It can be very confusing to navigate the details of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) EB-5 (employment-based fifth preference visa) Program. The time taken to understand and use the program to obtain an EB5 visa is well worth the effort. Here is everything you need to know about the EB-5 Program.
What is EB-5?
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program grants foreign investors and their immediate families an opportunity to acquire permanent resident status through investments in commercial enterprises in the United States. While it is a complicated process with many requirements for qualification, all requirements fall under a couple categories. These categories are:
- Qualifying investment in a United States Commercial enterprise
- Creating or retaining 10 permanent full-time positions for workers in the United States
When the requirements are met, the investor, his or her spouse, and any unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for permanent residency and receive a green card.
History of EB-5
In 1990, Congress passed the EB-5 Program in order to provide the United States economy job growth and economic stimulus through the investment of foreign entrepreneurs. The Immigrant Investor Program, a further refinement of the plan, was inaugurated in 1992. Regional centers became an organizing force for commercial enterprises that were approved by USCIS. EB-5 visas are granted to investors involved in these enterprises and their families.
EB-5 Program Initiation
Gaining a green card for both you and your family members relatively quickly is a great incentive to participate in the EB-5 program. There are many entrepreneurial options through the EB-5 program, so it is necessary to analyze what is the best fit for you. Investment projects are available through regional centers or directly on your own.
Independent investment projects must directly create or retain 10 full-time positions, but projects through a USCIS regional center can count indirectly created jobs as well. The capital required by the EB-5 visa program is $500,000 dollars if the project is a targeted employment area or $1,000,000 dollars anywhere else.
Program Filing Requirements
First, you need to file a document called the I-526 Petition. The purpose of this document is to prove that the correct amount of funds were invested and that 10 jobs will be retained or created as a result. After approval of the I-526 Petition, investors commonly retain the services of an immigration attorney to complete the filing requirements. Investors without an immigrant visa need to file Form DS-230 with the National Visa Center. Foreign investors living in the United States need to change their status to conditional permanent resident by filing Form I-485.
Removal of Conditional Status
Effective for two years, the conditional permanent resident status is not a renewable classification. In the last 90 days of your conditional permanent resident status, you must submit an I-829 Petition. This Petition lists proof that the requirements of the EB-5 Program have been met, and when approved, grants the investor and his or her family permanent resident status. Once you have been a conditional permanent resident for five years, you