EB-5 GREEN CARDS
The EB-5 Green Card program is an attractive immigration option for retirees, entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, students and other high net worth individuals who are able to make an investment which creates 10 jobs. An EB-5 investor can get a Green Card as fast as one who marries a U.S. citizen. Other relative petitions take 5-15 years. Employment-based Green Cards take 3-8 years.
Here are answers to the most common questions we receive.
What is an EB-5 Green Card?
The Immigration Act of 1990 established the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program to create U.S. jobs by attracting foreign capital to the United States. Every year 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards are available. There is no quota waiting list for EB-5, unlike the H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification, and most EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant classifications where the demand far exceeds the supply.
A minimum of almost at third of the 3,000 of the 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards are set aside for qualifying immigrants who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center program that targets high unemployment or rural areas across the United States.
What are the Requirements for the EB-5 Green Card Program?
The EB-5 Green Card program has three basic requirements:
1. The alien must establish a U.S. business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990
2. The alien must have invested $1 million (or only $500,000 when investing in a targeted employment area) in the business
3. The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers
Who Qualifies for an EB-5 Green Card?
Qualified EB-5 candidates must be able to invest either $1 million or $500,000 in a U.S. business, depending on the program selected. Ideal EB-5 prospects include but are not limited to:
• Entrepreneurs, including those who don’t qualify for an E-2 visa
• Investors from non-treaty countries
• CEO/Managers of a U.S. company who are not an L-1 transferee
• Doctors who have not passed USMLE 1, 2 and 3
• F-1 student who wants to start a business
• Foreign national investors in a U.S. business who do not want to be active in the business
• Individual owners of a non-U.S. business who want to set up a U.S. business, but who cannot use an L-1 because owner intends to close the foreign business
• L-1 applicants from China with cases under Consular investigation
• Parents who seek a U.S. education for their children, but do not want to be actively involved in business management
What is the “Regular” EB-5 Program?
In order for an applicant to qualify under the EB-5 Regular program, the following three basic requirements must be met:
1. Investment in a new commercial enterprise
2. Investment of at least $1 million into the business, or $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a “targeted” employment area (TEA), i.e., one that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area.
3. Creation of employment for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.
The investment may consist of various forms of capital, such as cash (including a gift or loan), equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents.
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 there. Most Regional Centers are in targeted employment areas, i.e., areas that have an unemployment rate that is at least 1.5 times higher than the national average. Regional Centers are designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). The Centers do not guarantee profit or the return of an investor’s principal investment.
The CIS has currently designated Centers located throughout the country. Regional Center opportunities range from investing in real estate projects to dairy farms.
What are the Benefits of Using Regional Center Projects?
Every year, a minimum of almost a third of the 3,000 EB-5 Green Cards are set aside for immigrants who are willing to make an investment in an approved Regional Center. Benefits include:
• Generally less up-front investment capital is needed ($500,000 versus $1 million USD)
• No day-to-day management required
• The 10 jobs created from the investment can be direct or indirect
• The investor can live and work anywhere in the U.S.
• The investor can be retired
There are currently Regional Centers available for selection.
How Long Does it Take to Get an EB-5 Green Card?
The entire Immigration process generally takes about 10-18 months, depending on where the Green Card processing occurs. Prior to filing the I-526 petition, time is required for the client to conduct a due diligence, obtain source of funds documentation, and make the investment. I-526 adjudication currently takes about 6-7 months.
Generally, after the I-526 is approved, if an individual is in lawful status in the U.S., he/she can apply for Adjustment of Status (I-485) to Conditional Permanent Residence which currently takes about 3-4 months. If out of the United States, will apply for an Immigrant Visa at a home country Embassy or Consulate, which typically takes about 6-10 months or longer depending on the country. Times may vary depending on the facts of each case.
How Much Needs to be Invested to Get an EB-5 Green Card?
The general investment amount is $1 million for the EB-5 program. Alternatively, $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a specially designated high unemployment or rural area. The money can be the investor’s own funds or in the form of a loan or gift, which would allow a parent to gift funds to a son or daughter. The investment may consist of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents.
Your total investment will vary with your investment choice, your due diligence, and other factors.
What are the Steps to Getting an EB-5 Green Card?
1. Confirm the source and availability of funds available for your EB-5 business investment.
2. Conduct due diligence on your preferred business investment.
3. Once you approve the selected business, we will advise you regarding your capital investment.
4. Now you are ready to file your petition as an alien entrepreneur with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). We help you petition the CIS to certify your eligibility for EB-5 status.
5. Once you are approved, we help you file for an Adjustment of Status or Immigrant Visa.
6. When you are granted conditional resident status, a wait period of 21-24 months commences to verify that the full investment has been made and 10 jobs created.
7. We help you file an application (Form I-829) to remove conditional resident status at the specified time.
8. A full Green Card is granted for indefinite permanent resident status and work permission in the U.S. United States once conditional resident status is removed.
How many EB-5 Green Cards are Available?
Every year 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards are available. There is no quota waiting list for EB-5, unlike H-2B nonimmigrant visa classification, and most EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant classifications where the demand far exceeds the supply. A minimum of almost a third of the 10,000 EB-5 Green Cards (3,000) are set aside for qualifying immigrants who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center program that primarily targets designated high unemployment areas across the United States.