Complete Guide to the EB-5 Visa

Posted by Frank Gogol

The EB-5 visa is a special immigration visa that gives a particular applicant permanent residency immediately after arriving in the United States. To qualify for this visa, similar to the EB-4 visa, one needs to invest a significant portion of money into the United States. This permanent residency route is reserved for only those foreign nationals that are rich enough to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars into the country. The purpose of this visa is to encourage investment in the country.

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What is an EB–Visa?

The United States Congress in the year 1990 created the EB-5 immigrant investor program. The aim was to create new jobs in the US and pave the way for foreign investment in the United States. Several investors could, since 1992, obtain permanent residency in the United States immediately on arrival for themselves, their spouse, and any children under the age of 21.

Who Is Eligible For An EB-5 visa?

For a foreign national to be eligible for an EB-5 visa, they must comply with the following requirements:

The investor must invest in a newly developed commercial enterprise established after November 29, 1990. Or purchase a business based before November 29, 1990, restructure it, and remodel it to result in a new commercial enterprise. Or expand such an existing business such that its net worth or number of employees increases by at least 40 %.

What Is The Minimum Investment For An EB-5 visas?

There is no precise amount for minimum investment as of yet. Usually, the applicants that invested in the range of $500,000 and $1,000,000 were accepted as a minimum investment requirement. Still, it was also only accepted if the amount was invested in “targeted economic areas.”

A targeted economic area is designated as rural areas or high unemployment areas.

However, on November 21, 2019, this limit was raised to $900,000 and $1. 8 million. But a federal judge ruled it out in June 2021, saying this rule did not go through proper authorizations to be enacted. Thus, the minimum investment was reverted to the $500,000 to $ 1 million range. This will remain the same until the department of homeland security decides to re-promulgate the law raising the bar higher. Many estimate that it is sure to happen, and it is just a matter of time. Once the new rules come into effect, the minimum investment amount would be revised every five years based on the current inflation rate.

Pros And Cons Of EB-5 visa

Every immigrant visa has a set of pros and cons. The following are the pros and cons of the EB-5 visas.

Pros

  • If you can prove you have enough money to invest and are interested in creating a for-profit business in the united states, you do not need to have any formal business education or training in the field you choose to invest in.
  • Once you receive an unconditional green card, you can choose to continue your investment or choose not to work at all.
  • Your spouse and children under the age of 21 can get green cards along with you without any additional conditions on them.

Cons

  • The EB-5   green cards are initially given on conditions and can be easily revoked. That means, if you are granted a conditional green card for two years, then you have to show that your invested business is running and meeting the required conditions such as employments created and sustained and other factors. If not, your green card will be immediately revoked.
  • You need to live in the US for as long as you are required to in a year. That means you cannot use your green card simply for investments and travel purposes.
  • The number of applications accepted in this category is low due to foreign individuals’ historic misuse and abuse of this provision.
  • Though you can choose to invest your money anywhere in the U. S until you are granted an unconditional green card, you must actively participate in the business you invest in.

EB-5 visa FAQs

Here are some common questions people have when applying for an EB-5 visa.

Do I Need A Lawyer To Get An EB-5 visa?

The EB-5 visas are granted to very few people in a year. It is by far the costliest form of a U. S Visa since you are required to invest a minimum of $500,000 even before you apply for your green card. If you do apply once on your own and fail, it will drastically affect your chances of being approved for any other visa in the future.

Hence, since you can already afford to spend much money, hiring an attorney to help guide you through the necessary steps to ensure you get your green card on time is advisable.

Is There An Annual Limit On The EB-5 visa?

There is a limit of 10,000 green cards for investor visas. There is also a cap on the country from which the applicant has applied. However, historically, the limitations on investors were never reached. But, due to the recent surge in investors from China, Vietnam, and India, they have sometimes reached the country cap for the year they have applied. Such investors are put on the waiting list with their “priority date,” which they gave their first part of the application.

Are You Eligible For A Green Card Through Investments?

There are two ways to get a green card through investments.

1.  By investing in a regional center

A regional center is designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as a place for potential investors to invest in to qualify for the investment requirements. This helps new investors easily choose to develop it since it removes the burden of planning and creating a new business.

However, the risk is these regional centers don’t always deliver on the conditions set by the USCIS for a green card. Your green card can be immediately revoked if they fail to provide.

2. By investing in your own business

If you have come to the United States with your idea and plan to do your own business, you can do so by investing in your own business and being eligible for a US green card if you also qualify for the other investment requirements. However, investing in your own business requires you to invest higher amounts of money than in the case of a USCIS approved designated regional center.

Final Thoughts

The EB-5 visa is a way for foreign nationals to get permanent residency in the United States immediately on arrival by investing a good amount of money into the US economy and creating a given number of new jobs for the American people. This is the costliest way anyone can apply for a visa for residency in the US. It is also the quickest way to get a green card.


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