The EB5 visa program allows individuals to obtain permanent residency in the United States through investing in the U.S. economy. The program helps stimulate the U.S.
economy while offering investors the opportunity to receive an EB5 green card. If you are interested in applying for the EB5 program and getting your EB5 visa, here are some of the steps involved in the process:
1. Determine Eligibility
Before finding a project or making an investment, make sure you meet the program’s eligibility criteria. To eventually obtain an EB5 green card, you must first have the required investment capital, which is $1.05 million, or $800,000 if investing in a targeted employment area (TEA). An immigration attorney will explore the source of your investment funds to make sure the money came from legitimate, legal sources. A clean criminal record is also required to be eligible to invest in the EB5 visa program.
2. Find an EB5 Project
The next step is to look for an EB5 project that aligns with your investment goals. To obtain your permanent green card at the end of the program, you must prove that your investment created or preserved at least 10 full-time jobs. You can invest in a project in two ways: directly or through an EB5 regional center. Direct EB5 investments are invested directly in a new commercial enterprise (NCE). This route allows you to invest in a business that aligns closely with your interests. It is often considered more risky than investing through a regional center. This is because the only jobs that count toward the job creation requirement for direct investments are full-time W-2 employees that are employed directly by the NCE.
A regional center is an organization approved by the USCIS to help foreign investors participate in the EB5 program. Regional centers pool investments from multiple investors to invest in larger enterprises or projects. They generally have various investment options to choose from. This includes TEA projects with lower investment requirements. One of the main benefits of investing through a regional center is the ability to count direct and indirect jobs toward your project’s job creation requirement.
3. File Form I-526 or I-526E
The type of petition you submit depends on whether you are making a direct or regional center investment. Form I-526 is a petition for immigration for an independent investor. Direct investors use this form to prove that their investment meets all EB5 requirements. Form I-526E is the petition for immigration for investors working with regional centers. This form is for those who invested through a regional center to show that their investment qualifies them for conditional residency. The I-526 petitions demonstrate your investment and outlines its potential to create ten full-time jobs in the U.S. economy. An immigration attorney is required to file this form.
4. Receive Your Conditional EB5 Green Card
Once your I-526 petition is approved, you can apply for a conditional green card. Your conditional green card allows you and your immediate family to live, study, and work anywhere in the United States. This green card is valid for two years. If you do not already have an immigrant visa and are not living in the United States, you will need to submit Form DS-260 to the National Visa Center to receive your conditional green card. You can do this at your U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are in the U.S. on a different visa, you can file Form I-485 for an adjustment of residency status. This can allow you to receive travel and employment authorization more quickly.
5. Submit I-829 Petition to Remove Conditional Status
Three months before your conditional green card expires, your immigration attorney can submit the I-829 petition on your behalf. After you’ve provided evidence of job creation, you can petition USCIS remove the conditions from your green card. If you invested through a regional center, they are responsible for submitting proof that your investment created ten full-time jobs. If the USCIS approves your petition, they will remove the conditions from your residency status. You and your family will receive unconditional permanent residency in the U.S. after approval. After five years, you can apply to become U.S. citizens. Depending on the project and its terms, you may also be able to reclaim your original investment.
Get an EB5 Green Card Through the EB5 Visa Program
Participating in the EB5 visa program is a complex, multi-step process, but it can lead to an EB5 green card and U.S. citizenship. Permanent residency with an EB5 green card allows you to work, study, and live anywhere within the United States. Contact an immigration attorney or regional center today to learn more about the EB5 investor program and the steps involved in getting an EB5 green card.