US Immigrant Investor Program: The EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa allows foreign investors to move to the United States as long as they invest $1 million into an approved business project that will create at least ten jobs for U.S. workers in the US over two years and make an effort to purchase from U.S.-based companies where possible. This visa includes the investor, their spouse, and any unmarried children under 21 years of age who meet specific requirements.
If you’re looking to apply under the EB-5 program, there are several requirements that you must meet to be eligible. First, your investment must be at least $1 million, and it can’t be used as a loan – it has to be given upfront, and you won’t get it back if the business closes or fails.
The EB5 Visa is the US version of a Golden Visa. It allows the holder to live, work, pursue education or retire in the US without finding an employer.
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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.
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What is the EB-5 program?
The United States government created the EB-5 visa program to encourage job growth and economic development. This allows people from outside the US who invest $1 million or more in a new business that creates ten full-time jobs to be granted a green card (permanent residency). Eligible investments include buying a business, investing in specific properties, paying tuition for their children, or purchasing stocks. Investors must also maintain the investment for at least two years before applying for permanent residency.
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EB-5 Visa Briefly stated:
- 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 for obtaining a Golden Visa for the US, it is advisable to hire legal representatives specializing in residency-by-investment programs.
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EB-5 Visa Investment Options
Two investment options 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.
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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.
If you invest in a TEA, you must prove that your investment has created at least ten jobs, either directly or indirectly. Indirect jobs are those that have come as a result of the investment in the commercial enterprise, but the people hired work for other companies. These can be jobs in the supply chain of the commercial enterprise.
Most EB-5 applications are made through Regional Centers, as most applicants are more concerned about the immigration aspect of their investments rather than capital return.
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To qualify for an EB-5 visa, you need to invest $1 million or more of your own money in a project that creates at least ten full-time jobs. It must also be proven that the business is genuine and not just a theoretical idea. Once the investment has been made, USCIS will begin processing it, and it can take up to two years before they decide on your application. If approved, this process can lead to US citizenship!
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EB-5 Visa Direct Investment
A direct EB-5 Investment means you create your own company in the US or purchase an existing one. Because the investment is outside the USCIS-approved TEA, you will have to make a higher investment, by at least double the amount.
Additionally, you must prove that your investment/company has directly created at least ten new jobs, and you must have a direct role in the company.
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Requirements for EB-5 Visa Investment
The main 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 has made 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 enterprise established after 1990.
- The money you invest must be considered “at-risk, " meaning there is no guarantee of capital return.
You must select the enterprise you wish to invest in or through a regional center. Due to the investment, you may need legal representatives to help you through the process.
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How to 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.
- 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 issues 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.
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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:
- 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 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 at the moment.
- 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).
- Your passport.
- Passport-size pictures.
- Civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates.
- Completed Medical Examination Forms.
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How much does it cost?
The investment ranges from $500,000 to $1 million. This amount is what’s called capital investment. It can be in various assets, including cash, stocks and bonds, real estate, and small businesses with up to 100 employees (including ten directly owned by the investor). Once you apply for an EB5 visa with this level of capital investment, the U.S.
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How long am I allowed to remain in the US on 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't leave the nation for longer than a year without losing 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.
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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 might need to be close to the firm you invested in as you would need to demonstrate your involvement in the business.
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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 the two of you were married when you entered the US as a resident or when you 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 American Citizenship With an EB-5 Visa?
Yes, you can become an American citizen if you get an EB-5 Visa. You can apply for citizenship after five years of having “unconditional residency” status (the 10-year Green Card). You must live in the US for at least seven years before applying for citizenship.
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Get More You need to know before Proceeding with the Application;
- USA Immigration - https://bit.ly/usa-immigrations
- Canada Immigration - https://bit.ly/canada-immigrations
- World Immigration - https://bit.ly/world-immigrations
- Employment Opportunities - https://bit.ly/abroad-employments
- Education Opportunities - https://bit.ly/abroad-scholarship-programs
- Homepage explore - https://bit.ly/immigration-center
Achieving permanent residence in the United States can be difficult. US immigrant investor programs allow entrepreneurs and other qualified individuals to seek green cards, giving them legal citizenship. One such program is the EB-5 visa, which can expedite your green card process if you invest at least $1 million in a targeted employment area with high unemployment or per capita income below average. This type of investment may also qualify for consideration if it creates full-time jobs for 10 U.S.