The “Investor Green Card,” also known as the EB-5 visa, allows a foreign national to obtain a green card by investing in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. The spouse and unmarried children of the investor may also receive green cards through the principal applicant. The general requirements to obtain an EB-5 visa are that the investor must:
- Create a new commercial enterprise, which can be accomplished by:
- Starting a new business,
- Restructuring and reorganizing an existing business so that a new commercial organization results, or
- Expanding an existing business
- Create 10 new jobs for U.S. Citizens or lawful permanent residents
- Invest at least $1,800,000 unless the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) in which case the minimum investment is only $900,000. [A TEA is defined as a rural area (any metropolitan statistical area with a population of less than 20,000) or an area with an unemployment rate at least 150% of the average.] The investment must be at risk and must benefit the U.S. economy.
The foreign national can make the investment either through their own new commercial enterprise or through a designated “Regional Center”. An investment in a Regional Center is a passive investment where the Regional Center manages the day-to-day operations of the business and ensures the project fulfills the EB-5 program’s statutory requirements. This approach is attractive to many foreign nationals because many do not want to deal with starting a business and worrying about compliance with the statutory requirements.
Once the preferred type of investment is determined, a detailed business plan that outlines the investment should be prepared for submission with Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, to be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After USCIS approves the I-526 petition, the beneficiary will either:
- File DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, with the U.S. Department of State to obtain an EB-5 visa abroad to seek admission to the United States; or
- File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS to adjust status to a conditional permanent resident within the United States. Once the Form I-485 application is approved or upon admission into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa, USCIS will grant conditional permanent residence to the EB-5 investor and derivative family members for a two-year period.
After receiving the two-year conditional residence, the investor must file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, within the 90-day period immediately before the second anniversary of admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident. If USCIS approves this petition, the conditions on the lawful permanent resident status and any dependents you included are removed.
The most important step in exploring the EB-5 Investor Green Card is to discuss your options under the program with a competent immigration lawyer. Dworken & Bernstein’s experienced immigration lawyers can help you navigate through the EB-5 program from start to finish. Call for a free consultation today.