The EB-5 visa has seen a recent increase in the number of applications. This is a result of several factors which include increasing waiting lists for other visas, the EB-5 visa’s popularity as a simple way to obtain permanent residency, lessened requirements for obtaining an EB-5 visa, and the Trump administration’s stricter policies for obtaining other visas. All of these factors have lead to a spike in the number of EB-5 applications received this year, and are causing some countries, such as India, to worry about about reaching their cap on applications. If you are interested in seeking an employment visa, reach out to an immigration attorney for more information and guidance on if the EB-5 visa is right for you.
The EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program was adopted into law in 1990 with the goal of stimulating the American economy and creating American jobs through foreign investment. This is done with a minimum investment of $500,000 into a new commercial enterprise of a designated size. The investment can be made by purchasing an existing enterprise for reconstruction or reorganization to maximize results, or by showing that the investment will increase the network of the company or number of employees by a minimum of 40%. The minimum qualifying investment for this visa program is $1,000,000. However, in areas that are deemed high-unemployment areas and rural areas, the minimum investment required drops to $500,000.
Benefits of the EB-5
There are many benefits that come along with an EB-5 visa, but what attracts most people to this program is the benefit of permanent residency. While permanent residency is not initially granted, it can be applied for after a period of time, usually under 21 months, with the condition that 10 permanent full-time jobs have in fact been created. Some visas explicitly state that while you have them you cannot apply for permanent residency, while others can take many years before you’re even allowed to apply.
Many people are attracted to this visa because it does not require you to speak English, you don’t need business management experience, you don’t need to meet any educational requirements, and college fees are offered at the same rates as U.S. citizens. This visa is so appealing because it is a direct route to permanent residency, whereas other visas can complicate the residency process. If you have the money at your disposal, the EB-5 visa is a great way to obtain a visa to the United States.
Why People are Choosing the EB-5 over the H-1B
The H-1B visa is the traditional employment visa that allows for a foreign worker to be hired in the United States and live there. However, the H-1B visa has many aspects that can make it less appealing to some people. These include experience and educational requirements, a time limit for how long you can reside in the United States, an extremely long waiting list, and its lottery system operation.
The EB-5 visa is different than this because it requires an individual to an invest money into an American business. The only requirements to make this investment are that the funds must be obtained legally, and an applicant must be able to prove they were obtained legally. The waiting period for the EB-5 is usually 18-24 months, whereas the waiting period for an H-1B visa can be much longer and in some cases it is as long as 10 years. Other visas such as the EB-2 and the EB-3 also have extremely lengthy waiting lists, which make them undesirable to some people.
The current administration has also cracked down on the number of H-1B visas, which is why some people have started to look towards the EB-5 visa. The EB-5 is being seen as a better alternative to the H-1B visa. The EB-5 visa does have a cap on the number of applications they will accept from each country, so this should be considered when deciding if this visa is right for you.
Qualifications for an EB-5 Visa
When it comes to the EB-5 visa, there are only two qualifications that must be met. A person must be able to invest at least $500,000 (plus additional costs such as fees and taxes) into an approved program that will create at least 10 permanent full-time American jobs. The second qualification requires proof that the money was lawfully obtained and is not borrowed money.
These qualifications make the visa open to many more people, and as a result there is an increasing number of applications being received. The process of investing in a business is also made easier by choosing to invest in a regional center. These are businesses that have been approved to accept investments from EB-5 visa holders. Additionally, if these regional centers are located in rural areas with high unemployment, an investment of $500,000 is required as opposed to the normal $1,000,000.
How To Obtain An EB-5 Visa
As with any visa, the first step should always be to make sure that you are qualified for this visa. You can begin the process by selecting an investment and putting money in the US securities or establishing a business. After this, you should hire an immigration attorney to assist you in the process of petitioning for a visa. You must prepare your visa petition with all of the necessary documents and then file it. The filing is usually done by the immigration attorney. Following the approval of your visa, you will have an interview at your country’s US embassy or consulate. The form necessary to petition for an EB-5 visa is form I-526. Once this form is approved, you submit the form I-485 or DS-260 to change the status of your green card.
Some see the process of obtaining an EB-5 visa as much easier than having to meet the more rigorous requirements in place for obtaining other visas. All of these factors have contributed to the skyrocketing number of EB-5 applications. Reach out to an immigration attorney for more information and for help on how you can obtain an employment visa.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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