Are you planning to invest in the United States? The EB-5 visa gives foreign investors the opportunity of securing a US Green card through investment - for themselves as well as their families.
Investing in the US keeps your investment safe, while you create jobs for Americans. A win-win situation for all.
What is EB-5?
The EB-5 program - named after the employment-based fifth preference visa granted - offers foreign investors a pathway to apply for permanent residency (US Green Card). The investor’s immediate family, spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, also gain eligibility to apply for US immigration.
Who can apply for the EB-5 visa?
For US permanent residency through the Immigrant Investor Program, a foreign investor will have to make a specific investment in a commercial enterprise in the US, and also plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for Americans.
What are the top benefits of an EB-1 visa?
There are many benefits and advantages of getting an EB-5 visa for the US:
- Easiest option to get US Green Cards for your family.
- No age limit.
- No educational requirements.
- No language requirements.
- Gain access to the US job market.
How to get EB-5 visa?
There are two different ways that your investment in the US can get you a Green Card. You can either -
- Invest in a Regional Center, or
- Directly invest in your own business.
How much investment is required for EB-5?
Generally, USD 1,800,000 is the minimum investment amount. The investment amount for a targeted employment area (TEA) will be that of USD 900,000. A targeted employment area is an area that is either rural or has a high level of unemployment.
What is a commercial enterprise for EB-5?
For the purposes of establishing EB-5 eligibility, a commercial enterprise must mean any for-profit activity in the line of lawful business. This includes -
- Holding company,
- Business trust,
- Joint venture,
- A sole proprietorship,
- Partnership, limited or general
- Other entity (public or private).
Non-commercial activity - such as owning and managing a private residence in the US - is not allowed on an EB-5 visa.
How can I get a US Green card through EB-5?
If your EB-5 visa application is approved, you and your dependents will be issued US Green Cards. Do keep in mind that EB-5 Green Cards are only conditional and expire within two years from the date of issue. To be granted an EB-5 visa, you will have to show that the US business you will be investing in will be able to hire the required number of workers. Your business must do that within the allotted two years to maintain EB-5 eligibility.
Your unconditional permanent residence US Green Card will be issued after two years, provided you are able to maintain your eligibility. After living in the US continuously for five years, you can apply for US citizenship with your family.
What is an EB-5 Regional Center?
A regional center is an organization running a business that leads to job creation. If you choose to invest in a regional center, you will not have to create your own business in the US. A regional center can be public, private, or a combination of both. EB-5 Regional Centers come under US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and must be designated and approved by USCIS.
What is the cost for EB-5?
The estimated costs for EB-5 visa for the US as per the individual stages are –
Estimated costs for EB-5 investor visa for the US
For Targeted Employment Area (TEA)
Minimum investment amount
USCIS Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
If applying from overseas – Form DS 260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
If applying from within the US for change of status – Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
Conditional US Green Card granted, to the investor and family (spouse and children below 21 years of age), for a period of two years.
Filing Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions
To be filed within 90-days of the completion of your second year in US on EB-5 status.
Unconditional US Green Cards issued, provided the investment and other conditions have been duly maintained within the two years of being in the US as a conditional permanent resident.
What is the processing time for EB-5 in 2023?
Currently, the processing time for Form I-526 is from 47 months to 71 months.
Best Regional Center
EB5 Affiliate Network is regarded to be the best regional center operator for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program of the US. EB5AN owns and operates 15 regional centers across more than 20 US states and Washington DC. There are 600+ USCIS-approved regional centers. A regional center might operate in more than one US states. The list is periodically updated by USCIS.
The approval of an EB-5 regional center application in no way implies USCIS endorsement of the activities of the regional center. According to USCIS, “Potential investors should seek professional advice when making any investment decisions.”
Other Important FAQs:
1. Why is the US investor visa called EB-5?
The investor visa for the US is called EB-5 after the employment-based fifth preference visa issued.
2. What are employment-based visas for the US?
US Employment-based visas are –
- EB1 (First Preference), for those with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers, and multinational executives and managers.
- EB-2 (Second Preference), for those with advanced degrees or exceptional ability.
- EB-3 (Third Preference), for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.
- EB-4 (Fourth Preference), for “special immigrants”
- EB-5 (Fifth Preference), for business investors.
3. How to immigrate to US with EB-5?
Immigration to the US with EB-5 status involves -
- Petitioning: Filing Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor.
- Applying: Once your Form I-526 is approved by USCIS, the next step will be determined by whether you are applying from overseas or within the US.
- If applying from overseas: Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application will have to be filed.
- If applying from within the US: Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status will have to be filed.
- Grant of EB-5 visa
- Conditional permanent residence is granted to the EB-5 investor and their immediate family for a two-year period.
- Get conditions removed: Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status will have to be submitted to USCIS within the 90-day period before your second anniversary in the US as an EB-5 investor.
- Removal of limitations: Gain lawful permanent resident status by having all limitations attached to your conditional status removed for you as well as your family in the US.
4. What are employment-based visas for the US?
Employment-based visas allow you to migrate to the US based on your job skills.
5. How many employment-based US visas are available in a year?
140,000 US immigrant visas are available in each financial year for foreign nationals - as well as their spouses and children - that seek to immigrate to the US based on their job skills.
6. How many kinds of employment-based visas are available for the US?
There are five different employment-based immigrant visa categories available - EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5. Some require a prior job offer from a US employer (the sponsor). Certain categories need an approved labor certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL).
7. What is a labor certification for an employment-based US visa?
A DOL labor certification is a verification of a shortage of available, qualified, and willing US workers to fill the position offered at the prevailing wage. Also, a DOL labor certification means that the hiring of a foreign worker will not be adversely affecting the wages and working conditions of US workers employed in similar positions.
8. Which employment-based US visas require a labor certification?
A labor certification will be required for -
9. Which employment-based US visas don’t require a labor certification?
A labor certification will not be required for -
10. Is there an age limit on EB-5 visa application?
USCIS has no age limit for EB-5. You must, however, be above 18 years of age to be able to clearly understand the investment and application process.
11. What is the job creation requirement for EB-5?
To be eligible for the EB-5 visa, a foreign investor must invest the specified capital in a new US commercial enterprise that will lead to the creation of full-time positions for a minimum of 10 Americans.
12. Can H-1B workers be hired by EB-5 investors?
No. You cannot hire H-1B visa holders, or any non-citizen in any nonimmigrant status, when you set up a commercial enterprise in the US on an EB-5 visa. Qualifying employees that might be hired by EB-5 investors include - lawful permanent residents, US citizens, refugees, asylees etc.
13. What does full-time employment mean for EB-5?
Full-time employment means employment in a position requiring a minimum of 35 working hours in a week. An EB-5 investor will be required to provide full-time employment to 10 qualified US workers. These jobs can be either created or preserved by the immigrant investor.
14. After I get my EB-5 visa, can I send the money back and remain in the US?
No. You will have to be actively engaged in the company. You can either be in a managerial position or keep to a policy-forming role.
15. How can I make direct investment for EB-5, not through regional center?
If investing directly for EB-5 status in US, you can -
- Create an original business,
- Buy an existing business established before November 29, 1990, or
- Buy an existing business and restructure or organize it so that an entirely new business entity is formed.
16. Can I make a passive investment in real estate for EB-5 Green Card?
No. A passive investment will not qualify you for EB-5. Investment in a regional center generally amounts to a limited partnership as the investor is considered to be sufficiently engaged in the management based on their investment.
17. Can I count my family in 10 employee requirement for EB-5?
No. You can’t count yourself, your spouse and children among the required employees. Other family members might be counted if they have the proper authorization to live and work in the US (must have more than a temporary nonimmigrant US visa). US Green card holders can be included.
18. Who should use an EB-5 Regional Center?
Investment in a regional center is a better alternative for a foreign investor whose primary aim is securing US permanent residency and not the actual management of a new business.
19. How many EB-5 Regional Centers are there?
As on October 25, 2021, there were a total of 632 USCIS approved regional centers.
20. Can I show shared investment for EB-5?
No. You can’t share the US investment with others. The entire amount must come from you.
21. Will the EB-5 investment have to be made in cash?
No. The investment for EB-5 need not be only in cash. You can have other cash equivalents, such as - loans, certificates of deposits, promissory notes etc. - all counted towards the investment total.
22. What is a targeted employment area?
A targeted employment area can be an area that is either -
- Rural, or
- Has experienced a high level of unemployment, as compared to the national average unemployment rate.
23. Is there an annual limit on EB-5 visas?
In a year, up to 10,000 foreign investors can be granted US permanent residency. The total number of investors that can apply from a particular country in a year is also subject to a 700 per country limit.
24. Which countries have a high demand for EB-5 visas?
Previously, there has been a high demand for EB-5 visas from investors with China or India as their nationality.
25. Do I need to have specific business experience or training?
No particular business training or experience required. If you have the required money to invest and show that you have the potential to create jobs, you may be eligible for the EB-5 visa program.
26. Do I have to live in the US on my EB-5 status or can I travel in and out?
To maintain your EB-5 status, you must actually live in the US.
27. Can I work for another company after I get my EB-5 visa?
You will have to maintain your investment and be actively involved with the company for the next two years from being granted your EB-5 status. Once you have your unconditional green card, you can choose to work for another company or stop working altogether.
28. What are the employee hiring requirements for EB-5 business?
For the EB-5, the business that you invest in must -
- Employ a minimum of 10 full-time workers
- Lead to a product or service production, and
- Benefit the US economy.
Independent contractors can’t be included as employees.
29. What’s the difference between investing through an EB-5 Regional Center and investing directly on my own?
A regional center gets investment from multiple investors for funding a project. A foreign national investing directly is on their own, so to speak. The main differences between the two routes to EB-5 are -
- Involvement: Regional Centers don’t require every individual investor to be directly involved. A direct investor must be directly involved with the day-to-day working of their US business to maintain their EB-5 status.
- Number of investors: Regional Centers have many investors coming together in a mutual investment. EB-5 private investment is limited to a single individual.
- Job creation and proving of jobs: Regional Centers can create direct and indirect jobs. The job creation can be proved on an estimate and don’t have to be proved directly. Private investments require proving the creation of 10 direct jobs.
- Control: Regional Centers provide limited control. A direct investment generally makes you the sole owner.
- Ownership: Regional Centers don’t offer ownership as the investment is by many. A direct investment tends to get you complete ownership.
30. Will my dependents get US Green Cards on my EB-5 visa status?
As an EB-5 investor, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years can get conditional green cards for two years, followed by permanent green cards.