1. What is an EB-5 visa?
An EB-5 visa is an immigration visa for U.S. permanent residency, also known as a green card. An EB-5 visa is an employment-based green card that is based on U.S. job creation and investment. Most other immigration visas are derived from either family-based relationships or employment-based sponsorships.
2. What are the requirements for an EB-5 visa?
EB-5 visas are initially issued on a conditional basis. Each petitioner must invest at least $1.8 million (or $900,000 if you are investing in a targeted employment area, or TEA) to receive conditional permanent resident status, and to remove the conditions and receive permanent resident status, an investor must prove that their funds have created 10 U.S. jobs for qualifying U.S. workers by the end of the two-year conditional period.
3. How long is the process to receive an EB-5 visa?
It depends. There are many variables that impact how long it takes to receive an EB-5 visa. An investor’s filing preparation, USCIS processing times for filing or removing conditions, visa wait times once approved, and the time it takes an investor and their family members to actually enter the United States can all change the amount of time it takes to move through the EB-5 process.
4. Can an EB-5 investor get a return on their investment?
Yes. An EB-5 investment is like any other capital investment insomuch as the goal is to grow the principal. However, as an EB5 investment is required to be “at risk”, there can be no promises attached to an EB-5 investment that an investor will definitively see a return or gain on it.
5. Does the whole family apply for an EB-5 visa?
The EB-5 application is for an individual investor, and their spouse and children under 21 years of age are included in this single application. To qualify, any children must still be under 21 when the visa becomes available, although their age is “frozen” during the I-526 processing time, giving families more leeway.
6. What is the visa backlog?
In the EB-5 program, only about 10,000 visas are made available each year. U.S. immigration is a quota-based system, so the number of visas allotted each year is limited. Visa backlogs happen when demand for a particular visa exceeds supply. As of November 2020, EB-5 visas are backlogged for applicants from China and Vietnam. Visa backlogs have long been common for other immigration visas but have only impacted the EB-5 program since 2015. A 2019 visa backlog for nationals from India recently ended in July 2020, when India’s status became “current.” It is expected to remain current.
7. What happens if my country is in an EB-5 visa backlog?
If an investor’s nation has a visa backlog, they still cannot obtain their EB-5 visas even after their I-526 petition is approved. Wait times are impacted by the number of visa applicants in the queue ahead of each particular investor. Investors with children under 21 should discuss the visa backlog with immigration advisors before investing, as their children may age out of eligibility for the EB-5 program by the time their parent moves to the front of the queue.
8. What is the EB-5 regional center program?
EB-5 regional centers allow EB-5 investors to merge their capital for greater economic impact in a particular region. Created in 1993, the regional center program must frequently be renewed, as it is not a permanent fixture of U.S. immigration law.
9. What is the difference between the regional center and non-regional center programs?
With a normal EB5 investment, the 10 U.S. jobs required must be directly created by the same business as your investment. With the EB-5 regional center program, those 10 U.S. jobs do not have to be directly created—they can be created indirectly by businesses simply using or receiving EB-5 capital. Indirect job creation is measured with conventional job creation techniques.
10. How is job creation measured in the regional center program?
USCIS typically measures indirect job creation through input–output models, which estimate the economic impact and job creation of a particular capital investment or other stimulus in the economy. These input–output models are accepted and used by entities around the world, including the U.S. government.