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EB-5 Visa – The Fastest Way To Obtain United States Citizenship

An EB-5 Visa provides the same Green Card as other qualifying processes and allows a foreign investor and his or her immediate family to live, study, work, and retire anywhere in the United States.

The EB-5 program helps foreign nationals obtain a coveted piece of American life, while stimulating the U.S. economy through job creation.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the benefits of the EB-5 Visa and outline how you can obtain one in the shortest possible time. You may also be able to become a U.S. citizen through the EB-5 program.

A Quick Overview of the EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 Visa is an immigrant visa available in the United States which enables foreign investors to obtain permanent residency in the United States.

In order to obtain an EB-5 Visa, the foreign investor must make a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs in the country.

To qualify for an EB-5 Visa (a Green Card), an investor needs to make a minimum investment of $1,050,000 in a new commercial enterprise. If the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA) however, this minimum investment amount is reduced to $800,000.

Because the EB-5 Visa program aims to create jobs for U.S. workers and fuel economic growth in the country, a part of the investment must create or preserve at least 10-full time jobs for U.S. workers. This needs to be achieved within two years of receiving a conditional Green Card.

The majority of EB-5 investments are made through designated Regional Centers. These are private entities that facilitate the investment process and help investors meet the job creation requirement.

Initially, the foreign investor will be granted a conditional Green Card, which is valid for two years upon approval of the EB-5 petition.

After the two-year period, the investor will need to file a petition to remove the conditions on their Green Card and prove that the investment and job creation requirements have been met.

Once these conditions have been removed, the investor and his or her family will receive permanent resident status and qualify for permanent Green Cards in the U.S.

Five years after first receiving conditional permanent resident status, they can become naturalized citizens.

The Benefits of EB-5 Investment for Foreign Investors

For foreign nationals with the necessary capital, the EB-5 program offers a viable way to obtain permanent resident status in the United States.

Unlike other immigrant visa options, the EB-5 Visa requires no U.S. employer to act as a sponsor, nor does it require any specialized knowledge, skills, or experience.

Further, the EB-5 program is not limited to foreign nationals from specific treaty nations.

There are some key benefits to investing in the EB-5 program. These include:

Permanent residency: A Green Card

One of the key benefits of the EB-5 program is the opportunity to obtain permanent residency in the United States for the investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21.

This provides the freedom to live, work, and study in the United States without the need for additional visas or work permits.

Education opportunities

The United States is well known for its high-quality education system, including prestigious universities and colleges.

By obtaining permanent residency through the EB-5 program, foreign investors and their eligible dependents can access education benefits that include in-state tuition rates at public institutions, scholarships, and financial aid.

No sponsorship required

As opposed to other employment-based visas, the EB-5 program does not require any sponsorship from an employer or a family member.

In addition, no H-1B work visa is needed for employment.

Investors are granted the freedom to invest in viable projects and do not need to rely on a job offer or sponsorship to obtain their permanent residency status.

Travel flexibility

EB-5 investors and their families can enjoy unrestricted travel in and out of the United States.

They are not subject to the limitations and requirements associated with temporary visas. This allows for more convenience and freedom when traveling out of the country.

A direct path to U.S. citizenship

After maintaining a Green Card for five years, EB-5 investors may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

This provides the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen and enjoy all the associated rights and benefits, including voting privileges and the ability to sponsor family members for immigration.

Retirement and social benefits

EB-5 investors who become permanent residents in the United States have the opportunity to access retirement and other benefits—such as Social Security and Medicare—when they meet the eligibility criteria.

These benefits provide additional security and support during retirement years.

EB-5 Visa – The Fastest Means to Gain Permanent Residency

Gaining a Green Card through any other visa pathway, such as Family Based Green Cards, Employment Based Green Cards, the Diversity Visa Lottery and Refugee or Asylee Adjustments, can take several years to complete.

In addition, not all these means of obtaining a Green Card are guaranteed.

An EB-5 Visa, on the other hand, is known as the fastest way to obtain a U.S. Green Card. Through this process, the foreign investor can potentially be able to live and work in the United States within a matter of months, instead of years.

There are, however, a few factors to consider when applying for a U.S. Green Card.

These include:

Varying processing times

The processing times across the stages of the EB-5 application can vary.

The initial processing of the I-526 petition (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) can take several months to years, depending on the workload of the USCIS.

The time to process the I-829 petition (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) to remove the conditions on the Green Card can also vary.

Limited visa availability

The availability of EB-5 visas can impact the speed of obtaining permanent residency.

The U.S. has imposed an annual cap of 10,000 EB-5 visas per country, with 3,000 of those visas reserved for investments made in TEAs.

If there is a high demand for EB-5 visas for investors from a particular country, there may be a backlog or waiting period for visa issuance.

Foreign investor preparation

The speed of the EB-5 application process can also be influenced by how diligent the investor is in gathering, preparing, and submitting the required documents; fulfilling the investment requirements; and meeting all the program criteria.

Promptly providing accurate and complete information can help expedite the process.

Regional center vs. direct investment

Choosing to invest through a designated regional center rather than pursuing a direct investment can impact the speed of the application process.

Regional Center projects often have established structures and processes in place. These can streamline certain aspects of the application.

Direct investments, on the other hand, may require more due diligence, project setup, and verification, which can take additional time.

The EB-5 Visa Timeline

The timeline for obtaining an EB-5 visa can vary depending on various factors, including the investor’s preparedness, the complexity of the investment project, the USCIS processing times, and visa availability.

Here are the main steps in the EB-5 visa process:

  • Selecting the best EB-5 Direct Investment or EB-5 Regional Center Project
  • Preparing the EB-5 Visa Application, Form I-526E
  • Adjustment of Status Form I-485 filing (for investors who already hold a nonimmigrant U.S. visa)
  • Upon Form I-526E approval, receive conditional U.S. Green Cards
  • File for a permanent U.S. Green Card through Form I-829

Five years after receiving your conditional Green Card you can apply for U.S. citizenship.

The Steps to Obtaining an EB-5 Visa

Obtaining an EB-5 visa includes several steps that need to be followed to ensure success. Here is a simple guide to help you understand when and how to apply for your EB-5 Visa:

1.  Research and select a qualifying investment project

Foreign investors need to ensure that they conduct thorough research to identify a qualifying EB-5 investment project.

This process can include reviewing project details, financial projections, and market feasibility studies, as well as gathering other relevant information.

Sid, an Indian EB-5 Investor, recommends that you do some serious due diligence before investing in an EB-5 project. Here is his advice…

2.  Verify accredited investor status and invest.

To qualify for the EB-5 program, investors need to be able to demonstrate that they are accredited investors.

This typically involves proving a minimum net worth and income level or providing evidence of previous business experience. It can also involve proving the source of the funds earmarked for investment in an EB-5 Project.

Then, EB-5 applicants must invest in the project of their choice.

3.  File the I-526 petition

Investors must file the I-526 petition with the USCIS.

This petition provides detailed information about the investment project and the investor’s financial source, and demonstrates that the investment meets the program’s requirements.

It typically includes submitting supporting documentation such as business plans, financial statements, and evidence of funds.

4.  Conditional approval and visa processing

If the I-526 petition is approved, the investor and their family members can proceed with either consular processing or adjustment of status, depending on their location.

Consular processing involves attending an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, while adjustment of status is conducted in the United States by filing the necessary forms with the USCIS. Investors can then receive their conditional Green Cards, which are valid for two years.

5.  Removal of conditions (I-829 Petition)

During the 90-day period before the conditional Green Card expires, investors must file the I-829 petition with the USCIS to remove the conditions on their Green Card.

This petition demonstrates that the investment and job creation requirements have been met.

It includes submitting supporting documentation such as financial records, payroll records, and other evidence of job creation.

6.  Permanent Green Card

If the I-829 petition is approved, investors and their family members will receive a permanent Green Card, or permanent residence, which will be valid for 10 years.

Getting the Guidance and Assistance You Need to Apply for an EB-5 Visa

Each step in the EB-5 visa application process involves highly specific requirements and documentation that must be carefully completed.

When you work with an experienced immigration attorney, who has in-depth experience and knowledge regarding everything related to the EB-5 program and immigration law, the potential for a successful outcome is far more likely.

To speak to an immigration attorney and learn more about the EB-5 program and the EB-5 visa application process, why not reach out to us today?