If you are a foreign national looking to start a life in the United States, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers an attractive opportunity to fast-track your immigration status.
Unlike most other visa categories, there currently isn’t a visa backlog. And there are fewer requirements than with other employment-based visas.
However, that does not mean it is the right fit for you and your situation. You will still have to overcome many application challenges, and you should careful weigh the factors that affect your visa choice.
As you are considering the EB-5 program, here are five questions to ask yourself before taking the leap.
Are You Comfortable with Some Level of Risk?
To qualify for the program, you must make an at-risk investment in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. That investment must remain at risk, though you can determine the level of risk.
If your ultimate goal is to become a permanent US resident, the return on your investment may not be your primary concern. But it should be a serious consideration.
Do You Want to Directly Manage Your Investment?
If you want more control of your project’s potential for success, you may want to make a direct investment in an EB-5 project. This will allow you to contribute to the project’s management and progress.
However, if you are not interested or experienced in management, you may wish to invest through a regional center instead. This means you are not directly involved in the project, and you are also free of certain requirements for job creation.
If you choose this route, it is important to find the right regional center. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) terminations of regional centers have increased significantly over the last three years, with 44 being terminated between March and May 2020 alone.
Reputable regional centers are run by experienced financial managers working to protect your investment. Be sure to research before you commit to a center.
What Funds Will You Use to Invest in the EB-5 Program?
To comply with the EB-5 program requirements, investors must show that the funds for their investment come from lawful sources.
You can make the process simpler and increase your chances of success if it is easy to provide proof of your funding source. Work with your immigration attorney to determine what funding source is best.
What Other Fees Are Involved in Filing Your EB-5 Petition?
You are required to invest $900,000 for projects located in a targeted employment area (TEA) or $1.8 million if the project is not located in a TEA. Additionally, there are other fees related to filing a petition and participating in the EB-5 program, such as:
- Attorney fees
- I-526 and I-829 petition filing fees
- I-485 petition filing fee if you are currently in the United States
- Administrative fees payable to the regional center if you choose to invest through a center
- Relocation costs
- Federal taxes
What Other Benefits Will You and Your Family Receive from the EB-5 Program?
You likely already know that you may be eligible to get a green card through your participation in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. But there are other hidden benefits you may not be aware of that should be considered when weighing the pros and cons.
For example, you and your unmarried children under the age of 21 may qualify for in-state tuition for colleges in the United States. Additionally, if you currently travel to and from the United States frequently for business or family, you may save time and money by establishing a US residence instead.