What is an EB-5 green card?

The Immigration Act of 1990 established the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program to create U.S. jobs by attracting foreign capital to the United States. Every year 10,000 EB-5 green cards are available. There is no quota or waiting list for EB-5, unlike H-1B and H-2B non-immigrant visa classifications, and most EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant classifications where the demand far exceeds the supply.

Almost a third of these 10,000 EB-5 green cards (3,000) are set aside for qualifying immigrants who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center program that Targets High Unemployment Areas across the United States.

What are the requirements for an EB-5 green card?

The EB-5 green card program has three basic requirements:

  • The alien must establish a U.S. business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990.
  • The alien must have invested $1 million (or only $500,000 when investing in a Targeted Employment Area) in a recognized Regional Center.
  • The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers

What kind of investments qualify?

The investment may consist of various forms of capital, such as cash (including a gift or loan), equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents. An investment amount of $1 million is generally the minimum. However, $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a “targeted” employment area, i.e., one that has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate or a rural area.

What are Regional Centers?

Regional Centers are entities, organizations or agencies that focus on a specific geographic area within the United States in order to promote economic growth. Most Regional Centers are in targeted employment areas, TEA, areas that have an unemployment rate that is at least 1.5 times higher than the national average. Regional Centers are designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). The Centers do not guarantee profit or the return of an investor’s principal investment.

What are the benefits of using Regional Center projects?

Benefits include:

  • Generally less up-front investment capital is needed ($500,000 versus $1 million USD)
  • No day-to-day management required
  • The jobs created from the investment can be direct or indirect
  • The investor can live and work anywhere in the U.S.
  • The investor can be retired
  • There are over 45 Regional Centers available for selection

How long does it take to get an EB-5 green card?

The entire process generally takes about 8-18+ months, depending on where the green card processing occurs. Prior to filing the I-526 petition, time is required for the client to conduct a due diligence, obtain source of funds documentation, and make the investment. I-526 adjudication currently takes about 2 months.

Generally, after the I-526 is approved, if an individual is in lawful status in the U.S., he/she can apply for Adjustment of Status to Conditional Residence which currently takes about 12+ months. If not in the United States, he/she will apply for an Immigrant Visa at a home country Embassy or Consulate, which typically takes about 6 months or longer depending on the country. Times may vary depending on the facts of each case.

How much needs to be invested to get an EB-5 green card?

The minimum investment is $1 million for the “regular” EB-5 program. Alternatively, $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a specially designated high employment area. The money can be the investor’s own funds or in the form of a loan or gift, which would allow a parent to gift funds to a son or daughter. The investment may consist of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents.

What are the steps to getting an EB-5 green card?

  • Confirm the source and availability of funds available for your EB-5 business investment.
  • Conduct due diligence on your preferred business investment.
  • Once you approve the selected business, we will advise you regarding your capital investment.
  • Now you are ready to file your petition as an alien entrepreneur with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). We help you petition the CIS to certify your eligibility for EB-5 status.
  • Once you are approved, we help you file for an Adjustment of Status or Immigrant Visa.
  • When you are granted conditional resident status, a wait period of 21-24 months commences to verify that the full investment has been made and 10 jobs created.
  • We help you file an application (Form I-829) to remove conditional resident status at the specified time.
  • A full green card is granted for indefinite permanent resident status and work permission in the U.S. United States once conditional resident status is removed.
  • Your immigration attorney will assist you throughout the entire EB-5 application process.

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