For those seeking to live permanently in the United States, figuring out which visa option best suits their situation can be daunting. There are many temporary visa options that offer people a chance to enter the United States for a limited period of time or subject to certain conditions. Achieving permanent residence via a green card, however, is much more challenging. For foreign nationals with an interest in investing in the United States economy, however, an EB-5 visa may be a good choice to gain permanent residence.
Investing in a business can be an exciting ordeal. As a foreign national, funding a business in the United States can aid you in gaining an EB-5 visa. This visa will help the holder to gain permanent residence in the U.S., as long as they continue to invest in the company down the line. Read on to learn more about this type of visa.
Differences Between EB-5 Visas & Other Employment-Based Visas
Employment visas are permits that allow foreign nationals to enter the United States. Sometimes, an employer will sponsor an employee to perform a task; in other cases like the EB-5, a person will engage in a relationship with an organization by means of making investments, and this relationship will qualify them for entry and residence within the United States.
While most other immigrant visas in the EB (employment-based) category require a sponsoring employer, the EB-5 visa provides the option for foreign nationals to achieve permanent residence in the United States by themselves. It does not require a sponsoring employer and instead relies on the capital investments of the visa holder.
Who Should Apply For An EB-5 Visa?
EB-5 visas are intended for investors with significant liquid cash flow who intend to invest in the United States economy. To qualify for an EB-5 visa, you must have liquid assets totaling higher than $900,000 and demonstrate that you are willing and able to invest in a United States business.
What Are The Requirements?
To qualify for an EB-5 visa, a foreign national must commit a certain amount of money to a United States business. Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), which are often rural or high-unemployment locations, have a lower minimum investment amount — $900,000 — compared to the standard investment requirements. Conversely, any investments that are not to TEAs must be a minimum of 1.8 million dollars in order to qualify for an EB-5 application.
Proof Of Lawfully Earned Finances
Investing in a business is not the only step that an applicant must take, however. The applicant must also prove that the money used for investment was earned lawfully, either through legal work avenues or via a loan, inheritance or other legally-permissible financial means.
Creation Or Preservation Of Employment Opportunities
The EB-5 visa also carries a job creation requirement. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that an EB-5 investment result in the creation or preservation of a minimum of 10 jobs for workers legally allowed to work in the United States. These jobs must be full-time opportunities, and they must be created within two years of the immigrant’s receipt of his or her conditional permanent residency.
How Do I Apply For An EB-5 Visa?
Most applicants for an EB-5 will be best served by seeking assistance from a knowledgeable immigration lawyer who can prepare the petition and arguments, as well as ensure that no vital documentation is missing. The first step in the EB-5 application process is filing a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. The I-526 includes information about the applicant, including personal details and information about the investment.
Review Of Application & Potential For An RFE
After this form and any supporting documentation has been compiled and filed, the government will determine whether the application is accepted, denied, or temporarily rejected pending further information (this may come as a request for evidence (RFE) or request for information (RFI)). If the application is accepted, the next step will depend on the stage of the immigration process the applicant is at.
Filing Of Form DS-260
Some applicants will need to file a DS-260 form, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, to obtain an EB-5 visa and enter the United States. Others are required to file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to change their current immigration status to conditional permanent resident — the condition, of course, being the job creation requirements of the EB-5.
Filing Of Form I-829 After 2 Years
When the two-year anniversary of the EB-5 admission is approaching, applicants should file a Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, within the 90 days immediately preceding their two-year anniversary. USCIS will consider this petition and whether all conditions of permanent residence have been met. If granted, the conditional nature of the permanent resident status will be removed, and legal residence will be granted.
How Long Does The Approval Process Take?
Historically, most petitions tend to be processed over a span of two years from application to final approval and interview for permanent residency. However, current governmental concerns have slowed approval of immigration petitions in general, meaning that until issues such as COVID-19 are resolved, approval may take 44 months or more.
Speak With An Experienced Immigration Attorney
Understanding your options when it comes to immigration can be a challenge, but experienced legal counsel can help. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC is available to help in drafting an immigration petition and achieving permanent residency through the EB-5 category. The attorneys can also assist you with exploring other visa options and helping you through the immigration process. Reach out with any questions and start on the path to a visa or green card by calling 703.273.5500 or requesting a consultation online.