Investors with children will find that the EB-5 visa program has many benefits to offer their families.
What Is the EB-5 Visa Program?
The EB5 visa program is a vehicle for investors who can make a financial contribution to the U.S. economy to obtain Green Cards. Investors who receive Green Cards through the EB-5 visa program do not need an employment sponsor or a visa sponsor to live in the United States. They also do not need an H-1B visa to work for U.S. employers.
The Application Process
The first step in the EB-5 application process is to make a qualifying investment. Once they have made their investment, EB-5 investors then file Form I-526E, along with documents that show their investment has met program requirements (explained below). The next step for investors who are already in the United States is to file Form I-485 to adjust their immigration status. Investors not already in the United States will file form DS-260. Due to a policy change in March 2022, investors already in the United States may file Form I-526E and Form I-485 concurrently. They do not need to wait for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve Form I-526E to file the I-485 petition.
Requirements for EB-5 Investors
- Funds used in EB-5 investments must be attained legally and must be at risk the whole time they are invested.
- EB-5 investments must be made in a new commercial enterprise or go toward reviving a troubled business.
- EB-5 investments are required to create at least 10 jobs for qualifying U.S. workers. These jobs must last for a period of two years, though it is not required that they must be filled by the same employee for that entire period.
- EB5 investments made in projects located in targeted employment areas (TEAs) must be at least $800,000. Investments in projects outside of TEAs must be at least $1,050,000.
Targeted employment areas are rural areas or areas with high unemployment (at least 150% of the U.S. national average) that have been designated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as areas where more job creation is needed.
The EB-5 Green Card program is one of the simplest, most expedited paths to attaining U.S. residency, and eventually becoming U.S. citizens, for people with the means to make a substantial contribution to the U.S. economy. By making an EB-5 investment, investors will be able to secure Green Cards for themselves as well as their qualifying family members, who are defined as their spouses and their unmarried children under 21 years of age. There are many benefits to obtaining U.S. Green Cards for the whole family, several of which will be explained in-depth below.
The Benefits of Obtaining a Green Card
There are several benefits to having a U.S. Green Card, including many perks for EB-5 investors with children and families.
General Green Card Benefits
Green Card holders are permitted to travel anywhere in the United States and can cross state lines freely. Unlike those with more restricted visas, Green Card holders can leave and return to the United States without fearing denial of reentry, as long as they return within 12 months of their departure. Green Card holders are also permitted to work for any U.S. employer. Green Card holders can even work for the government and for employers who require a security clearance.
Green Card holders have similar protections under law as U.S. citizens, as well as most of the rights enjoyed by citizens. Those with Green Cards can participate in the political process in the United States by donating to political candidates and volunteering for political campaigns.
Benefits for Children
One of the main U.S. Green Card benefits of the EB5 Green Card program is the opportunity to access the U.S. education system. Green Cards give EB-5 investors the option to enroll their children in U.S. public schools from elementary school through high school at no cost. Unlike exchange students, who are only allowed to attend U.S. public schools for one year, EB-5 investors’ children will be able to complete their entire primary and secondary education in the United States.
In addition to reaping the direct benefits of a U.S. education, children with Green Cards will experience other perks as well, including the opportunity to learn English in an immersive environment. Because English is spoken so widely, especially in business contexts, having a high level of proficiency in the English language is a valuable skill that opens up many opportunities for children, including a wide selection of career prospects in the future. Children who enroll in U.S. schools early enough will be able to attain a level of fluency in English similar to that of native speakers.
Children educated in the United States are prepared to continue their education at U.S. colleges. Because teachers and administrators in U.S. high schools have helped students go through the college admissions process numerous times, students will be able to easily seek guidance and resources while applying for college in the United States. Students will also have transcripts from U.S. high schools and will be able to easily access the types of standardized tests, such as SAT and ACT, that are required by many U.S. colleges and universities.
Additionally, children who have experience in U.S. classrooms will already be familiar with U.S. educational settings and will not have to go through as intense an adjustment period as international students often do upon entering U.S. colleges. Students with Green Cards who have been educated in the United States will also likely easily be able to meet the English language proficiency requirements of most U.S. universities.
Even adult children can benefit from the EB5 Green Card program. It is possible for parents to gift their children the funds to make an EB-5 investment so that they can receive a U.S. Green Card. This is a good option for parents who do not want to immigrate to the United States themselves and for those with children who are married or over 21 years old.
Benefits for Students
Students with EB-5 visas are considered U.S. residents. When it comes to the college application process, their lawful permanent resident status puts them in the same pool as U.S. citizen applicants, rather than international student applicants. This provides an advantage because colleges often place caps on the number of international students they are able to admit in order to leave slots open for U.S. students. Individuals with permanent resident status will not be subjected to these caps and will have higher chances of admission to U.S. colleges when compared to international students.
The cost of a college education can be high and is often even higher for international students. Green Cards can result in significantly lower higher-education costs for students. Students with resident status and their families are eligible to pay in-state tuition at public higher education institutions. In-state tuition is a form of discounted tuition colleges offer to each permanent resident who lives in the same state where their college is located.
Green Cards also make students eligible for a wider pool of scholarships and financial aid opportunities available only to a U.S. permanent resident.
A large advantage gained by students with Green Cards is that they are able to work without restrictions in the United States. Holders of student visas are often permitted to work only in on-campus jobs, significantly restricting their options for employment and their opportunities to help cover the costs of their education. A permanent resident faces no such restrictions. Green Cards allow students to work jobs both on and off campus, as well as to hold internships and easily apply for employment after graduating.
In some situations, student visas are not issued for the entire period of an international student’s studies and must be renewed. A Green Card holder will not have to worry about navigating the U.S. immigration system to renew their visa while in school.
Post-graduate planning is also much easier for a Green Card holder than for those on student visas. Many people on student visas have no choice but to apply for another type of visa or return to their home country after completing their studies. Conversely, students with Green Cards can continue living in the United States after graduation. They can also apply for post-graduate positions and employment without having to worry about changing their status or finding an employment sponsor.
Students who hold a permanent resident card may be eligible for government-sponsored financial aid.
Benefits for Families
By attaining a permanent resident card through the EB-5 program, investors can forge a path for family members to create a life for themselves in the United States. Because of the “law of soil” in the United States, children born in the country are automatically granted U.S. citizenship.
This means that investors who want to start or grow their families in the United States will give their children born in the country the gift of U.S. citizenship. This in turn gives the next generation the gift of U.S. citizenship, since having a parent who is a U.S. citizen allows children citizenship by acquisition under U.S. law. In this way, the benefits of attaining a Green Card through the EB5 program can be felt through generations.
In addition to obtaining Green Cards for their spouses and unmarried children under 21, a Green Card holder also has the opportunity to sponsor other family members for Green Cards. While U.S. citizens are given first priority to sponsor family members for Green Cards, a Green Card holder can also receive priority. Family members who can be considered for Green Card sponsorship include spouses, children, parents, and siblings, as well as their spouses and children.
Another perk of having a U.S. Green Card is that it grants access to the U.S. healthcare system. The United States is home to some of the world’s best hospitals, top medical schools, and top medical research centers. The country also has some of the newest healthcare technologies. With Green Cards, EB-5 investors will be able to get health insurance and access some of the best medical care in the world. Green Card holders can also be eligible for social security benefits. Social security benefits may include financial assistance.
Green Cards also allow EB5 investors to spend their retirement years in the United States. A common misconception is that a tourist visa allows for retirement in the United States. This notion is misguided. While a tourist visa lasts for 10 years, those with a tourist visa are permitted to reside in the United States for only six months at a time. Green Card holders, on the other hand, can live in the United States full time without restrictions. The EB5 Green Card program is the way to go for those who want to enjoy a leisurely retirement in the United States.
Important Things to Know
While Green Card holders enjoy many freedoms and protections, there are some restrictions that are important to note.
- Every 10 years, a Green Card must be renewed.
- Green Card holders will not receive U.S. passports.
- Children born outside the United States will not automatically receive Green Cards, even if their parents possess them.
- A Green Card does not give a permanent resident the right to vote in U.S. elections.
- A Green Card does not permit an individual to run for political office in the United States.
- While Green Card holders are protected from deportation in almost all circumstances, they risk deportation if they violate a law or commit a crime.
- Green Card holders must keep their Green Cards on their person. If a Green Card holder does not carry the card with them, they risk up to 30 days of incarceration.
- With regard to permanently exiting the United States, Green Card holders are subject to similar regulations as U.S. citizens. If someone with a Green Card decides to permanently leave the United States, after eight years have passed, they will be required to pay expatriation and exit taxes.
- People with Green Cards must file income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the tax authorities in the state where they live (though certain U.S. states do not collect state income taxes).
- Men ages 18-25 who have Green Cards must register for the Selective Service. It is worth noting that the last U.S. draft took place in 1973.
Green Cards Open Doors to Opportunity for Parents, Families, Students, and Young Children
While there are many aspects of having a Green Card that directly benefit EB5 investors themselves, there are even more benefits to be had in the future by an investor’s children and family members, such as opportunities to study, work, and live in the United States long-term. By following the paths of opportunity created by EB5 investments, investors’ children and families will be able to build successful lives for themselves in the United States, enjoying the privileges of permanent resident status.
Contact EB5AN Experts to Learn More about the EB5 Visa Program
To learn more about how the EB5 Green Card program can help them secure successful futures for their children and family members, prospective EB-5 investors should get in touch with EB5AN by sending an email to info@EB5AN.com or setting up a time to speak with a knowledgeable consultant. By making an EB-5 investment, foreign nationals can enjoy the many benefits of living in the United States and possibly become U.S. citizens in the future.