The United States’ strong economy, political stability, reliable infrastructure, and many other strengths offer an enticing opportunity for foreign nationals—many around the world want to share in these benefits by becoming permanent residents of the United States. The EB-5 visa is one of the most efficient and low-risk ways to obtain U.S. permanent resident status. Since 1990, investors from around the world have made EB-5 investments and relocated to the United States successfully. We now summarize the EB-5 process and explain how foreign nationals and their families can qualify for EB-5 visas.
1. Making An EB-5 Investment
An immigration attorney’s services will be invaluable throughout the EB-5 process; foreign nationals should work with an immigration attorney with ample experience in the EB-5 program. Moreover, these professionals can help investors find reliable EB-5 projects with a low immigration risk—that is, projects that comply fully with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations. It is particularly important to choose a project that has adequate job creation potential. Preferably, an EB-5 project should aim to create more than the minimum requirement of 10 jobs per EB-5 investor.
2. Filing Form I-526
Once an EB-5 investment has been made, the investor must submit Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. USCIS will examine this petition carefully to determine whether the EB-5 investment complies with the at risk requirement, was made in a qualifying new commercial enterprise (NCE), and used lawfully sourced funds. It can be particularly challenging to gather the documentary evidence needed to trace the EB5 investment capital back to its source. An immigration attorney’s assistance is particularly crucial at this step of the process. In addition, the at risk requirement entails that there can be no guarantee the EB-5 funds will be repaid.
3. Conditional Permanent Resident Status
USCIS typically takes years to adjudicate Form I-526. Once this petition is approved, the EB-5 investor will be granted conditional permanent resident status. For two years, the investor will be entitled to live and work anywhere within the United States. During this period, it is crucial for the EB-5 project to create the needed number of jobs and to keep the EB-5 capital at risk.
4. Filing Form I-829
During the last 90 days of the two-year conditional residency period, EB-5 investors must submit Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. This form must prove that the EB-5 project fulfilled USCIS’s criteria, particularly the employment creation requirement. Once this petition is approved, investors are granted U.S. permanent resident status without restrictions.
This general overview of the EB-5 process can help foreign nationals decide whether the EB-5 industry is right for them. Consulting firms such as EB5 Affiliate Network can answer any questions related to the EB-5 process and help foreign nationals find the most reliable, USCIS-compliant projects on the market.