General EB-5 Questions
When and for whom was the EB-5 visa program created?
The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990 under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The program was created by Congress to allow foreign nationals to seek permanent resident status on the basis of an investment in the US economy.
Who may obtain an EB-5 visa?
Any person who can to invest the required amount into the US economy, can document that the capital was legally earned, and satisfies general eligibility requirements (e.g., medical, criminal,typically) is qualified to apply. The investor’s spouse and any minor children (under 21) also qualify. The age of the minor children is “frozen” at the time of the application so, for example, a 20-year old dependent is not in danger of “aging out” during the process.
Must an investor speak English to participate in the EB-5 Program?
No, but it is strongly recommended that a non-English speaking investor should hire the services of a translator to ensure that the investor fully understands the investment terms and the offering materials are reviewed carefully before the investor makes a decision.
Is it required that I have a degree of higher education?
No. There are no education requirements for EB-5 visa applicants.
Must I have previous business experience?
No, it is not required that an applicant have previous business experience.
Is it required to show that I am in good health?
Yes. You must prove that you and any accompanying family members are in good physical and mental health, and do not have any diseases or disorders that may present a public threat.
What is the minimum investment required?
An investment of at least $1,000,000.00 is required for an EB-5 visa. If the investment is made in an area that has been designated a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the investment is a minimum of $500,000.00.
For how long is the “green card” valid?
The investor and dependents receive a conditional, 2-year green card. Before the expiration of the two year period, a petition is submitted to the USCIS confirming that the investment has been made and that ten jobs have been created as a result of the investment. If approved, the investor and dependents receive a permanent green card.
If I or a member of my family is already in the U.S. on another visa, is it necessary to return to my home country in order to obtain an EB-5 visa or permanent residence?
No. In order to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. under the EB-5 program, you do not generally need to return to the country of your citizenship. If eligible you and the members of your family may apply to adjust status while in the United States.
Where can I find more information about the EB-5 visa program?
Further information regarding the application process, requirements, and benefits of the EB-5 visa program can be found on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services www.uscis.gov/eb-5 .
May I apply for an EB-5 visa if I have previously been denied a visa to the U.S.?
If you have been previously denied a visa to the U.S., you may still apply for an EB-5 visa. You should consult with a reputable attorney who can assess your visa history
Can qualified individuals from any country apply or are there restrictions based on citizenship?
With the exception of individuals from countries with which the U.S. does not hold diplomatic relations, citizens of any country may apply for permanent residence in the U.S. through the EB-5 investment program. As long as the applicant is able to leave his home country and has sufficient investment capital, a qualified immigration lawyer can assist the applicant with the process of obtaining an EB-5 visa.
What other requirements are there in order to obtain an EB-5 visa?
To obtain an EB-5 visa, as with any other visa to the U.S., the applicant and any accompanying family members must meet all requirements (e.g., criminal, medical) stipulated by the immigration laws of the United States.
Does an investor need an immigration attorney to submit an I-526 petition?
It is strongly recommended that an investor obtain legal services for their immigration petition submission. The narrative and documentation needed for the petition is extensive and an attorney can assist with the petition, consulate interview and visa processing.
What information and documentation is required to submit a petition?
An investor must apply to the USCIS for EB-5 Visa qualification through the submission of a number of required elements including: USCIS forms, business plans and/or geographical statistics, financial information and other supporting evidence.
What is meant by the requirement that the investor’s assets be “lawfully gained”?
Under USCIS regulations, investors must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner such as income from a bonafide business, salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan or other lawful means.
How long is the average processing time for the I-526 petition and the conditional green card?
Once the I-526 petition is filed, the approximate length of time for an investor to pass the U.S. Consulate interview and receive a conditional green card is approximately 8-14 months. It is important to note that each investor’s particular situation is different; adjudication processing times are often unpredictable, subject to USCIS adjudication delays, and may take a longer period of time.
After the I-526 petition approval, may members of the family have their Consulate interview in different countries?
Family members may interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. However, a student attending school in the U.S. would not have to return to the country of origin; status can be adjusted in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.
Once an investor receives a conditional green card, when does the application for the permanent green card need to be submitted?
The conditional green card has an expiration date of two years from the date issued. Investors can submit their I-829 petitions as early as three months prior to the expiration date. Keystone will supply all supporting evidence regarding the Limited Partnership, capital investment and newly created jobs to submit with the I-829 petition. Once the I-829 petition is filed with the USCIS, conditional permanent residency is extended for one year. An investor should carry the USCIS I-829 receipt notice, along with the conditional green card, at all times.
What is the most common reason for rejection of an EB-5 visa application?
In most cases when an EB-5 visa application is rejected, the applicant failed to demonstrate that he/she had legally earned the investment capital.
Green Card Types
What is the difference between “conditional” and “unconditional” green cards?
Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 Immigrant Visa receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for a two-year period. An “unconditional” or permanent green card is valid for ten years; otherwise the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.
Who receives the permanent residency?
The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 petition filing, may receive a green card.
How long must an investor remain in the United States each year?
The first requirement of any investor after receiving the visa at the United States overseas Consulate office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance from the Consulate. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home.
May an investor live overseas during the waiting period?
The investor may work overseas, if required, based upon the nature of his/her business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the United States as a permanent resident, thereby jeopardizing green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “re-entry permit”; this allows the investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status. Children may remain in school even if the investor leaves the U.S.
What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?
TThere are two ways to become a U.S. citizen: the first way is being born in the U.S. or being born to a U.S. citizen; the second is by naturalization. The first step to becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for five years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is for the candidate to be physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the five years prior to the naturalization application. Once naturalized as a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits, including the right to vote and to hold public office.
Regional Center Program
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 within that area. Regional Centers work to increase export sales, improve regional productivity, create new jobs, and increase domestic capital investment. Regional Centers are designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
What are the benefits of investing in Regional Center projects?
- Investing in an approved project makes it easier to satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 visa program.For example, The investor does not have to worry about presenting a business plan for approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- It is easier to satisfy the job creation requirements in a Regional Center, which is important to ensure that the condition is removed after the two-year period. Regional Centers are permitted to count both jobs that were created as a direct result of the investment and as an indirect result.
- The investor is not required to take an everyday role in the management of his or her investment.
- The investor has the opportunity to pool investment funds with other investors in a project.
- The investor may live and work anywhere in the United States; he or she is not obliged to live in the area where the investment is located.