The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program provides a pathway for foreign investors and their families to obtain permanent residency in the United States by investing in a U.S.-based commercial enterprise. While it requires a significant upfront investment, the EB-5 visa may be the best option for wealthy foreign nationals seeking to obtain permanent residence status. And it may be the only option for those without sponsorship.
Like other visa programs, the EB-5 program has strict application requirements. In addition, some immigrant investors seeking to utilize the EB-5 program have been the victims of fraud. To safely and successfully navigate the EB-5 visa process, applicants should work with an experienced stateside law firm.
Barshay Sanders recognizes the importance of immigrants to our economy and our culture. We help qualified investors obtain an EB-5 visa as fast as possible, in the manner that most benefits them and U.S. workers. If you are interested in obtaining an EB-5 visa for yourself and your family, contact our immigration lawyers for a free case review.
About the EB-5 Visa Program
Congress created the EB-5 program in 1990 to stimulate economic growth through foreign investor capital investment and job creation. EB-5 immigrants are an important engine of economic growth. Over a recent five-year period, EB-5 immigrants are credited with contributing more than $37 billion to the U.S. economy.
In exchange for their investments, EB-5 recipients are offered a legal path to live, work, and study in the U.S., first by obtaining a Green Card and later, citizenship. EB-5 visa holders may be eligible for citizenship in as little as five years upon achieving permanent residency status. However, an EB-5 visa does not guarantee permanent residency or citizenship. It only grants conditional permanent residence for an initial two-year period, after which certain conditions must be met to sustain lawful residency.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a maximum of 10,000 EB-5 visas per year. This number includes investors and investor family members. The processing time for an EB-5 visa is approximately 20 months, but may take years in backlogged countries such as China. Applicants can request expedited processing that significantly reduces EB-5 processing times. Find out if you qualify for expedited processing.
No sponsorship, either by a U.S. business or individual, is required for an EB-5 visa. Instead, applicants must meet capital investment and job creation requirements. These minimum requirements vary depending on the type of enterprise that an immigrant invests in. Changes to the EB-5 program made in 2019 alter visa qualifications. Currently, EB-5 applicants must:
- Invest at least $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which is defined as either a rural area or an area with unemployment levels at least 150 percent of the national average unemployment rate.
- Invest at least $1.8 million in a non-TEA.
- Invest cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, or indebtedness secured by immigrant investor-owned assets.
- Invest in a commercial enterprise that creates full-time positions for at least 10 employees. The job creation requirement can be satisfied more flexibly by investing in a USCIS-approved Regional Center. If the immigrant invests in a so-called “troubled business,” the number of employees at the business needs to be maintained (rather than creating new jobs).
Immigrant investors and their families are given conditional two-year permanent U.S. residence when they first obtain an EB-5 visa. If they meet visa conditions, they may apply at the end of the two-year period to have the conditions on their lawful residency removed, and transition to legal permanent (Green Card) status. Foreign investors who obtain permanent residency through the EB-5 program may apply for U.S. citizenship 90 days prior to the five year anniversary of receipt of their conditional resident status.
EB-5 Program Fraud
Immigrants who have the $900,000 to $1.8 million needed to apply for an EB-5 visa are sometimes targeted by fraudsters. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned about scams that exploit the EB-5 program. In many cases, fraudsters take money from foreign investors and use the funds for personal uses.
Investors who do not work with an attorney are responsible for reviewing all company and investment information on their own. EB-5 applicants should learn to spot the red flags of fraud, such as the promise of a visa or lawful permanent residency, or guaranteed investment returns. Keep in mind that a USCIS Regional Center is not necessarily endorsed by the government. Victims of an EB-5 scam can lose not only their money, but also their path to U.S. residency.
Get Professional Legal Help With Your EB-5 Visa
Immigrants greatly enrich our economy and society. Using the EB-5 program, immigrant investors enable new businesses to get off the ground and struggling businesses to stay afloat. Every year, the contributions of EB-5 visa holders create or support more than 50,000 jobs.
The immigration attorneys at Barshay Sanders handle all aspects of the EB-5 process, including personal and financial documentation, applications, expedited applications, and appeals. We work with businesses across the U.S. to identify suitable and legitimate opportunities for foreign investors. Our lawyers ensure you do not fall prey to scams that jeopardize your immigration. With our help, you and your family will be on track to becoming U.S. residents in the shortest time possible.
During a free meeting with an attorney, we can answer any questions you have about the EB-5 process. To schedule a consultation, call 855-456-2240 or send us a message.