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Looking into EB-5: Immigrant Investor Program

In US immigration terms, getting a green card through investment is called an EB-5. Under this green card process, a foreign national can get a permanent resident card through a business investment that will create employment. Very broadly, through the establishment of a new commercial enterprise, one can enjoy lawful permanent resident status. The enterprise, however, must create full-time jobs for ten or even more citizens, authorized immigrants, or permanent residents of the U.S.

A total of 10,000 visas annually can be given to those who seek permanent resident status through EB-5. Half of these or 5,000 visas are allotted for those with applications under a regional center (R.C.) pilot program. An R.C. is an organization, entity, or agency approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The center must focus on one specific area in the U.S. and must promote growth in the economy utilizing export sales, regional productivity, employment, and domestic capital investment.

Generally, an “alien investor” must be able to demonstrate that:

  • the investment is qualified and will be put up in a commercial enterprise within an R.C., and,
  • at least ten new jobs will come from the enterprise, even if indirectly through increased exports, domestic investments, or regional productivity

Following immigration laws, an investor (plus spouse and any unmarried children) may use his or her investment to apply for permanent resident status. That is if capital has been or will be invested in an enterprise that will boost the economy and provide jobs for those qualified. Check your eligibility before applying for a green card under EB-5. Look into the following:

1. The new enterprise is established through:

  • the creation of an original business
  • the purchase of any existing business, which was restructured or reorganized for the new enterprise
  • the expansion of an existing business that lost 20% of its net worth in the past year or two

Immigrant Investor2. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the standard minimum investment is $1.8 million. In a targeted employment area (TEA), the minimum is $900,000, both of which can be adjusted every five years.

3. The enterprise will create jobs for at least ten individuals or, for a troubled business, will maintain the pre-investment level number of employees for a minimum period of two years.

Immigration law is complex yet flexible to a certain extent. There are many ways to change your immigration status, become a green card holder, or even eventually be granted US citizenship. Patience in each step is the key. If you are qualified to apply for a green card under EB-5, get an experienced Immigration lawyer to help you in each of the following:

1. Filing the green card application

An investor should file CIS Form I-526 at the service center covering the area of the new enterprise. Supporting documentation must show that the investment meets the following requirements:

  • a new commercial enterprise is established
  • the minimum capital amount is invested
  • it is proven that the investment is from lawful fund sources
  • the requisite number of employment opportunities are created
  • it is demonstrated that the investor is currently an active participant in the business
  • employment is created in a TEA, if applicable

An approved petition is forwarded by the USCIS Office to the National Visa Center, which will notify you once an immigrant visa number is available.

2. Obtaining Conditional Resident Status

Before proceeding to the next step, make sure to consult with your immigration attorney. Upon approval of Form I-526, the person immigrating should do either of these:

  • If residing within the U.S., file CIS Form I-485 from the USCIS 
  • If residing outside the country, apply for an immigrant visa at the consulate

3. Removing Conditions on Permanent Residence

This is the latter part of the immigration process. At this point, an eligible alien investor who wishes to become a lawful permanent resident should file CIS Form I-829. This should be done 90 days before the end of the two years when he or she is a conditional resident.

Do you intend to become a permanent resident by putting up a business? Talk to an immigration attorney from a reputable immigration law firm today!

Citizenship and immigration is not something you should take lightly. With one wrong move, you may not only have lesser chances of getting a green card; you might even face deportation to your home country.

Citizenship concerns and immigration services are our areas of expertise. If you are foreign national planning to immigrate or if you have questions about EB-5, naturalization, permanent residency, adjustment of status, or green cards in general, contact our immigration lawyers at Amlaw Group firm right now.

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