If you are in need of a green card to travel and live in the United States, there are many different ways with which to do so. One that may have interested you is the EB-5 Visa Program. There are several benefits to obtaining a green card through the EB-5. In this article we will discuss precisely what the EB-5 Visa Program is, what it entails, and the steps you need to follow in order to acquire one.
What is the EB-5 Visa Program?
The EB-5 Visa Program, also called the EB-5 Visa Investor Program, is a program for entrepreneurs and new business owners looking to start a new business abroad. It was created with the purpose of stimulating the U.S. economy by creating jobs for U.S. citizens.
There are several perks to having the investor visa. The biggest benefit is that your spouse and children (unmarried dependents under age 21) do not need to obtain their own visas. They will be able to travel freely and live with you in the U.S. under your EB-5 visa.
However, there are certain qualifications that you must meet to qualify for permanent status under the EB-5 Visa. First, you must invest either $500,000 or $1 million (depending on the project and where you are located) in a U.S. business. Your business must also create at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. citizens.
How to Get an EB-5 Visa
In addition to the requirements mentioned above, there are many other qualifications and requirements for first obtaining the EB-5 visa, and eventually requesting permanent green card status under this program.
- Find a Business to Invest In
- Start the Investment Process
- Conditional Permanent Residency
- Unconditional Permanent Residency
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The first thing you need to do is find an EB-5 business project to invest in. Make sure to do the proper research so you can find the business project that best fits your and your family’s needs.
You can either form your own new business venture, or invest in a regional center project. The USCIS has a list of approved regional centers that you can invest in.
You need to make sure you meet certain income requirements, and the investment must be an “at risk” investment, meaning that the investment is made without any guarantees of loss or gain.
Once you make your selection, it is time to start the investment process. The first step with that is to make the initial capital investment. If the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the necessary capital investment is $500,000. If the project is located outside of TEAs, then your investment will be at least $1 million.
An immigration attorney will then file an I-526 petition to the USCIS, providing proof of your investment. It can take anywhere between 12-18 months for the USCIS to make a decision on your petition. If the petition is denied, the regional center you invested in should refund your investment.
Upon approval of your I-526 petition, you will be eligible to obtain a conditional two year residency in the U.S. There are two ways to do this, depending on whether you already have lawful status in the U.S.
If you do have lawful status in the U.S., you must file form I-485 to adjust your U.S. status to conditional permanent resident. If you do not have lawful status, you need to file for an immigrant visa with the National Visa Center using form DS-230, which will be processed through the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
For either step you will need an immigration attorney to help you, and it should take no longer than 12 months (sometimes less) to get your immigrant visa. To keep your conditional residency, you must remain in the U.S. for the entire two years.
The final step is to become an unconditional permanent resident of the U.S. In order to do this, you must submit an I-829 petition to the USCIS days before your conditional residency is set to expire..
This will prove to the USCIS that you have met all requirements as an investor in the EB-5 visa program. Once approved, a green card will be issued (which should take roughly six to eight months), and your conditional residency will be removed, allowing you and your family to live in the U.S. permanently. Then, in five years’ time, you will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Get Help from an Immigration Attorney
Obtaining an EB-5 Visa may seem like a straightforward process, but it is one that will take a lot of time, effort, and money to get rolling, so have patience.
You will need an immigration attorney for many of the steps, please contact someone at Pride Immigration once you are ready to get started. We are also willing to talk to you about any questions or concerns you may have about the whole EB-5 Visa Program.