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  • EB-5 Investor Visa – All You Need to Know

    EB-5 Investor Visa – All You Need to Know
    Monday, January 08, 2018

    What is the EB-5 Visa?

    First introduced in 1990, the EB-5 visa is an investor immigrant visa that seeks to increase the inflow of foreign capital and create jobs for citizens of the United States. Under this, 10,000 green cards are available each year for qualified immigrant investors, wherein foreign investors can become permanent lawful residents in exchange for their investment in the United States. These investments are required to create jobs for a minimum of 10 U.S. citizens or other legal residents – other than members of the investor’s family – for a period of two years. Investors receive a two-year provisional visa and, post this time a permanent Green Card is issued on meeting the criteria.

    Who can get this visa?

    The EB-5 investor visa is much in demand from people wanting to migrate to the US for the educational, business and career opportunities it offers. For those who can afford to invest $500,000, this visa is one of the simpler ways to get American residency and eventually citizenship. After studying at Western or European colleges, many people want work experience or residency in the host country. For people who have studied in the United States, the EB-5 program offers an alternative to seeking the more-difficult-to-obtain H-1B visas.

    How to get an EB-5 Visa

    There are two main things to remember. To begin the process, the U.S. Immigration & Citizenship Services (USCIS) will evaluate the applicant and his/her family members for ‘admissibility’. This step is applicable for every green card seeker, under any visa. Grounds for rejection include felony criminal convictions and assets gained from illegal means.

    Second, an EB-5 Visa requires the applicant to make an at-risk investment that creates, directly or indirectly, 10 U.S. jobs. This requirement is one of the more straightforward steps for investors since there is no requirement to hire these people personally, work in the same business, or even live in the same state as the investment project.  The benefit of working with a regional center is that regional centers are able to use reasonable job creation methodologies to calculate direct, indirect, and induced jobs making it easy to pool together lots of investors for their EB-5 projects, since indirect jobs can be counted towards the total job creation number. Sound interested? The steps below will guide you to apply for EB-5.

    • Confirm if you are eligible: Under the US securities law, you need to share personal and financial information to determine your suitability as a private investor. USCIS will also study the sources of your money to ensure that it was lawfully obtained. You will need to provide evidence of income, such as salary, inheritance, etc., and be confirmed as an ‘accredited’ investor. The Chopras and USIF can introduce you to law firms that can assist with this.  
    • Select the investment: At the time of introduction, the EB-5 program needed an investment of $1,000,000. Later, an alternate investment possibility was added involving regional centres that could initiate investment projects, allowing individuals to invest $500,000, as long as the money was directed to the poorer areas of the US (Targeted Employment Area). Since most people prefer investing $500,000, they have to select an investment through a regional center. A Regional Center like USIF has available projects where the funds can be invested.
    • Prepare and file the visa documents: There is a list of required documents and information that must be submitted with the visa petition, such as birth certificate, tax returns, proof of source of income for the money you intend to invest, etc. The consultant will share this list with you. However, remember that extensive documentation is needed, and collecting all this information might take a couple of months.  
    • Interview: The wait time for the USCIS queue can be anything between 8–18 months. Once it is approved, the applicant is notified and will have to undergo a visa interview. If the interview is successful, the applicant becomes a green card holder.
    • Fulfilling the visa requirements: Two years post this approval, the applicant has to prove the job creation under the EB-5 visa requirements. The final step in the EB-5 visa process is for the applicants to become unconditional permanent residents by removing their two-year conditional status. For this, the I-829 petition must be submitted to the USCIS 90 days before the date on which conditional residency was allowed. This application asserts that the investor has met all requirements of the EB-5 visa. USCIS most often issues a permanent green card 6–8 months post the submission of the I-829. The investor his/her family (including unmarried children under the age of 21) can then permanently live and work in the US. They also have the option to apply for US citizenship after a 5-year period from the date they received their initial conditional residency.

    Although the EB-5 visa is a popular way to get US residency, the documentation needed is extensive, and the process rigorous. Therefore, it is best to collaborate with an organization that has an impeccable track record that can complete the hard work for you and make sure the process is as smooth as possible for you and your family.

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