For many foreign nationals, obtaining a visa to live in the United States is a long-term goal; however, it can often be a difficult goal to achieve, as the wide variety of visa categories and requirements may quickly become overwhelming. Employment-based visas are some of the most common methods of obtaining legal permanent residence in the United States, and if you are a foreign investor who is willing to fund a business in the US, an EB-5 visa may be the best choice for you.
About the EB-5 Visa
EB-5 visas are a category of employment visas that focus on those foreign nationals with large cash flow who are willing to invest sums of money into the growth and development of United States businesses. The minimum investment is $900,000, though some investors will be required to contribute as much as 1.8 million dollars to qualify.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
In order to be eligible for an EB-5 visa, an immigrant must make eligible investments into a United States business. Some areas of high unemployment or rural areas are considered Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), and these only require the lower $900,000 investment to qualify. However, investments outside TEAs must meet the minimum of 1.8 million in investments in order to qualify for an EB-5.
In addition to the investment requirements, EB-5 visas also dictate that the business the foreign national is investing in must create or preserve a minimum of ten jobs for workers who are legalized to work in the United States. These jobs must be full-time, and all of this job creation must occur within a two-year span after the foreign national has received conditional permanent residency (the EB-5 visa).
Applying for an EB-5
Because of the complex nature of proving the legitimacy of investments made to United States businesses, most foreign nationals would be best served by working with an experienced immigration lawyer who can guide them through the application and submission process. The first piece of the petition is a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, which collects information not only about the applicant but also about the investment(s).
Following additional paperwork that varies based on the current immigration status of the applicant, it is important to keep in mind the date of the two-year anniversary of the EB-5 admission. Within 90 days preceding this date, the applicant must file a Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. USCIS will then consider the current state of the investments and check whether all conditions (such as job creation) have been met. If they have been met successfully, the conditions on the permanent residency will be removed, and the foreign national will be able to convert to legal permanent residence.
Reach Out for Assistance
Understanding your options for obtaining an employment-based visa can be a challenge, but experienced immigration experts can help. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC can assist you in drafting an immigration petition and demonstrating your qualification for the EB-5 visa. Reach out to discuss your situation and begin the visa petition process by giving us a call at 703.273.5500 or request a consultation online.