The requirements and rules related to EB-5 investor green cards are more complex than those related to most other employment-based visas. Below, we’ve shared the answers to common questions asked by our clients seeking immigration through investment.
What is an EB-5 Investor Green Card?
The EB-5 investor green card is the newest type of employment-based green card, developed in 1992. The concept behind the fifth preference work visa is that foreigners can gain permanent residency through investing a significant amount of money into a new business, bolstering the United States economy and creating new jobs.
Who is eligible for an EB-5 visa?
Unlike the E-2 treaty investor visa, the EB-5 investor visa does not require the investor to be from a specific set of countries. Anyone is eligible for an EB-5 investor visa, so long as they have either $500,000 (for rural or targeted employment areas) or $1 million to invest and can prove that they received their money through legal means.
Can my spouse and children come with me to the United States?
Yes, your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany you to the United States and receive green cards. They will need to fill out applications in addition to your own. While in the United States, they will be able to attend school or work.
What documents are required to receive an EB-5 visa?
During the EB-5 application process, you will need to provide documentation that proves:
- That you received your investment money through legal means.
- That you are investing in a new, recently purchased, or recently expanded business.
- That your investment will create or preserve at least ten full-time U.S. jobs.
How much do I have to invest? How long do I have to invest my money?
If you are investing in a rural area (an area with a population of 20,000 or less) or in a targeted employment area (an area with high unemployment), the minimum amount to invest is $500,000. If you would like to invest in a new business located anywhere, the minimum amount to invest is $1 million. Both types of investments must result in the creation or preservation of ten jobs.
Although there are not set rules regarding how long you need to invest your money, USCIS has implied that your money needs to be invested in your business or venture for at least five years.
What is a Regional Center?
Investors who are not interested in management or the day-to-day tasks of being involved in a business may go through one of over 600 different Regional Centers located around the United States. These centers give investors the opportunity to hand over their investments to pre-approved projects, knowing that the Regional Centers are aware of the EB-5 requirements and guidelines. However, it is important to understand that Regional Centers can’t guarantee that your investment will be successful or that it will create jobs – there is still risk involved in every investment.
Some Regional Centers have a consistent track record of EB-5 approvals, while others do not. It is important that an investor carefully evaluates a specific Regional Center before investing.
What is a targeted employment area (TEA)?
A targeted employment area (TEA) is a place that has a rate of unemployment that is 150% of the national average. Sometimes a specific census tract will be designated as a TEA, while other times an entire county can receive a TEA designation. Investments in a TEA qualify for the reduced investment amount of $500,000 instead of $1 million.
Do I need an immigration attorney to help me with my EB-5 investor visa?
While you are not legally required to have a lawyer to navigate the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, the process is complicated and an attorney can help you throughout the process. An immigration attorney will document the lawful source of funds, show the new commercial enterprise was established, and ensure all of the other necessary forms and documentation are included. Talk to an immigration attorney today to find out how legal representation can assist you.
Speak With An Experienced EB-5 Investor Visa Attorney
If we did not answer all of your questions about the EB-5 investor visa, we want to hear from you. We encourage you to give us a call, talk about your case, and get the answers to all of your questions. We offer consultations with experienced, skilled CA immigration attorneys who can help you through the EB-5 visa process from beginning to end.