Question 1. What Is Eb-5 Visa?
EB-5 visa, also known as the fifth employment based visa preference, is an immigrant visa category for certain foreign investors under the U.S. immigration law. U.S Congress created the EB-5 immigrant investor visa category in the Immigration Act of 1990 in hopes of attracting foreign capital to the U.S. and creating jobs for American workers in the process. Congress allocates 10,000 immigrant visas annually for this employment-based preference, the EB-5 category. At least 3,000 of these visas are set aside each year for those who utilize a designated Regional Center or TEA status.
Question 2. What Is The Minimum Amount Of Investment Required For Eb-5 Visa?
Foreign investors must invest at least $1,000,000 to meet the EB-5 visa requirement. If the investment is in a designated targeted employment area (“TEA”), then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
Question 3. Do I Have To Have Previous Business Experience Or Certain Level Of Education?
No. The investor is not required to have any prior business experience or any minimum level of education. The only requirement for the investor is that he or she has the required net worth and capital.
Question 4. What Is The Meaning Of The Requirement That The Investor’s Assets Must Be “lawfully Gained”?
Under USCIS regulations, the investor must demonstrate that his investment capital was gained in a lawful manner. This requires the investor to prove his investment funds were obtained through lawful business, salary, investments, property sales, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means.
Question 5. What Is The Job Creation Requirement For Eb-5 Visa?
The EB-5 Visa investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US citizens, lawful permanent residents or other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States. Full-time employees are defined to include workers working at least thirty-five hours per week. This includes conditional residents, temporary residents, asylees, refugees, and recipients of suspension of deportation, but does not include nonimmigrants. In calculating the required number of employment positions, the investor may not include spouses or children, but may include other family members who are employed by the business.
The 10 positions must be full time. This means employment of a qualified employee in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. Although two employees may share a full-time position, part-time employment is specifically excluded. Therefore, a combination of two or more part-time positions will not qualify, even if they collectively meet the 35-hour per week requirement.
Question 6. What Is An Eb-5 Regional Center?
A Regional Center is an entity, organization or agency that has been designated by the USCIS to operate as a Regional Center under the EB-5 visa pilot program. A designated Regional Center will focus on a specific geographic area within the United States, and seek to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment.
An important advantage to investing in a project with a designated Regional Center is the “indirect” nature of the job creation, which is less difficult to achieve than the “direct” creation of 10 new jobs. The requirement of creating at least 10 new full-time jobs can be satisfied by showing that as a result of the investment and the activities of the new enterprise at least 10 jobs will be created directly or indirectly in the region through an employment creation multiplier effect.
Question 7. What Is A Conditional Green Card?
In order to deter fraud, EB-5 Visa immigrant investors, their spouses and dependent children are subject to conditional permanent residence for a two-year period. The EB-5 alien must file a petition to remove the conditions during a 90-day period prior to the second anniversary of the alien’s lawful admission as a permanent resident. The INS will examine the business at the end of the two-year period to determine whether or not the alien has complied with all of the requirements for removal of the conditions.
If, in the application to removed conditions, the alien demonstrates that the business was established, that the required amount of capital was invested, and that 10 full-time jobs either have been or will be created, the conditions will be removed and the alien granted full permanent residence and a permanent Green Card is issued.
Question 8. After My I-526 Petition Is Approved By Uscis, What Is The Purpose Of The Consulate Interview?
Upon approval of I-526 Petition, you must wait for notification from the U.S. Consulate in your home country to prepare documents for the Visa interview. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that the investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the consulate officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 application, including information about the investor’s investment for his/her EB-5 visa application.
Question 9. After My I-526 Petition Is Approved By Uscis, Can Members Of The Family Interview In Different Countries?
Family members can interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. Often one member of the family is located in another country, such as a student attending school in the U.S. The student does not have to return to the country of origin and can adjust status in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.
Question 10. After I Receive My Conditional Green Card, Can I Stay Outside Of The U.s. For More Than A Year?
Yes. You can apply for a reentry permit (on Form I-131) before you leave the U.S. You can depart before the reentry permit is approved. With such a reentry permit, you can return to the U.S. even after one year until the reentry permit’s expiration date. Reentry permits are normally valid for two years. You cannot renew a reentry permit, but you can return to the U.S. for a short time and apply for a new one. The second such reentry permit will be granted for two years, but subsequent reentry permits may only be approved for one year at a time.
Question 11. What Are The Benefits Of An Eb5 Green Card?
Each person desires a permanent residence in the US for a different reason. A Green Card with the EB-5 Investor program provides many benefits that accomplish these goals:
- Legal permanent residents under the EB-5 Investor Program enjoy many of the same benefits as United States citizens.
- The U.S. is a safe harbor for your family, as well as your personal and business investments.
- Any member of a family with an EB5 Green Card can enter the U.S. at any time and stay as long as he/she wishes.
- Investors have constant and easy access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes.
- Permanent residents travel to the U.S. without the need of a Visa.
- Investors may work, live or own their own proprietary business anywhere in the United States.
- The U.S. has internationally recognized colleges and universities for basic education and graduate study. As a resident, the immigrant investor can benefit from lower college tuition costs, as well.
- The cost of living in the U.S. is lower than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and goods in most other countries.
- Students may work in the U.S. while they attend college and continue to work thereafter. This enables the student to pay part of their education while completing graduate and postgraduate studies.
- The U.S. provides many financial, social and education entitlements: public schools, health and medical attention, social security and higher education.
- The immigration investor has the ability to bring other family members to the United States after proper applications and can obtain U.S. citizenship after 5 years.
- Permanent residency requires no renewal or re-application, except for a processing fee.
Question 12. Can Money Gifted By A Parent Or Other Relative Be Used For An Eb-5 Investment?
Yes, provided that any applicable gift taxes are paid. It must also be demonstrated that the gift is an actual “arms-length transaction” and is not a mere ruse that the gifted funds will be given back after permanent residence status is granted.
Question 13. What Is The Difference Between “conditional” And “unconditional” Green Cards?
Under regulations, an investor in US projects who is also approved for the EB-5 immigrant Visa can receive a “conditional” EB5 Green Card. It must be reissued after two years, subject to removal of conditions. Otherwise, both conditional and unconditional Green Cards offer the same rights and privileges.
Question 14. What Issues Cause The Greatest Problems When Applying For An Eb-5 Visa?
The most common problem area has been insufficient documentation for the source of funds. It is better to provide too much information than too little. Your immigration attorney wills most likely request more information than you think is necessary.
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