If you’re an investor or entrepreneur planning to move to America, consider applying for an EB-5 visa. An EB-5 immigrant visa grants permanent resident status to foreign investors and entrepreneurs. It also enables immigrants to apply for a green card and move to the US with their spouses and children below 21 years. Here’s everything you need to know about EB 5 visas.
What’s the Background Behind the EB-5 Visa?
The US congress introduced the EB-5 program in 1990 to stimulate the US economy. The intention was to create employment for American citizens by bringing foreign capital into the economy. This has proven to reap multiple benefits, as thousands apply for EB 5 visas annually.
Requirements for Getting the EB-5 Visa
As an investor, you qualify for an EB 5 if you invest a minimum of $1,050,000 in a US company. Your investment must also create at least 10 jobs for consideration. If you’re investing in a business that falls in a “targeted employment area” (TEA), you only need to make the minimum investment amount. These areas are characterized by significantly high unemployment rates, such as rural areas.
For targeted employment areas, you are required to invest a minimum of $800,000 in a company created after November 1990. The said company must be profit-making, rather than a non-profit or a charity.
You do not have to own the business you invest in. You can either invest in your own company or direct the money into specialized investor funds called regional centers. These economic units or investment companies pool capital from EB-5 visa applicants. Regional centers utilize these funds in mega-investment projects such as apartment complexes or recreational centers.
What Type of Business Qualifies?
Eb 5 visas are flexible enough to accommodate different types of business structures. Your business investment can involve any of the following:
- Sole proprietorship
- Joint ventures such as general and limited partnerships
- Holding company
- Business trust
Benefits of EB 5 Visas
You can easily apply for a green card once you have an EB 5 visa. This also applies to your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years. If you’re hoping to apply for American citizenship, this is a good means to that end.
The ability to live and work in the US without sponsorship provides you and your family with many benefits. Your children will have the opportunity to enjoy quality US education and access to top-quality medical care.
Any immigrant who has an EB-5 visa is not obligated to work for a sponsor company. Visa sponsorship is when another individual or entity takes over your immigration process and covers the costs for you. With an EB 5, you can sponsor a relative to apply for a green card.
How To Apply for the EB-5 Visa
1) Choose a qualified immigration attorney or investment advisor to initiate the process.
2) Select a business or investment project that adheres to the EB 5 program requirements.
3) Invest capital by signing a subscription agreement requesting to join a company. At this step, your capital source must be legitimate and verifiable.
4) Once a general partner at the company accepts, your immigration lawyer or EB-5 regional center then helps you submit a 1-526 form. Also known as an EB-5 petition, this form serves four purposes. It sees to it that a foreign investor:
- Invests in a targeted employment area
- Invests the required capital amount into a profit-making business
- Is set to create full-time employment for at least 10 US citizens, and the number of employees will not fall below 10 for at least two years following the business creation.
- Is involved directly in the business operations at the manager level
The I-526 form must be accompanied by 5 years of tax returns and other financial documentation to confirm that you are the source of the funds.
If due diligence confirms that the said EB 5 project meets all criteria, the final step is to file an investor I-526 petition with USCIS. You then receive your conditional permanent residency or conditional green card. This green card is conditional for two years, after which you receive an unconditional green card. This is equivalent to permanent residency status in the US. After this, you’ll be able to update your residence status by filling out the I-485 form for US residents.
Apply for an EB-5 Visa
Applying for EB 5 visas can be smooth and simple with the help of a regional center model. These organizations manage investment funds and are ready with projects that you can invest in. They also have immigration experts to help you with the application process for different forms. Whether you are interested in real estate projects, financial services, or the health sector, do not hesitate to apply for an EB-5 visa and invest in the US.