Who qualifies to apply for an EB-5 Visa?
Provided the investor meets the minimum investment amount and submits evidence that their funds were lawfully obtained, they may apply for the EB-5 visa. This is one aspect that makes the visa so appealing. There are no job offer, family sponsorship or English language requirements to apply.
What is the required investment amount?
For investments located in Targeted Employment Areas (“TEA”) the minimum investment required is $500,000. For EB-5 investments located outside of a TEA the investment is $1 Million. Most investments made through USCIS approved Regional Centers are located in TEAs and qualify for the reduced investment amount of $500,000.
What is a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”)?
A TEA is a rural area or geographical area that has an unemployment rate of at least 150% above the average national unemployment rate. To obtain TEA designation it is necessary to apply through the appropriate state agency in charge of qualifying certain tracks of land as being located in a TEA.
What is the difference between a direct and indirect EB-5 Investment?
The direct investment is the original EB-5 program created by Congress in 1990. It may allow an investor more direct participation in the daily operations of the new commercial enterprise. The indirect investment, also known as the passive investment is facilitated through USCIS approved Regional Centers. The Regional Center investment is unique in that it allows for the counting of indirect jobs under the “job creation” requirement. Indirect investments do not require the investor to have any direct participation in the daily business activities. The majority of Regional Center investments are located in TEAs and allow for the reduced investment amount of $500,000.
What is a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is a public or private entity involved in the promotion of economic growth. Each Regional Center must be approved by USCIS. EB-5 Regional Center investments have the same requirements as the Direct investment, however, they allow for a passive investment by the investor as well as the counting of indirect jobs towards the job creation requirement.
Which Investment path is best for me?
Many factors must be considered when selecting an EB-5 Project. Such considerations include the investment amount, the role the potential investors wishes to have in the business and desired return on investment. Every client that retains General Counsel, PC for their EB-5 Investment are provided the services of a Registered EB-5 Investment Advisor to assist them in the selection of a project.
Why is it important to use an EB-5 Investment Advisor?
The benefit of using General Counsel, PC is that we utilize the services of both Immigration Attorneys and EB-5 Investment Advisors. Both professionals have a specific role to fill in the EB-5 process and the majority of law firms only provide legal services – neglecting to give proper advice on the actual investment.
What sort of funds may be used to make the EB-5 investment?
Most lawfully earned funds can be used to make an EB-5 investment. Such funds include money earned from work, the sale of property, the sale of securities and even gifts. A loan secured on the personal assets of the investor may also be utilized for the investment. All funds must come from a lawful source supported by proper documentation/evidence.
What is the process of applying for an EB-5 Visa and how do I start?
The process begins with contacting our firm for an initial consultation. During this consultation you will have a chance to ask questions and we will determine if the EB-5 Visa is right for you. Once you decide to retain our firm you begin working with our immigration attorney and EB-5 investment advisor to choose the EB-5 project best suited for you and your family. Once a project has been selected we then gather all the documentation/evidence required to prepare the EB-5 (I-526 Petition) filing package. After submitting the EB-5 filing package and receiving approval from USCIS the next step is to adjust status if the client is currently in the United States, or go through consular processing if the client is abroad. After completing these steps the investor is presented with a two year Conditional Resident Card (“Conditional Green Card”).
What is a Conditional Permanent Resident Card (“Conditional Green Card”)?
A Conditional Green Card is a temporary green card that is valid for two years. Prior to the expiration of the card, an EB-5 investor must submit proof to USCIS that their EB-5 investment has created the requisite number of jobs and the investment amount has been fully invested. This process is know as “Removal of Conditions” and is done by filing for I-829. Once approved you receive an unconditional green card that need only be renewed every ten years.
How long does the EB-5 process take?
Unfortunately, there is no set time frame for the EB-5 Visa. An investor should expect the process to take around one year from start to finish.
Are there additional costs apart from the required EB-5 investment?
Investors should expect other costs associated with their EB-5 Visa such as legal fees, project administration fees, USCIS filing fees, translation fees and travel costs.
What is the filing fee for an I-526 Petition?
Current USCIS filing fees for the I-526 Petition are $1,500. Price current as of January 1, 2014.
Can I include my family on my EB-5 Petition?
Yes, each investor my include their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of twenty-one on their EB-5 Petition. This includes legally married same-sex couples.
What documentation and evidence will I need to provide my EB-5 lawyer?
When filing the I-526 Petition we require documentation such as copies of passport biography pages, copies of any US Visas, copies of birth certificates, copies of marriage certificates (divorce decree if applicable) along with other relevant biographical material. We will also need evidence that the investment money was received from a lawful source. This includes evidence such as bank records, contracts, sales receipts and any other relevant material.
Can my EB-5 investment be guaranteed?
No. One of the requirements for the EB-5 Visa is that investment must be at risk. All investments carry some risk, but General Counsel, PC tries to minimize the risk by using the services of our EB-5 investment advisor.
How does the EB-5 Visa help the US economy?
One of the requirements of each EB-5 investment is that it must create ten full-time jobs for US citizens or immigrants in other specified immigrant categories. Along with job creation the EB-5 Visa brings money and innovation to the United States.