EB-5 Entrepreneur Immigration
EB-5 Investor’s Immigrant Visa:
- For foreign investors looking for freedom and flexibility to live and work in the U.S., the EB-5 investor category can provide an excellent opportunity to accomplish this goal through the obtaining of permanent resident immigrant visas, for themselves, their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years.
- Allows for conditional residency for persons who either invest either $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise that employs 10 workers full time.
- There are two types of EB-5 programs, i.e. the Direct stand-alone EB-5 program and the Immigrant Investor Visa Pilot Program through affiliation with USCIS designated regional center.
- The investment may consist of the contribution of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents. An investment amount of $500,000 U.S. dollars is acceptable if the business is situated in a rural area that is both outside of a metropolitan statistical area and outside of a city or town having a population of 20,000 or more, OR in a “targeted” employment area (“TEA”)- one that has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate as designated by the U.S.
- The second program within the EB-5 category, i.e. the Regional Center program, is ideal for the passive investor due to the indirect employment feature of this program. Thus, for those who are not interested in the day to day management or running an active business Regional Center programs offer a more acceptable inactive form of investment, than do most Regular program investments.
- Another advantage of the Regional Center programs that adds to the flexibility of this option is that the investor is not required to live in the place of investment; rather he/she can live wherever they wish in the United States.
- The procedure for filing an I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur is relatively straightforward. The investor must present evidence that establishes the sources of investment funds are legally obtained and the funds can be traced through bank transfers and other documentation, from the investor directly to the new commercial enterprise. The money can be the investor’s own funds or in the form of a loan of gift, which would allow a parent to gift a son or daughter.
- Once USCIS approves the I-526, it is conditional for a period of two years. Conditional Green Card status confers the same rights as the permanent Green Card. Between 21-24 months after the conditional Green Card has been approved, the investor must reconfirm that the investment has been made or is still in place and that the employment requirement has been fulfilled or maintained. An I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Condition is filed with USCIS. Once the petition is approved and the condition has been removed, a permanent Green Card is granted to the investor and his or her qualifying family members.
- Do not require sponsorship from either an employer or family member.
- Spouse and children under the age of 21 can be included.
- About 92% of all EB-5 applications submitted to USCIS came from Investors in Regional Center affiliated projects. In other words, there was 8% EB-5 applications from direct investment program petitions. Because the USCIS does not publish approval or denial rates based on direct or regional center affiliated petitions, we cannot have specific data on the approval or denial rates for the direct EB-5 petitions. According to recent statistics, during the first three quarter of 2014, there are 1,539 I-526 petitions filed with USCIS. During this period, USCIS approved 961 petitions, denied 129 petitions.
- In 2014, I-526 or I-829 petition processing time averages about 14 months; yet expect processing time to increase in the future with the loss of 35 California Service Center adjudicating personnel and visa retrogression for Chinese investors.