The United States has long attracted foreign nationals from across the world. The country’s strong economy, stable government, high living standards, and inclusive culture make it a true safe haven. To relocate to the United States legally, foreign nationals usually obtain permanent resident status, and the EB-5 program is perhaps the most practical and effective way to do so. Foreign nationals who successfully invest in qualifying U.S. enterprises are awarded green cards by the EB-5 program.
The EB-5 program provides U.S. businesses with a much-needed source of investment funds. Moreover, successful and wealthy EB-5 investors become an asset to the United States once they obtain their green cards.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires EB-5 investors to keep their investment funds at risk and create at least 10 jobs. Further, EB-5 investors must provide copious evidence proving that their sources of capital are legal.
The EB-5 program is governed by numerous complex guidelines. Therefore, interested foreign nationals are encouraged to consult an immigration attorney and EB-5 specialists. This article outlines each basic step of the EB-5 visa process.
- Finding an EB-5 Project
USCIS requires foreign nationals to make an EB-5 investment of at least $1,000,000. However, this amount is reduced to $500,000 if the EB-5 investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA). Further, EB-5 investors can either invest directly or through a regional center.
- Making an EB-5 Investment
USCIS requires EB-5 investors to trace their investment funds back to their origin. Consequently, EB-5 investors should document the sources of their capital before transferring the funds into the project’s account. Additionally, all EB5 investment funds must remain at risk.
- Filing Form I-526
After making an EB-5 investment, foreign nationals should file Form I-526. Here, investors are expected to provide evidence of compliance with USCIS regulations, including guidelines regarding the legality of their funds, the minimum investment amounts, job creation, and other factors. Form I-526 is usually completed by an immigration attorney.
- Conditional Permanent Resident Status
Upon the approval of Form I-526, EB-5 investors can then apply for a conditional visa by filing Form DS-260. Their conditional residency will be valid for two years.
- Filing Form I-829
EB-5 investors must submit Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, within 90 days before the end of their conditional residency. Here, EB-5 investors are asked to provide further documentation that they met all USCIS requirements. Once this petition is approved, the investor and their family receive permanent residency and can even apply for U.S. citizenship after five years.
Even though the EB-5 investment process can be complicated at times, the benefits are well worth it. Additionally, EB-5 investors can obtain invaluable guidance from immigration attorneys and EB-5 consultants such as EB5 Affiliate Network.