family members. This includes spouses and children under the age of 21. This visa would also include the investment of $800,000 into a new commercial enterprise in the US .The USCIS Service Centers have recently received guidance and new instructions for their adjudicators relating to the timing of creating new jobs and explaining the meaning of “full-time” for positions created through the “EB-5” investor program investment.

The average processing time for the EB-5 Visa is six months, and the initial application and petition are usually approved within 60 days from the date of filing. You will, however, have to also wait for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and Department of State to schedule an interview.

Benefits of the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
  • One of the most desirable business and lifestyle destinations worldwide
  • Range of top-tier schools and Ivy League universities available nationwide
  • Efficient route to gaining permanent resident status (a green card)
  • Ability to include a spouse and children who are under 21 years old and not married
  • Minimal application requirements, with no business experience or specific language proficiency needed
  • Flexible physical presence requirements
  • Citizenship possible after five years of legal residence
Requirements of USA residence by investment

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requires that a foreign individual invests into a new commercial enterprise that is associated with government-approved regional centers based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

The following requirements apply:

  1. Fulfil one of the following investment options:
  • USD 1,050,000 into a non-targeted employment area project
  • USD 800,000 into a targeted employment area project in a rural area or an area with high unemployment
  1. Create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified USA workers

After the successful applicants have received a green card, the funds must stay invested until permanent resident status is granted (roughly five years).

Approved applicants will receive conditional green cards for a period of two years. The conditions on the green card are then removed at the end of the two years upon demonstrating to USA immigration authorities that the jobs were in fact created or maintained. The transition from conditional to regular green card does not affect what the green card holder can do in the USA.

Individual applicants must have a net worth in excess of USD 1 million and provide proof that their funds come from legal sources.

Procedures and time frame of USA residence by investment

Applications to the program must be made through the prescribed forms and must be accompanied by the appropriate fees and supporting documents. In addition to the usual personal documentation, the requisite documentation includes medical reports, vaccination records, certified police clearance certificates, and any court records that the applicant may have. On average, applicants receive their initial conditional green cards within roughly 18 to 24 months. The filing for the conditional green card to be converted into a regular green card is done two years later.

Investors’ spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for green cards as derivative applicants and are not required to make further financial contributions but must submit their own paperwork.

Permanent residents can settle anywhere in the USA, but they are limited in their visa-free or visa-on-arrival access when compared to other countries.

To be eligible for citizenship, green card holders must have lived continuously in the USA for at least five years prior to naturalization. They must further show that they have been physically present in the USA for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately before filing for naturalization and must be able to read, write, and speak basic English. Other than a civics test, minimal additional conditions are required in order to obtain citizenship.

Recognizing the importance of encouraging foreign investment in the US, these changes are designed to loosen the overall time frame for compliance with the statutory requirements as well as make it easier for foreign investors to show that their investment has created or will create 10 jobs.

The Immigration Act of 1990 (“IMMACT 90”) allocated an annual limit of 10,000 visas to alien investors participating in the EB-5 “employment-creation” program.  The program allows the USCIS to grant permanent resident status to immigrants entering the United States to engage in a new commercial enterprise: (1) which the alien has established; (2) in which the alien has invested, or is actively in the process of investing a minimum of either $500,000 or $1,000,000; and (3) which will benefit the US economy and create 10 full-time jobs for US workers.

The minimum investment requirement of $500,000 applies only when the enterprise is located in a rural area or an area of high unemployment. The grossly underused EB-5 category only benefited a few hundred immigrant investors during each of its first several years of existence.  In the middle 1990s, however, private organizations emerged offering EB-5 classification to persons investing far less than the statutory minimums, and in many cases guaranteeing no loss to the investor.

Thousands of investors took advantage of these programs, and USCIS approved the petitions. The programs superficially complied with the statutory requirements of the EB-5 program, but through the use of pooled investments, creative financing and balloon payments, generally did not create employment.

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