People who wish to immigrate to the United States usually need an employer or family member to sponsor them. However, if you are a prospective immigrant with substantial financial resources, an EB-5 visa may offer another means.
The EB-5 visa allows the holder conditional permanent residency. This visa is open to people willing to invest funds in a U.S. enterprise that will provide employment to citizens or permanent residents. If you receive an EB-5, you can petition for an unconditional Green Card after being present in the country for two years.
You must provide substantial documentation regarding the source of your funds, among other things. Working with an experienced business immigration attorney could ensure that you are well-prepared for the application process. A Groveland EB-5 visa lawyer from Bennett Law Center could review your documents, verify that your application is accurate and complete, and advise you throughout every step.
EB-5 visas require investment in an enterprise that will create or preserve at least ten permanent, full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Someone seeking an EB-5 could make a direct investment or invest in a Regional Center Project. A knowledgeable Groveland attorney could discuss the risks and benefits of direct versus Regional Center investing with a prospective EB-5 applicant.
Entrepreneurs may choose to make a direct investment in an existing company or form a new enterprise. They must be either the sole owner or co-owner of the business and must be heavily involved in operations and decision-making.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) designates some businesses and public entities devoted to increasing foreign investment and creating employment opportunities as Regional Centers. The Regional Center collects foreign investments and directs them toward EB-5-compliant projects. The investor is not involved in day-to-day operations and is part of a large group of investors who are limited partners. The investing party would also have voting rights, and the benefits other limited partners in the project receive.
A recent change in the law adjusted the requirements for applicants who apply for the EB-5 visa after 2022. The amount the applicant must invest is now $800,000 if they invest in a targeted employment area (TEA) or Regional Center infrastructure project and $1,050,000 for other projects. The change directs 20 percent of EB-5 visas to go to investors in rural areas, 10 percent to investors in high-unemployment areas, and two percent to investors in infrastructure projects.
Once an applicant has identified an investment vehicle for their EB-5 visa, a Groveland attorney could help them prepare and file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition for Stand Alone Investor. The applicant must provide substantial documentation with the petition, including:
During the application review process, USCIS often requests further information from the applicant.
Processing times for I-526 applications can extend for years. During that time, the applicant can put their investment funds in an escrow account to be released upon approval. The investor may not direct the funds they designated for investment to any other purpose while the application is pending.
If the applicant is legally in the U.S. when they receive the I-526 approval, they may request a status adjustment to Conditional Permanent Resident by filing Form I-485. If the investor is in another country when they receive approval, they must go through consular processing. Processing time for issuing a conditional Green Card could be up to 18 months.
If the investor receives the status adjustment or consular approval, they receive a conditional Green Card. They will have two years for their investment to produce the ten jobs they agreed to create in the I-526.
The investor must file a Form I-829 requesting USCIS to remove the conditions 90 days before the two-year conditional Green Card expires. The individual must demonstrate that their investment produced the jobs they promised in their application. USCIS will require proof that the investor risked their capital throughout the conditional period, and investors must produce the enterprise’s tax returns, bank statements, balance sheets, and similar documentation.
If USCIS accepts the proof, the applicant will receive unconditional Legal Permanent Resident status with the right to eventually apply for citizenship. USCIS may deny the Green Card if the investment fails and the investor cannot prove the required job creation. A dedicated Groveland EB-5 visa attorney could advise an investor of possible options if they cannot demonstrate that their investment created ten jobs.
The EB-5 immigration process is a specialized area of business immigration law, and many firms have little experience in this complex arena. Working with an attorney familiar with the process and its risks is critical.
At the Bennett Law Center, our Groveland EB-5 visa lawyers have assisted many investors and entrepreneurs in getting their Green Cards. Call today to speak with a seasoned professional.