The United States EB-5 visa is an employment-based fifth preference category. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents. This residency is informally known as “green card”. They can do it by investing at least $0.5 million for 5-7 years.
About 10,000 visas are reserved every fiscal year for the EB-5 visa category. These visas are issued to EB-5 investors, their spouses and dependent children under 21.
Each country can take up to 7.1% of the annual visa quota…
Applicants for a green card through investment must invest $1.8 million. Or $900,000 if it’s in an economically disadvantaged, “targeted unemployment” area.
A potential investor is required to file a petition with the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
Upon approval of this application, the investor and immediate family (which includes spouse and single children under 21 years of age) may apply for an Immigrant Visa at the US Consulate. If the investor is already located in the United States, she/he can apply for an Adjustment of Status at any regional USCIS office.
The initial resident status that is granted is “conditional” for a period of two years.
Prior the termination of this two-year preliminary period EB-5 Visa applicant need to file addition documents. THe/she must file an additional short application with the USCIS. This is a request for removal of the conditions. This form is referred to as the filing of the form 829.
The EB-5 visa investors must to demonstrate that they invested and/or was actively in the process of investing the required capital. The EB-5 investor maintained the investment throughout the two-year conditional period. Also the required number of jobs were created. After meeting those condition the application should be approved.
A targeted employment area is a rural area of less than 20,000 inhabitants. Or an area which has experienced high unemployment of at least 150% of the national average. Populations and unemployment rates can fluctuate. It is important that the investor have a good understanding of where the new commercial enterprise is located. Any target area must be a targeted employment area for the whole duration of the EB-5 investment.
To qualify as a TEA, you will need to prove that the investment is:
– Located within a metropolitan statistical area (MSA); or
– Located in an area that has experienced an average unemployment rate of 150% of the national average. Unemployment rate data can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ website.
– Otherwise, you will need to prove that the project is within a rural location.
The EB-5 Investor Program Petition is also known as Immigrant Petition of Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526). The Investment immigration visa applicant must successfully pass a consulate interview or adjustment of status application. The investor and the dependent family members will receive conditional residence status (conditional green card). This condition green card is valid for 2 years to live and work in the United States.
After 2 years applicants can submit for the removal of conditions application. The immigration investor and the dependent family members will be permanent residents – Green Card holders.
There are two investment methods within the EB-5 Investor Program.
Investor invests either directly to a newly or existing commercial enterprise. EB-5 applicant can also indirectly invest into an USCIS approved investment project via a Regional Center..
A foreign investor can invest directly into a new commercial enterprise. In this case, the Investor must be involved in the management of the investment. The invested funds must directly create at least 10 full time jobs. Those job are only for U.S. citizens or other qualified immigrants not related to the foreign investor.
Pooling investments are permitted. The good news, that all the jobs created may be attributed to the investors. In instances where there are non-foreign investors, all the job creation can be attributed to Eb-5 investor.
EB-5 Investor should provide the documentation that trace the capital from the investor directly to the investment.
Also, the USCIS requires that the investor provide certain documentation. This documentation must proves the source of their investment funds was obtained legally. Typical documentation includes the previous tax returns and financial statements.
U.S Immigration is making efforts to prevent fraud. The EB-5 Visa foreign investors, their spouse and any dependent children are subject to a Conditional Permanent Residence status. it lasts for a two year and basically is a probationary period.
The EB-5 primary applicants are required to file a additional petition. The purpose of this petition is to remove these probationary conditions at the end of 2 year term.
Upon the conclusion of the two-year period, the USCIS will then examine the business investment. U.S Immigration will determine whether or not the investor has complied with all necessary requirements.
Submission of the foreign investor application to the USCIS is required to include the following:
Verification that a new commercial enterprise has been established. Proff includes a business license, articles of incorporation and some other documents. Also there should be evidence of transfer of initial capital investment required to purchase or invest in an existing business
Verification that the necessary amount of capital has been placed at risk. This can be achieved through providing bank statements validating deposit of funds into the business account. Aslo by providing documents of purchase of business equipment, transfer of property or evidence of funds transferred to the business account in exchange for shares of stock
Proof that the capital invested was legally gained. Such proof may include such as foreign business registrations, tax returns or certified copies of civil or criminal judgments
Proof that the foreign investment created the necessary 10 full-time employees. This typically can be done through tax returns, Forms 1-9. In case of investment in Regional Center project, it can be done in detailed business plan. This business plan should demonstrate that the business will require a minimum of 10 new full time employees within two years..
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