EB-5 Visas: Immigrant Investors
Immigration visas

EB-5 Visa: Immigrant Investors

The EB-5 Visa is specifically designed to attract foreign investors to the U.S, to create jobs for American workers. It provides a direct route to receiving a green card, granting permanent residency for the investor and his immediate family, including children under 21 years of age.

Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 10,000 EB-5 visas are available annually for qualified individuals who are engaged in a new commercial business. Of these 10,000 visas, 3,000 are set aside for designated regional centers.

During a consultation our attorney will look into your situation and recommend an immigration strategy for you and your family.
ACS LAW attorney and team of experts can help you make sure that the investments meet the requirements for EB-5 visa. They can advise on completing paperwork, building a business plan according to the USCIS standards and if necessary assist you with setting up a company or relocating your business.
The attorney will make sure that the paperwork has been completed properly, build a case and will file a petition with the USCIS. They will coach you for an interview with an immigration officer and accompany you to the interview if necessary.

Who is Eligible?

This visa is available for non-U.S. citizens who make any of the following types of business investments:

1. Create an original business, or purchase an existing business, thereby creating a new commercial enterprise.

2. Invest at least either $1,000,000 or $500,000 into a new business or an ongoing project that will create revenue for a particular city or county;

3. Expand an existing business by at least 140 percent of the pre-investment number of jobs; or

4. Provide investment assistance to an existing business that has lost 20 percent of its net worth in the past 12 to 24 months.

Note that for the first four types of business investments to qualify, they must create at least ten direct jobs for the United States workers. Investments in troubled businesses are a special case, which we describe below.

How Do I Apply?

How Do I Apply?

To apply as an immigrant investor, you must file a USCIS Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, together with supporting documents that clearly states that your investment meets specified requirements, as described in the following section. Once the Form I-526 is approved, you may obtain conditional resident status by filing the USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if you reside within the United States; or by applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, if you reside outside the U.S. To become a permanent resident, you must then file a USCIS Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, within 90 days before the second anniversary of receiving your visa to the United States as a conditional resident.

The USCIS Form I-526 should be filed at the designated USCIS Service Center where the new commercial enterprise will be principally doing business.

Evidence Requirements: New Commercial Enterprises

To apply for an EB-5 visa in connection with an investment in a new commercial enterprise, you must submit the following evidence:

  • Evidence that you have in fact established a new commercial enterprise - for example, copies of the business’s organizational documents or Federal tax returns.
  • Evidence that you have invested the required amount of funds.
  • Evidence that you have sustained your investment in the new commercial enterprise throughout your two-year period of conditional permanent residence - for example:

    • Business invoices and receipts.
    • Bank statements.
    • Contracts.
    • Business licensees.
    • Audited or reviewed financial statements.
    • Complete copies of Federal or State income tax returns or quarterly tax statements.
  • Evidence of the number of full-time employees at the beginning of your business and at present. Examples of such evidence include:

    • Business payroll records.
    • Relevant tax documents.
    • Employee tax form I-9s.

Evidence Requirements: Troubled Business

Visas connected with investments in troubled businesses have same documentary evidence requirements as outlined above, except that instead of the evidence that the business will create at least ten new jobs, you must submit evidence that the number of existing jobs is being or will be maintained at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years - for example tax records, I-9 forms, or other relevant documents for the qualifying employees, and a comprehensive business plan.

Dependents

Dependents

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the U.S. with you on a two-year conditional period. Once your I-829 petition to remove conditions is approved, then the conditions will also be removed from your spouse and children’s Green Card status. Once you are a permanent resident, your spouse and children will be authorized to work or attend school in the U.S.

US Investor Visa Advantages

An EB-5 holder has the following advantages:

  • The legal status of a US permanent resident under EB-5 Investor Visa allows access to most of the benefits available for US citizens. Once an EB-5 visa is granted, you don’t have to renew it or apply for it repeatedly. It should be noted that some nonimmigrant visas such as B, E, and H don’t always result in receiving a US permanent resident status. Such nonimmigrant visas have time limitations; they involve additional procedures for registering with the USCIS. Holders of these visas might need to return to their country to visit a US consulate if they want to renew the visa. More importantly, US immigration laws can be changed and foreigners will be denied a new permission to enter the US when they face the necessity to renew their visa.
  • The US is considered to be a “safe haven” for families with a US permanent resident status. Any family member with a green card is allowed to arrive in the US territory at any time and stay there as long as necessary (although there are certain restrictions regarding the time spent outside the United States).
  • EB-5 investors have an opportunity to enter the US territory for personal and business purposes at any time without any obstacles.
  • American permanent residents don’t need a visa to enter the US, a green card is enough to do it. EB-5 investors can live in any place in the US, retire and own a business.
  • US colleges and universities with a well-established international reputation provide basic and higher education. As a US permanent resident, EB-5 investors can take advantage of lower college/university fees, especially in the state of their permanent residence.
  • On average, the living costs in the US are lower if compared to other developed countries. Consumers’ goods, services, and accommodation can be much cheaper in comparison to the same goods and services in many other countries.
  • College students are allowed to work to cover their education costs. They can continue working after graduation.
  • The United States offers a wide range of financial, social and educational rights and benefits. They include state schools, high education, as well as medical care compensation payments and social welfare.
  • The investor can bring other family members to the US and file a petition to grant them a US permanent residence too.

The EB-5 Pilot Program

The EB-5 Pilot Program

The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program (“Pilot Program”) was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 (October 6, 1992), and was recently extended.

Visa requirements for an investor under the Pilot Program are essentially the same as in the basic EB-5 investor program, except the Pilot Program provides for investments that are affiliated with an economic unit known as a “Regional Center”. These investments allow for a less restrictive job creation requirement based upon the creation of both direct and indirect jobs.

A Regional Center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, that is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a Regional Center must apply for and receive a Regional Center designation from USCIS in order to qualify under this program.

To qualify for a Pilot Program you must:

  • Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a Regional Center affiliated with new commercial enterprise or a troubled business; and
  • Create at least ten new full-time direct or indirect jobs.
  • The documentary evidence requirements for the Pilot Program are similar to those outlined above for EB-5 generally. ACS Law Offices, Inc. has extensive experience working with regional centers; contact us for more details.

Choosing Your Investment

If you are considering making an investment in the U.S. in order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, you should carefully consider the following questions:

  • Is the regional center liable to be able to create ten direct or indirect jobs from your investment?
  • Are these jobs likely to last for at least two years?
  • How many others have invested in that center?
  • How long until the full investment needed is achieved?
  • Is the value of your investment likely to rise, or fall?
  • Will you have any say in the management of the investment?
  • What will happen to your application if the jobs fail?
  • Do the people who are advising you seem credible?
Visa EB-5

In deciding on the program with which your EB-5 immigration investment should be entrusted, and on what advice you should take, pay particular attention to the last of these questions. If your advisors focus only on the positive aspects of your application and pay little or no attention to the negatives or the potential problems, you should proceed with caution.

You should have all of the questions above answered to your satisfaction, and a reliable and independent adviser will have no problem responding to any of them. The application is the simple part, but should anything go wrong after that then keep in mind that this might be your only chance for permanent residency for many years.

Make your EB-5 immigration investment only when you are completely convinced that the program in which you are investing can keep to its part of the agreement. Usually it will be able to, but some centers may be better investments than others. Our adviser will be able to help you to come to the right decision—one that leads to your permanent residency within the year.

Why do I need an expert consultation?

It is a question of how much money you need to invest, and every Regional Center has its own understanding and vested interests regarding which sum will be enough. The person who is consulting you on choosing a center for investments might have their personal interest in promoting one of the regional centers. Therefore, they will do their best to convince you to invest in their center. You have to make sure that the Regional Center whose investment program you want to join has sufficient experience and demonstrates good performance in creating workplaces. Otherwise, your stay in the US can turn out to be unexpectedly short term.

The competition between regional centers is very intense not only due to strict investment requirements but also as a result of being under constant pressure to attract investments to complete their business projects. Every center has its own ongoing development projects that need your investments to be finished. Therefore, it is really difficult to receive impartial advice and unbiased information especially if you have recently arrived in the US and you are in desperate need of a US permanent resident status. The data, provided by regional centers, don’t always reflect the availability of potential job places, as in many cases job places can be created with a certain level of investments accumulated.

You should also bear in mind that inflated claims and expectations from return on investments have never done any good to anyone. Many regional centers make dividend payments to their investments, and if you receive accurate information and are advised in a proper way, you will be able to choose the most appropriate regional center.

Why do you need to contact ACS Law Offices?

If you choose our firm to help you with immigrating to the United States, we guarantee our help with choosing the right way to obtain a visa and handling your immigration paperwork to a high standard. Our company attorneys live in the United States and have excellent knowledge of US immigration legislation. Our help goes beyond just assisting with documentation; we help every client solve any legal issues all the way down to receiving a visa approval from the US authorities.

Are you planning to bring your family along but have no idea which immigration program to choose? Take time to fill out the form. We will analyze your information thoroughly and suggest a custom-tailored solution on how to immigrate to the US.

EB-5

Can all of the invested funds be a gift?

EB-5

Yes, the person who gives the money needs to show how he/she obtained it. They need to prove source of funds.

EB-5

How are EB-5 funds usually returned after I-829 approval?

EB-5

It depends on the project, and some projects’ funds return after 6 months or later. Some project may not be returned at all. You can invest in your own project also, and will be able to control 100% of your funds.

EB-5

How can I stay in the United States for EB-5 if my J-1 visa will expire?

EB-5

You need to be transferred to another visa and it also depends on the country of your citizenship and the terms of your J-1 visa. You can come to have a consultation with ACS Law, and we can suggest you the solutions.

EB-5

How can someone without an employment history apply for EB-5?

EB-5

EB-5 visa does not require any employment history or any educational background.

EB-5

How much time it takes to process I-526 Petition?

EB-5

It depends on the country of citizenship. You can have a consultation with ACS Law and we will give you more details about the process.

EB-5

I’ve heard about foreign immigration brokers/agents. How is ACS Law different from foreign finders?

EB-5

You do not need a foreign broker/ finder / agent. ACS Law is a licensed in the USA Immigration Law Firm. You just need to contact us directly and we can help you.

EB-5

Is an investment in a regional center guaranteed?

EB-5

All the investments for EB-5 visa are not guaranteed. Investments in a regional center is usually risky. Therefore, we suggest you have a consultation with immigration attorney to determine the best and more secure investments.

EB-5

Should I have the same attorney for all EB-5 applications?

EB-5

Not necessary by preferably.

EB-5

What happen if a conditional permanent resident leaves the U.S. for six months?

EB-5

There are several options that you can do. First of all, you need to show you have a tight with the United States which could be real estate, house or any kind of business. Secondly, if you plan to be absent in the United States, you need to ask your attorney to help you obtain reentry permit which will allow you to travel for 6 months or more but not more than 1 year. Also, you need to provide the reasons why you are absent. For example, you have to take care of your family member or your business. Overall, you need to consult with your immigration attorney first, before you leave - just to make sure you will be able to come back.

EB-5

What happens if the necessary jobs are not created?

EB-5

You will be disqualified. You have to make sure that at least 10 new jobs were created to follow EB-5 visa requirements. Eventually, you will have 2.5 – 3 years after filing your I-526 to create these 10 jobs.

EB-5

When is it possible to apply for U.S. citizenship?

EB-5

You can apply for U.S. citizenship when you have your green card. In order to be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, you have to live in U.S. at least 30 months during the last 5 years.

EB-5

What must be proved in order to obtain removal of conditions on permanent residence?

EB-5

You have to prove that you invested at least $500K and created at least ten new jobs. Those are the most important requirements.

EB-5

What is the I-829 approval rate for the EB-5 program?

EB-5

It depends on many factors; we recommend you have a consultation with our immigration attorney for more accurate answer.

EB-5

What must be proved in order to obtain removal of conditions on permanent residence?

EB-5

You have to prove that you invested at least $500K and created at least ten new jobs. Those are the most important requirements.