The EB-5 Visa is a program that was created to allow for foreign investment in the American economy. In exchange, the foreign investor is granted permanent residency in the United States. The investment must be at least $1,000,000, and create 10 jobs eligible for American workers. However, in some rural areas with high unemployment that are considered targeted employment areas, the investment can potentially lower to $500,000. This program was created with the specific intent to encourage foreign investment, create new American jobs, and to stimulate economic growth.

Below are frequently asked questions from people who are interested in applying for an EB-5 visa. The process is relatively simple when compared to other, more complicated, visa programs that have a lot of requirements and qualifications you have to meet. Having fewer requirements makes this visa open to more people, so long as they are able to produce the funds for the investment. If you’re thinking about applying for an EB-5 visa, reach out to an immigration attorney for more information and help with the application process.

Who Qualifies For An EB-5 Visa?

When trying to decide what visa you wish to pursue, it’s important to look at all of the qualifications in the visas you’re interested in obtaining. Check them carefully to ensure that you qualify (if you have any doubt, reach out to an immigration attorney). Many visas have work requirements, educational requirements, and experience requirements. When it comes to the EB-5 visa, there are only two qualifications that you must meet. You 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 is that you must be able to prove this money was lawfully obtained and that it’s not borrowed money.

Why Should I Apply For An EB-5 Visa?

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 and 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 to people because it is a direct route to permanent residency, whereas with other visas it can be far more complicated. If you have the money at your disposal, the EB-5 visa is a great way to obtain a visa to the United States.
An immigration attorney after a successful meeting with a foreign investor deciding to invest in his hometown of Fairfax, VA

What Investment Choices Do I Have?

Choosing where to make your investment is actually relatively easy with the assistance of an immigration attorney or another immigration assistance program. They typically will have a list of approved EB-5 regional centers for you to pick from. All you have to do is look at the list and choose a regional center that meets your personal requirements and perhaps interests you in some way.

What Is A Regional Center?

Regional centers are assessed and approved by the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) according to certain eligibility criteria. This mainly has to do with their economic standing, particularly when it comes to the creation of jobs.

Private and government agencies are allowed to apply to be a regional center, however, the process is rigorous. They must submit plans a detailed plan on how economic growth will be promoted with the investment, how jobs will be created, the amount and source of capital required to make this happen, and how they will be able to have a positive economic impact. As mentioned before, if these regional centers are located in rural areas with high unemployment, a $500,000 investment may be all that is required on your part. If that is not the case of the regional center, then a $1,000,000 investment is required.

How Do I Apply?

Compared to other visa programs, the EB-5 visa has a relatively small number of steps. The first step is to make your investment of at least $500,000 to an approved regional center. Following this, you must submit your visa application to the USCIS. If you are approved, you will receive a conditional green card that will allow you to move to the United States. After a period of time and the successful creation of 10 permanent full-time jobs, you are able to apply to change the status of your green card from conditional to permanent. An immigration attorney can help your application process as well.

An office building with a regional center to deliver your investment to begin applying for an EB-5 Visa

Where Do I Send The Funds?

This entirely depends on the regional center you choose to invest in. Some regional centers will require funds immediately, while others will hold your funds in escrow until your conditional green card is approved. It’s very important to make sure the regional center gets the money in full, as the USCIS will check up on the payments – particularly when you decide to apply for permanent residency.

The EB-5 visa is relatively straightforward in what it asks from you, however, that doesn’t mean the process is by any means easy. It can take a long time to fill out the necessary paperwork, collect required documents, and to wait for approval. It’s always a good idea to have assistance in your journey for applying for a visa, and an immigration attorney is where you’ll find it. They can answer any other further questions you may have, as well as help you get started on the application process. They will make sure that no mistakes are made during the application process, and they will take the time to ensure that the EB-5 visa is what’s right for you and your situation.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.