EB-5 Visa Lawyers
What is the EB-5 Visa Program?
The EB-5 Visa program was created in 1990 as means to encourage foreign investors to establish businesses in the U.S. It is listed as the fifth preference under the Employment-Based immigration category. Basically it grants a conditional green card to immigrant investors who are willing to invest at least $1 million for the purpose of initiating business enterprises in the United States.
What are the requirements for EB-5 Visas?
The requirements are relatively few. Basically, the foreign investor must demonstrate an intent to invest at least $1 million in creating a business in America. They will then be granted a conditional green card, and after two years the conditions will be lifted. They can then apply for permanent citizenship shortly thereafter (though it may be up to five years after).
The conditions on the green card will be removed if after two years the person can prove:
- The business which they established is still an ongoing project; AND
- The business has created at least 10 new jobs (jobs for family members do not count).
Also, the immigrant investor must be involved in the day-to-day management of the business endeavor, and the business must contribute goods or services to U.S. citizens.
What is a “Regional Center”?
Alternatively, immigrant investors can also choose to invest in what are known as “targeted employment areas”. These are areas designated by the state as having high unemployment rates or that experience notable economic hardships. For immigrants applying under an EB-5 visa, the required minimum investment in these areas is lowered to $500,000.
If the immigrant investor will be investing their resources in a designated targeted employment area, they will usually be working with a Regional Center. These are organizations whose task it is to oversee the immigrant investment activities. A full list of approved Regional Centers may be viewed at the website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
What are the benefits of obtaining an EB-5 Visa?
The main benefit of EB-5 visas is that they allow an alien to obtain permanent citizenship in a relatively shorter amount of time. The typical time period involves only 2-5 years, as compared to up to 10 or 15 years for other visa categories.
The main drawback to the EB-5 category is, of course, the large amount of money that one must invest in order to qualify for the green card. However, for persons who are already investing large amounts of finances into American projects, the EB-5 category may be a highly preferable option.
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Last Modified: 04-13-2011 04:41 PM PDT
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