The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign entrepreneurs to become permanent residents of the United States by obtaining a green card by investment, including real estate investments such as hotels, office towers, and condo complexes. Up to 10,000 visas are allotted each year for qualified foreign investors. It should be noted that while the EB-5 program can be a great way to obtain an investment green card, there are some roadblocks involved in the process. In this post, we’ll go over the requirements and process of obtaining an investment based green card.
The EB-5 program was created in 1990 in order to lure foreign investors who could create new jobs that would stimulate the U.S. economy. In order for your investment to qualify for the EB-5 program, it must create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers.
Requirements for Creating Jobs
The 10 jobs that your investment creates or preserves must be full-time (a minimum of 35 hours a week) and held by U.S. workers for at least two years from the time of the investment. The jobs can be either direct or indirect to your investment. A directly related job is considered to be any position actually within an enterprise, for example, a worker in a hotel you purchased. An indirectly related job would be any position that was created as a result of the investment. For example, this could be a construction worker on the project for a minimum of two years.
There are also requirements for the employee who fills the position. Qualified employees must be U.S. citizens or permanent citizens who are authorized to work within the United States. The worker could also be a conditional resident, such as a refugee. You (the investor) and your spouse, children, or other family members do not count as qualified employees.
Requirements of Capital Investment
The minimum investment amount in the United States is $1 million, or $500,000 in rural or high unemployment areas—for the latter, the unemployment rate must be 150 percent higher than the national average. The $500,000 to $1 million investment capital cannot be borrowed.
How to Apply from Outside the United States
If you are not currently living in the United States, you may still apply via consular processing. In this case, you will first submit your Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur). Once it is approved, USCIS corroborates with the Department of State to issue a visa. You will then follow the steps for permanent residency listed in the section below.
How to Apply from Inside the United States
If you are already living in the United States, you can apply for an adjustment of status. Once your Form I-526 is approved and you receive a visa, you will then apply for conditional permanent residency via Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status). For this form you will need the following items:
- Two passport photos
- Form G-325A (If you are between 14 and 79 years old)
- A government issued photo ID
- A copy of your birth certificate
- Form I-693 (Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record)
- Applicable fees
- Approval notice for Form I-526
- Copies of any court records*
- Your I-94 arrival/departure record*
- Copy of parole stamps in your passport*
- Copy of nonimmigrant visa page in your passport*
*Only needed if applicable.
Other Options for Obtaining a Green Card
While the EB-5 program can be a good option for obtaining a green card by investment, it is not your onlyoption. In fact, there are a variety of other possibilities aside from the EB-5 program that can lead to a green card. A competent investment or business immigration lawyer will be able to walk you through the other routes toward permanent U.S. residency and help you to discover which one is best suited to your specific needs. For more information, contact the experienced lawyers at Katz Law Office, Ltd. today for a free consultation.
None of the advice contained in these materials serves as a substitute for individualized legal representation by a licensed attorney with experience in the practice area.