EB-5 Investor Visa for the USA - ESTAForm.org

EB-5 Investor Program

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The EB-5 is available for immigrant investors to become permanent citizens (Green Card holders) of the US. Eligibility requirements include that the visa applicant must invest a minimum of $500,000 to finance a US business to be considered for an EB-5.
The rules around the criteria for the EB-5 are changing in November 2019 to increase that minimum investment amount to $900,000. The other requirement is that the US business that they are investing in must employ at least 10 employees.
Another factor in the eligibility is whether the investment is going to a targeted employment area, or in other words, whether it will help an area that is currently affected by low employment rates.
If the investment is for a business that does not come under a targeted employment area then the minimum investment amounts are $1m (prior to November 21 2019) and $1.8m after the new rule comes into place regarding EB-5 criteria.

How to apply for EB-5

To start the process off, there must be a suitable business project to invest in, so this will generally require setting up a new commercial enterprise. Investors can seek the help of Overseas Migration Agents to support the process of finding a business project that suits them the most.
Once the project for investment has been identified the applicant must file an I-526 petition and make the required investment. The 13-page I-526 petition (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) will usually take a long time for the USCIS to review and provide a decision on whether it is approved. Typically, the applicant will find out a year after the petition has been filed. The filing fee for the I-526 currently stands at $3,675 and can be paid by credit card or check.
If the petition is approved by the USCIS then the applicant will be granted a two-year conditional residency of the US whilst they are able to conduct all of the duties related to their business project. There are two different ways that they will then acquire permanent residency:
  • Where lawful status is already in place, the investor files a form I-485 to change their status to conditional permanent resident.
  • Where the investor does not already have lawful status in the US, they file a DS-230 (immigrant visa) that must be processed via the US Embassy in their home country.
The final part of obtaining permanent residency is to remove the conditions by submitting an I-829 petition, which if approved will give them unconditional resident status in the US.

Eb-5 Visa Requirements

You're eligible for an EB5 visa if you can and are willing to:
  • Put money into a new business venture;
  • Revamp an existing business to boost its net worth or employee count by at least 40%;
  • Risk up to $1.8 million in an investment;
  • Risk $900,000 if investing in a targeted employment area;
  • reate at least ten new full-time jobs over two years.
You can invest in a range of business types, including:
  • Sole proprietorships and limited partnerships;
  • Holding companies;
  • Joint ventures;
  • Corporations;
  • Other privately or publicly held entities.

Eb 5 Visa Processing Time

Navigating the timeline of EB-5 visa processing can seem like quite a journey. As of May 2023, the USCIS estimates that the I-526 Immigrant petition, a key step in this process, could take anywhere from 29.5 to 61 months.
For those of you who are already in the U.S. and looking to get an EB-5 visa, the I-485 form processing time to adjust your status takes between 7 to 29 months.
For those living outside the US, the National Visa Center and Consular process typically lasts around 6 to 12 months.
Remember, these timelines aren't set in stone! USCIS processing times can shift influenced by the number of applications in the pipeline and the volume of new applications coming in each year.

The Application Process for the Investor Visa USA

The application procedure necessitates the submission of Forms I-526, DS-260 or Form I-485, and Form I-829. Each of these forms will be completed at various phases of your EB5 application process.

Submit the Form I-526

Form I-526 is an essential application form for foreign investors. You can print it from the USCIS website. This type of visa is a self-petition one. This separates it from the majority of other employment-based visas, which need a work offer from a US-based firm. You will fill out the EB5 form on your own without requiring an employer to sponsor your visa.
You can also get an attorney or lawyer to help you complete the paperwork and the application procedure. Make care to fill out all of the form's sections, especially the one about yourself. After completing the form, make sure to send it to the USCIS office specified in the application.

Completing the DS-260 / Form I-485

After your Form I-526 application has been approved, you must file either Form DS-260 or Form I-485, depending on where you are in or outside the United States.

If You’re Outside of the U.S.

If you are outside of America when your I-526 application is granted, you need to apply for a visa by submitting Form DS-260. The procedure is consular processing. You must schedule an appointment with the U.S. embassy or consulate in your nation of residency. The DS-260 is an online form that may be found on the CEAC website.

You Reside in the U.S.

You must complete Form I-485. The form will be used to request status adjustment from nonimmigrant to immigrant status. The permanent residence application form is Form I-485. If your DS-260 or I-485 application is granted and you obtain an EB5 visa, you will be accepted as a conditional permanent resident.

Finally, File Form I-829

This form removes the restrictions that come with your conditional permanent residence status. You have 90 days before the 2-year timeframe expires to file Form I-829.
The form is free to download on the USCIS website. You need to submit it at the USCIS Lockbox in Dallas.
If you play by the rules, USCIS will remove the constraints on your permanent residency. The elimination of the requirement will result in full-fledged permanent resident status with a green card valid for ten years and renewable indefinitely.

Required Documents

The necessary documents for this type of visa are:
  • A proof of investment or an active investment process;
  • Documentation proving that you will manage or supervise the new business;
  • Evidence that your investment has directly or indirectly resulted in at least ten new full-time employments;
  • A proof that you plan to keep the new hires for a minimum of two years;
  • Evidence that you have made the minimum amount of investment;
  • Evidence that your investment funds have been obtained legally;
  • A valid passport;
  • Civil documentation, like birth or marriage certificates.

How Long How Long Can You Stay in the US On This Type of Visa?

Upon approval of your status adjustment or upon your entry into the country with a valid EB5 visa, you become a provisional permanent resident for a period of two years.
After two years under, you'll be eligible for "unconditional/permanent residency" - also known as a 10-year Green Card.

Are There Any Restrictions to Where You Can Live in the US?

You can work and live in any part of America on this type of visa. If you make an indirect investigation through a Regional Center, living in the same place as your investment is not mandatory.
However, if you make a direct investment, you may need to be near the business you invested in since you will need to demonstrate your participation in the company.

EB 5 Visa USA Options

Investors have the option to select between two forms of EB-5 investments: Direct investments and investments through regional centers. While both investment strategies share similarities, they are primarily distinguished by the differing methods of job creation estimation.

EB-5 Visa Direct Investment

A direct EB-5 investment implies starting a business from scratch or buying an existing one in the States. Because the investment is outside of the USCIS-approved targeted employment area (TEA), you must invest at least twice the amount in proving that your business/investment produced at least 10 new jobs and that you have a direct role in the firm.

EB-5 Visa Regional Centers Investment

You can apply as an immigrant investor directly, or you can also apply through regional centres. USCIS has designated these centres only for the EB-5 visa program.
The distinction is that you will not have complete control over your investment because the regional centre will assist you in managing it. As with direct investing, you must still satisfy all standards.
However, because it includes indirect job creation, the procedure is simpler. To invest through a regional centre, you must complete Form I-924. The form can be found on the USCIS website.

Dependents of EB-5 investors

The investor and their family (their spouse and children aged under 21) are able to live and work in the US, with the option to apply to become US citizens five years after conditional residency was approved.

Getting American Citizenship With EB 5 Investor Visa

Getting American Citizenship With EB-5 Investor Visa is possible. These visa users can get citizenship after five years of "unconditional residency" (the 10-year Green Card). They must have resided in the U.S. minimum of seven years in total to be able to apply for American citizenship.

EB-5 Visa Benefits

Securing an EB-5 Visa comes with numerous benefits. Some of them include:
  • Traveling to and from the US without needing a visa;
  • Securing a Green Card that you can continually renew;
  • Applying for U.S. citizenship after some years, giving you one of the world's most powerful passports;
  • Entering various countries without a visa, a privilege extended to Green Card holders;
  • Recouping your initial investment if you invest wisely;
  • Accessing top-tier American healthcare;
  • Enjoying visa-free travel to nine different countries.

Alternatives to the EB-5 Investor Visa

There are several alternatives to the EB-5 Investor Visa; the most commonly used ones are below.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification enables a citizen of a treaty country ( One that has a treaty of navigation and commerce, or an international qualifying agreement with the US, or with which the United States has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to be admitted to America when investing a significant amount of capital in their business. Certain workers of a qualifying individual or organization may also be eligible for this categorization.

L-1 Visa

The L1 Visa is a temporary work visa that permits users to relocate from a foreign firm to its US branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company. To get the L1 visa, they must work in an executive or managing role that needs specialist expertise. The Intra Company Transferee visa is another name for it.

H-1B Visa

This nonimmigrant classification applies to individuals who wish to provide services in a speciality occupation. It could also be services of exceptional merit related to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project. It could also include services as a distinguished fashion model.

O-1 Visa

This visa is for individuals with exceptional education, arts, science, business, or athletic ability. It could also be intended for individuals with extraordinary achievements in the television or motion picture industry who are famous nationally or internationally for those successes.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.

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The EB-5 investor visa offers permanent residency to investors who meet specific requirements. This visa also extends green card privileges to the investor's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Securing approval for your EB-5 visa application can be a challenging task, even when having all the required documentation. To successfully obtain an EB-5 visa, you have to fit very strict criteria.
You qualify for an EB5 visa if you:
  • Invest in an upcoming company project.
  • Invest in an old business to significantly boost its net worth or staff. A 40% rise in net value or workforce count is necessary.
  • Invest up to $1.8 million in at-risk money.
  • Investment in a specific employment area requires $900,000 in at-risk capital.
The time it takes to process an I-526 Immigrant petition fluctuates between 29.5 and 61 months. For those investors already in the U.S., the I-485 application, which adjusts their status to a U.S. investment Green Card, can take anywhere from 7 to 29 months, depending on the specific service center.
Upon approval of your status adjustment or upon your entry into the country with a valid EB-5 visa, you become a provisional permanent resident for two years.
The EB-5 approval rate spans from about 75% to above 80%. Changes in immigration policies and regulations also can affect success rates.
Securing an EB-5 Visa comes with numerous benefits including:
  • Traveling to and from the US without needing a visa;
  • Securing a Green Card that you can continually renew;
  • Applying for U.S. citizenship after some years, giving you one of the world's most powerful passports;
  • Entering various countries without a visa, a privilege extended to Green Card holders;
  • Recouping your initial investment if you invest wisely;
  • Accessing top-tier American healthcare;
  • Enjoying visa-free travel to nine different countries.