business immigration to US EB-5 investment visa program USA

Overview

The EB-5 visa is a way to obtain permanent resident status solely through investment in the U.S. The EB-5 investor visa program was established by the United States Congress in 1990 to enable foreigners who make an investment in a U.S. business to obtain a green card and become lawful permanent residents, and potentially citizens of the United States.

EB5 investor will be able to permanently live and work in the United States with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.

At the law offices of Adan G. Vega & Associates, PLLC  our attorneys provide high-quality and proficient legal counsel for foreign nationals who wish to apply for an EB5 visa. Our founding attorney Adan G. Vega is a Board-Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law with the State Bar of Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has decades of immigration law experience. If you are seeking legal advice from a highly experienced EB5 visa lawyer at a law firm that focuses exclusively on immigration law call 713-527-9606 to learn more about the requirements, procedures, and strategies for obtaining an EB5 visa.

 

EB-5 visa overview

USCIS administers the EB5 program which was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5), 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status based on their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. Of the 10,000 investor visas (i.e., EB-5 visas) available annually, 5,000 are set aside for those who apply under a pilot program involving certain USCIS – designated “Regional Center”.

A “Regional Center”:
  • Is an entity, organization or agency that has been approved as such by the Service;
  • Focuses on a specific geographic area within the United States; and,
  • Seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment.
“Alien investors” must:
  • Demonstrate that a “qualified investment” (see below) is being made in a new commercial enterprise located within an approved Regional Center; and,
  • Show, using reasonable methodologies, that 10 or more jobs are created either directly or indirectly by the new commercial enterprise through revenues generated from increased exports, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment resulting from the pilot program.

Permanent resident status based on EB-5 eligibility is available to investors, either alone or coming to the U.S. with their spouse and unmarried children. Eligible aliens are those who have invested — or are actively in the process of investing — the required amount of capital into a new commercial enterprise that they have established or invest into a troubled business. They must further demonstrate that this investment will benefit the United States economy and create the requisite number of full-time jobs for qualified persons within the United States. In general, “eligible individuals” include those:

Who establish a new commercial enterprise by:
  • creating an original business;
  • purchasing an existing business and simultaneously or subsequently restructuring or reorganizing the business such that a new commercial enterprise is the result; or
  • expanding an existing business by 140 percent of the pre-investment number of jobs or net worth, or retaining all existing jobs in a troubled business that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months; and
Who have invested — or who are actively in the process of investing — in a new commercial enterprise:
  • at least $1,800,000, or
  • at least $900,000 where the investment is being made in a “targeted employment area,” which is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area as designated by OMB; and
Whose engagement in a new commercial enterprise will benefit the United States economy and:
  • create full-time employment for not fewer than 10 qualified individuals; or
  • maintain the number of existing employees at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two (2) years, where the capital investment is being made in a “troubled business,” which is a business that has been in existence for at least two (2)  years and that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months.

How do I Seek Status as an Immigrant Investor?

In order to seek status as an immigrant investor, you must file USCIS FORM I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with USCIS. The FORM I-526 must be filed with supporting documentation which clearly demonstrates that the individual’s investment meets all requirements, such as:

  • establishing a new commercial enterprise,
  • investing the requisite capital amount,
  • proving the investment comes from a lawful source of funds,
  • creating the requisite number of jobs,
  • demonstrating that the investor is actively participating in the business; and, where applicable,
  • creating employment within a targeted employment area.

How do I Obtain Status as a Conditional Resident?

Once the FORM I-526 is approved, immigrant investors may obtain status as a conditional resident by:

  • Filing FORM I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if residing within the United States; or
  • Filing DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, with the U.S. Department of State to initiate consular processing of the EB-5 visa in the country of residence if the investor is leaving outside the United States.

Become a Permanent Resident Based on Investment?
In order to become a lawful permanent resident, eligible investors must file a FORM I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. FORM I-829 must be filed within 90 days before the second anniversary of an Alien Investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional resident with the EB5 visa.

 

CONTACT A BOARD-CERTIFIED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY AT ADAN G. VEGA & ASSOCIATES, PLLC

We represent clients worldwide and offer consultations with an experienced Board-Certified immigration lawyer, either by telephone or at our Houston office. To schedule an appointment to talk privately with one of our experienced attorneys, call 713.527.9606 or contact us online.

Source: USCIS – with modifications by Adan G. Vega