EB-5 Immigration FAQ
To encourage immigration through the EB-5 program, U.S. Congress created the Regional Center Program in 1993. The program specifically set aside 3,000 visas each year for foreign investors who apply through a United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated Regional Center. An investor seeking an EB-5 immigrant visa through a designated Regional Center must generally make a qualifying investment of $1,050,000 USD. For businesses in Targeted Employment Areas (“TEA” which are rural areas or areas with higher-than-normal levels unemployment) or infrastructure projects, investors applying for an EB-5 visa may qualify with a lesser investment of $800,000. Additionally, the foreign investor must demonstrate that the investment created at least 10 U.S. jobs through direct, indirect, and induced effects. Green Card Fund specializes in EB-5 projects in Targeted Employment Areas that create jobs in excess of the USCIS requirement of 10 jobs per investor.
Under an update to the law passed in March 2022, potential immigrants benefit from much greater program stability and accessibility including:
- Protection from program expiration
- Reserved EB-5 visas reducing backlogs for investors born in most countries
- Concurrent filing allowing investors legally present in the U.S. to immediately obtain the ability to live and work in the U.S. and to travel in and out of the U.S. even while their petition is pending.
- A simplified application process eliminating the need for every investor to submit project related information.
- All legal permanent residents under the EB-5 Investor Program enjoy the same rights and benefits as every other lawful resident of the United States.
- The U.S. is a safe harbor for your family as well as for your personal and business assets. Any member of your family with a green card can enter the United States at any time and stay as long as he or she wishes.
- EB-5 investors holding green cards have access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes.
- Permanent residents travel to the U.S. without the need of a visa.
- EB-5 investors may work, live, or own their own businesses anywhere in the United States.
- The U.S. has internationally recognized colleges and universities for both undergraduate education and graduate study. As a permanent resident, EB-5 investors may benefit from lower tuition costs associated with U.S. residency.
- The cost of living in many places in the U.S. is less than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services, and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and goods in many other countries.
- Students may work in the U.S. while they attend college and then continue to work afterwards, enabling the student to pay for part of his education and to work while attending graduate and postgraduate studies.
- The U.S. provides many financial, social and education entitlements – public schools, health and medical attention, social security, and education.
- The Investor has the ability to bring other family members to the U.S. after proper application, and can obtain U.S. citizenship after 5 years of residing in the U.S.
The permanent residency requires no renewal or re-application. Other U.S. non-immigrant visas, such as E-2 and H may never result in permanent residency, have time limits, and require additional filings with USCIS or Department of State. Furthermore, U.S. immigration laws may change and prevent future approval when a renewal of visa is required.
Step 1: USCIS Form I-526E – Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor. This is your first official step in the EB-5 process after completing your Accredited Investor Questionnaire, choosing a Project, signing all of the proper documents to subscribe to a Regional Center Project, and placing your funds in escrow with the Project. The I-526E Application is submitted to the USCIS by your immigration attorney along with supporting documentation that clearly demonstrates that your investment meets all EB-5 requirements.
Step 2: USCIS Form I-485/Consular Review. After receiving approval of the I-526E Application, investors already residing in the U.S. may submit a completed Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) to the USCIS. Under certain circumstances, if you are legally in the U.S. under a non-immigrant visa, you may apply to Adjust Status when you submit your I-526E form, rather than waiting for approval. In this case, you may immediately qualify to remain in the U.S., and to work and travel in and out of the U.S. while your I-526 Application is pending. For investors residing outside of the U.S. – the process is similar but requires the investor to apply for an immigrant visa at the US Consulate in their country of residence.
Step 3: USCIS Form I-829 – Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. One year and nine months after initial I-526 approval, investors can file a completed Form I-829 with the USCIS to have conditions removed from their green card and establish permanent residency. With this petition, the investor must demonstrate that the investment was sustained throughout the two-year conditional period and that job creation requirements were met by the Project. During this process, the investor is aided by their chosen Regional Center in providing the requisite documentation. Upon approval of the I-829 application, full permanent resident status is given to the investor and his or her spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age.
One of the most important rights legal permanent residents possess is the right to apply for U.S. Citizenship after residing in the United States for five (5) years. There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen. One is by being born in the U.S. or being born to a U.S. citizen. The other is by way of naturalization. The first step in becoming a U.S. Citizen through the naturalization process is to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for 5 years is one of the basic requirements necessary to qualify for naturalization. A second requirement is maintaining a physical presence in the U.S. for a minimum of 30 months during the 5 years prior to the submission of your application for naturalization. Once you are naturalized and become a U.S. citizen, you are entitled to additional benefits including the right to vote and hold public office.
EB-5 Regional Center FAQ
- Identify investment opportunities that will create jobs in local communities, often in partnership with economic development agencies.
- Assist in marketing those investment opportunities to investors from around the world.
- Ensure that the investment offering complies with federal and state securities laws and SEC regulations as well as specific EB-5 requirements.
A private placement memorandum is developed that details the investment offering, including detailed explanations of the project that will be funded along with disclosures of risk and material information consistent with all applicable federal and state laws. The economics of the project related to EB-5 including the expected job creation are also detailed in the memorandum. In some cases, the issuer of the private placement memorandum is the EB-5 Regional Center itself. In other situations, the issuer is business entity that will be receiving the investment funds and is associated with or sponsored by the Regional Center.