EB-5 Investment Immigration
What is an investor visa (EB-5)?
EB-The EB-5, Green Card through investment, is an immigrant visa category created in 1990 by Congress for immigrants who engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. Approximately 10,000 visa numbers are allocated annually to EB-5 investors.
The general requirements for EB-5 status are: 1) investment in a new commercial enterprise; 2) investment of at least $1.8 million (or $900,000 in certain cases) into the business (effective on November 21, 2019); and 3) creation of full-time employment for at least 10 full-time US workers.
The principal investor and the investor's spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old can all obtain their green cards through this category.
You and your beneficiaries do not need to have a degree of higher education and previous business experience. In addition, you do not need to speak English.
How much money should I invest?
The amount of capital depends on where you invest your money. Effective on November 21, 2019, the standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million. $900,000 is needed if the investment is in the "targeted employment area" which is an area that has experience unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate or a rural area. As per the new rule effective on November 21, 2019, DHS will eliminate a state’s ability to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high-unemployment areas; instead, DHS would make such designations directly based on revised requirements.
What are the advantages of investing through a Regional Center?
These are the primary advantages of investing through a Regional Center:
Investment capital: You only need to invest $900,000 instead of the regular $1.8 million requirement.
Management: Although the investor's role cannot be completely passive, he or she does not have to be involved in the day-to-day management of the business unless he or she wants to do so. So you can live anywhere in the U.S. However, if you invest on your own, you have to "actively" participate.
Job creation: If you invest on your own, you have to create (or in the "troubled business" scenario, "save") 10 jobs for U.S. workers. But if you invest through a Regional Center, jobs can be counted as a direct result of the investment (e.g., construction job), and as an indirect result (e.g., suppliers of materials for the construction job). Thus, it is easier to satisfy the job creation requirements in a Regional Center, which is important to ensure that the condition is removed after the two-year period.
What is the application process for an EB-5 visa?
There are three steps in order to become an unconditional permanent resident (Green Card holder):
Investors will be required to file Form I-526 "Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur" at first.
Upon approval of the petition, the investor and his/her immediate family (spouse & unmarried children under 21 years of age) may apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or apply for Adjustment Status (Form I-485) if the investor is already in the U.S. By finishing this step and entering into the U.S., you will become a conditional permanent resident. The initial resident status of the investor is "conditional" for two years. Conditional Green Card status confers the same rights as the permanent unconditional Green Card.
Within 90 days before the end of your two-year conditional green card period, you must file Form I-829 to request removing the condition. You may apply for citizenship if you have been a permanent resident for 5 years.
I am a victim of a failed EB-5 project, what can I do to protect my immigration and financial interest?
Many EB-5 immigrant investors have fallen victim to scams that have put their personal wealth in jeopardy and taken away their opportunity to attain a U.S. green card. Depending on where the investor is in the immigration process and how much funds have been deployed in the project, the investor will have different remedies available to him/her. The investor may need to work with a group of attorneys, such as immigration attorney and security litigation attorney to secure his best interest.