EB-5 Visas and the US Immigrant Investor Program: Everything You Need to Know

Are you interested in obtaining an EB-5 visa and learning more about the US Immigrant Investor Program? The EB-5 visa is a great way to gain permanent residency in the United States. The US Immigrant Investor Program can be a powerful tool for those looking to take advantage of its benefits. In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the specifics of the EB-5 visa and the US Immigrant Investor Program, so you can make an informed decision on whether this program is right for you.

EB-5 Visas and the US Immigrant Investor Program: Everything You Need to Know

The EB-5 Visa is a U.S. Immigrant Investor Program that provides foreign nationals with a path to permanent residence in the United States. It is an attractive option for those interested in achieving citizenship by investing in the American economy. This blog post will provide a comprehensive overview of the EB-5 Visa and the US Immigrant Investor Program, covering topics such as eligibility requirements, application process, and potential benefits. Then, you can just read on to learn everything you need to know about the EB-5 Visa and the US Immigrant Investor Program.

In other words, The EB5 Visa is the US’s version of a Golden Visa. It allows the holder to live, work, pursue education or retire in the US without finding an employer.

As with other Golden Visa types, if you wish to get a US EB-5 visa, you must make a substantial investment in the US. So, this visa is suitable for wealthy internationals with an eye on a Green Card or American citizenship.

What is an EB-5 visa?

The EB-5 visa, also known as the US Immigrant Investor Program, is an employment-based visa that allows foreign investors to gain permanent residency in the United States. To qualify for an EB-5 visa, an applicant must invest a minimum of $1 million (or $500,000 in certain targeted employment areas) in a new or existing business in the United States and create at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
To apply for an EB-5 visa, applicants must file Form I-526 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In addition, applicants must provide evidence of their investment, demonstrate their ability to generate job creation, and demonstrate that they meet all other program requirements. Once their application is approved, they will receive an immigrant visa and can move to the United States. Once in the United States, the EB-5 investor will have the right to work and live permanently in the United States with their family.

EB-5 Visa in a nutshell:

  • To receive this visa, you must invest at least $900,000 in a US enterprise and create at least 10 American jobs.
  • If you are eligible for the EB-5 Visa, you receive a Green Card and are allowed to live in the US.
  • You can include your dependent family members in the application. This means your spouse and children also get Green Cards.
  • The US only issues 10,000 EB-5 Investment Visas per year. This also includes the visas issued to family members.

To get assistance with the required paperwork and procedures of getting a Golden Visa for the US, it is advisable to hire legal representatives specializing in residency-by-investment programs.  

Who is eligible for an EB-5 visa?

The EB-5 visa is available to those looking to invest in the United States. To be eligible, you must:
• Have an approved source of funds either from legitimate business activity or through a lawful basis of capital such as a loan.
• Invest at least $500,000 or $1 million into a qualified commercial enterprise in the United States.
• Create at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years (or within a reasonable time for certain targeted employment areas).
• Demonstrate that the funds are lawfully obtained and will not be used for illegal activities.
To apply for an EB-5 visa, you must submit Form I-526, Petition for Alien Entrepreneur. This form must include detailed evidence of your investment, such as proof of capital, a business plan, and evidence of job creation. You will also need financial and supporting documentation to prove your eligibility. Once your application is approved, you may proceed to the final step of applying for an EB-5 visa - filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjust Status.

EB-5 Visa Investment Options

There are two investment options which make you eligible for an EB-5 Visa:

  • Investing at least $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). Investing in a rural area with a high unemployment rate in a government-approved program.
  • Direct investment of at least $1.8 million outside a TEA. You can invest in another company/enterprise of your choice or create your own company in the US, but you must make sure it meets the USCIS requirements.

EB-5 Visa Investment in Regional Centers

The USCIS has several Regional Centers across the country, which aim to promote economic growth in certain areas in the US.  You can find the list of Approved EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Centers here.

If you invest in a TEA, you must demonstrate that at least ten jobs were directly or indirectly generated due to your investment. Jobs created as a consequence of commercial firm investment are known as indirect jobs since the individuals hired work for other businesses. These positions may be found throughout the business enterprise's supply chain.

Since most applicants are more interested in the immigration component of their investments than the money return, most EB-5 applications are submitted through Regional Centers.

Direct Investment EB-5 Visa

A direct EB-5 investment entails starting a business in the US or buying an established one. However, you will be required to make a more significant investment—at least twice as much—because the investment is outside the TEA that USCIS has permitted.

Furthermore, you need to demonstrate that your investment or business directly produced at least ten new employees, and you need to have a direct part in the industry.

Requirements for EB-5 Visa Investment

Here are the primary requirements for an EB-5 Visa investment are:

  •     It must meet the minimum capital amount. Either $900,000 in a TEA or $1.8 million outside TEAs.
  •     It must create at least ten new full-time jobs for at least two years. If you cannot prove immediately that the investment mandated the positions, you should be able to prove that the need for at least ten new full-time employees will arise.
  •     The money you invest must have been acquired legally.
  •     The USCIS must approve the investment.
  •     The enterprise you invest in must be a “for-profit” new commercial e established after 1990.
  •     The money you invest must be considered “at-risk, " meaning there is no guarantee of capital return.

You'll need to select the enterprise you want to invest in or through a regional center. Due to the investment, you may need legal representatives to help you through the process.

Due to the investment, you may need legal representatives to help you through the process. However, if you are still determining whether your potential investment meets the requirements of the EB-5 Visa, you can schedule a consultation appointment with La Vida. They will employ their expertise in the field to provide you with the best options.

After you've settled your investment, you'll need to gather the necessary evidence and submit the EB-5 Visa application.

Apply for an EB-5 Visa?

Once you have settled your investment, the process for applying for an EB-5 Visa is as follows:

  • You apply to the USCIS using Form I-526, essentially the application form for an Investment Visa. The USCIS may update the address to which you must submit the form, so you should check their website.
  • The USCIS reviews the application and sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC).
  • The NVC contact you and ask you to pay the relevant fees and submit the required documents. The NVC informs you where and how to pay the price.
  • You apply for an Immigrant Visa and enter an interview at the US Embassy. The NVC will inform you where and when the discussion will take place and what documents you should bring.
  • If everything goes accordingly, the US Embassy will issue your Immigrant Investor Visa (i.e., the two-year Green Card).
  • If you are already in the US, you must file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) with the USCIS instead of applying at a US Embassy.

The most important thing to remember when applying for this type of visa 

Remember that the application procedure may vary based on where you live. So, if you're not in the US, the US Embassy in your nation should be your first port of call. They are probably the most knowledgeable about the prerequisites and application procedure.

Many applicants opt to employ attorneys to assist with the EB-5 visa application process due to the size of the money at stake.

How Long Does the EB-5 Visa Process Take?

The EB-5 visa process can be lengthy, with the average processing time ranging from 6 to 18 months. However, the amount of time can vary greatly depending on various factors, such as how quickly you can submit all required documents, your particular situation, and the specific visa type you are applying for.
When applying for an EB-5 visa, several steps need to be taken. The first step is to determine your eligibility for the program by submitting evidence of the required qualifications. After that, you must file an I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Once the I-526 petition is approved, you will need to either wait for your priority date to become current or file a separate application for adjustment status. After that, you must apply for an EB-5 visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. Finally, if approved, you will be granted an EB-5 access and can enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
Overall, it is essential to be aware that the entire EB-5 visa process can take several months and potentially even more than a year, depending on various factors. Therefore, planning and giving yourself plenty of time to complete all necessary steps is essential. Suppose you have questions about the process or want to learn more about applying for an EB-5 visa. In that case, it is best to seek professional advice from an immigration attorney or other trusted legal professional.

Documents Required for EB-5 Visa Application

When applying for an EB-5 Visa, the USCIS will ask you to prove your investment meets their requirements. The documents you have to submit include the following:

  • Documentary evidence that you have either invested or are in the process of investing in a for-profit new commercial enterprise established after 1990; or
  • Purchased a for-profit new commercial enterprise established before 1990 but reorganized so that a new enterprise results; or
  • Invested in a for-profit new commercial enterprise established before 1990, but your investment resulted in at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees.
  • Evidence that you will manage or oversee the new enterprise.
  • Evidence that your investment has led to at least ten new full-time jobs – directly or indirectly. Or submit a comprehensive business plan showing that at least ten new positions will be required if they are not.
  • Evidence that you intend to keep the new employees for at least two years.
  • Proof you have made the minimum required investment:
  • Proof that your investment money was obtained lawfully. E.g.:
    • Foreign business registration records
    • Corporate, partnership, or personal tax returns
    • Proof of any other source of capital
  • Proof of any pending civil or criminal actions against you from a court in or outside the USA from the previous 15 years (if applicable).

The benefits of the EB-5 visa

The EB-5 visa program offers several benefits to those who qualify for this program. For example, the visa allows immigrants to become permanent residents in the US. With it comes to access to employment opportunities, social security benefits, and the ability to travel freely between the US and their home countries. Additionally, the EB-5 visa is considered a “green card,” meaning it allows the immigrant to gain legal permanent residence in the US and obtain US citizenship after five years.
The most attractive benefit of the EB-5 visa is that it does not require an offer of employment. Instead, the visa is offered through an investment in a commercial enterprise in the US, so all that is needed is the right amount of capital and the right business plan. This makes the visa particularly appealing to entrepreneurs who are looking to start or invest in a business in the US.

Receiving an EB-5 Visa means you can:

  •     Live, work, and study in the US, as can your family members.
  •     Get a Green Card, which you can renew continuously.
  •     Apply for American citizenship a few years down the line. This will give you access to one of the strongest passports in the world.
  •     Travel in and out of the US, applying for a visa.
  •     Travel to other countries which allow visa-free passage to Green Card holders.
  •     Get your capital investment back if you invested wisely.
  •     Get access to American health is known as one of the best in the world.
  •     Travel visa-free to 9 countries.

How Long Can I Stay in the US With an EB-5 Visa?

You will be granted "conditional residence" when acquiring a Green Card through EB-5 Investment. This indicates that you have two years to live, work, and study in the US while holding a valid Green Card. You can only leave the nation for a year if you lose your residency.

You can apply for "unconditional/permanent residency," also known as a 10-year Green Card that you can constantly renew after two years with a "conditional residency" Green Card.

With an EB-5 visa, am I allowed to live anywhere in the US?

You can live and work wherever you wish in the US if granted an EB-5 visa. You do not need to reside in the same State as the State in which you make your investment if you made it through a Regional Center.

However, if you made a direct investment, you need to be close to the firm you invested in as you would need to demonstrate your involvement in the business.

Family Members of EB-5 Visa Holders

If you are approved for an EB-5 Visa, the family members that can join you in the US are:

  • Your spouse. Your spouse is eligible for both conditional and permanent residency along with you, provided that you were married when you entered the US as a resident or changed your status from a conditional resident to a permanent resident after two years. Same-sex spouses also qualify. A common-law spouse does not qualify.
  • Your children. You can bring any children under the age of 21 along with you, and they will be eligible for conditional or permanent residence. This includes birth children, adopted children, as well as step-children. You must be able to prove legitimate parent lineage. If your child is under the age of 21 but they are married, they do not qualify for the visa.

Can I Get an EB-5 Visa and American Citizenship?

Yes, if you receive an EB-5 visa, you can apply to become an American citizen. After five years of "unconditional residency," you may petition for citizenship (the 10-year Green Card). Before submitting an application for citizenship, you must have lived in the US for a minimum of seven years.

Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an EB5 Visa?

Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an EB5 Visa?

You will have access to healthcare in the United States as an EB5 visa holder. However, the costs of getting medical treatment in the US are among the highest in the world.

Treating a broken leg or arm will cost you $2,500, while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000, on average. So you should pick a health insurance plan that fits you best, is affordable, and covers your needs.

EB-5 Visa Cost

The actual EB-5 Visa application costs $3,675 for yourself and any applicants. Naturally, in addition to the $900,000 you invest and any other administrative fees, such as:

  • Form DS-260 processing fee
  • Medical examination fees
  • Fees to obtain supporting documents
  • Any translation fees from a foreign language to English
  • Any fees you pay to acquire legal help during the investment process

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The EB-5 visa is an excellent option for those looking to immigrate to the United States. Investors can obtain permanent residency status for themselves and their families by investing in a qualifying project. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this visa program, you may wonder how to apply for an EB-5 visa - US Immigrant Investor Program. To begin the application process, you must fill out the necessary forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and provide the required documentation. After completing these steps, you will apply and wait to hear back from USCIS. It’s important to note that the entire process can take anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on the situation. With the proper preparation, though, you can ensure a successful outcome. Good luck!