How long must an EB-5 business be maintained?
A foreign national’s investment capital must remain at risk in a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved EB-5 business at least throughout the two-year conditional permanent residence period. Once an EB-5 investor applies to have the conditions removed from their permanent residence, they are no longer required to play an active role in the EB-5 investment project.
EB-5 Visa Process
The timeline of the EB-5 visa process—from initial investment to the removal of conditions on U.S. permanent residence—varies from case to case. Each EB-5 investor’s scenario is different. However, the steps for each investor are generally the same.
First, an investor must conduct their due diligence, select an EB-5 investment project, and put the minimum required investment amount at risk. As of March 2022, the minimum required investment amounts are $800,000 for projects located within targeted employment areas (TEAs) and $1,050,000 for projects located outside of TEAs. After the funds have been put at risk, the EB-5 investor must submit Form I-526—Immigrant Petition by an Alien Investor. In this form, the investor must provide documentation demonstrating the source of investment funds, the viability of the new commercial enterprise (NCE) and confirming the creation of at least 10 U.S. jobs. Job creation is a key characteristic of the EB-5 program.
USCIS has historically taken anywhere from a few months to two years to approve Form I-526. This is the part of the process that takes the longest, but once Form I-526 has been adjudicated, the investor and their immediate family are granted conditional U.S. permanent residency for a period of two years. During this period, the investor’s funds must remain at risk and the investor must be involved in some capacity in the day-to-day operation of the business.
At the end of the conditional two-year period, the investor must file Form I-829—Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. At this point, the investor and their derivative beneficiaries—immediate family members—have full U.S. permanent residency. This is also the point at which the investor no longer has to maintain the EB-5 business.