The Immigrant Investor Program or EB-5 Visa: Is This the Right Program for You to Attain Permanent Residency Status in the U.S.?
Foreign nationals who, with their families, dream of relocating to the U.S. are often faced with the complicated and difficult processes associated with visa application. Aside from the various legal matters that need to be dealt with, there are also the lengthy delays and wait times; add to these the experience of many foreign nationals whose visa applications get rejected, usually due to minor errors or filing problems.
The case is different, however, with regard to foreigners who are interested in investing in U.S. jobs and businesses. For these individuals, there is the Immigrant Investor Program, otherwise known as the employment fifth preference visa or EB-5, which will save them from strict visa requirements and time delays.
The EB-5 visa is one of the fastest ways foreign nationals can obtain permanent residency in the U.S. It has three basic requirements:
1. Investment of $1 million for the creation of a new commercial enterprise in the U.S., or $500,000 if the investment is to be made in a Regional Center or a Targeted Employment Area (an EB-5 Regional Center is an organization pre-approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); one of its tasks is to help EB-5 investors and project developers meet the “create 10 jobs” requirement which will help investors qualify under the EB-5 program. A “targeted employment area,” as defined in the website of the AmLaw Group, is “any geographic area that has an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average. . . Every individual state possesses the authority to designate a geographically limited area as a targeted employment area for the purposes of the EB-5 visa.”
2. Prove that the capital used in the investment program is from a legal source and not obtained through criminal or illegal activities; and,
3. Show that the investment has preserved or created, or will preserve or create, the required 10 new jobs for U.S. workers.
After being granted an EB-5 visa, it will take only two years before an investor can request that the conditions on his or her visa be removed in order to have his or her status changed from conditional permanent residency to permanent residency. Approval of this request requires proof that the investor has satisfied all the conditions of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program; proof should be shown to the USCIS as the investor makes the petition for the removal of the conditions on his or her visa.
Besides the fast processing time, the limited requirements concerning age, work/educational experience, and English proficiency, the investor can also bring his or her spouse and unmarried children (below 21 years old) in the U.S. and enjoy the privilege of finding work or attending schools.
The Immigrant Investor Program is not for everyone, and not all those who qualify in the program find success. Thus, before making any investment, it is important that a foreign national fully understands the EB-5 visa requirements and the investment options that will help him or her satisfy the program’s requirements, the only way which will earn for him or her a permanent residency status. In connection to this, seeking assistance from an EB-5 visa lawyer may prove to be an advantageous move.