EB-5 Immigration Investors

The U.S. government is very interested in encouraging foreign nationals to invest substantial funds in US businesses with the expectation that these investments will create jobs in the United States. This is the premise behind the EB-5 program, which offers three types of qualifying investments, and should result in successful applicants eventually receiving “green cards.”

We will briefly discuss here one of these options, which by far has become the most popular of the three EB-5 investment categories.

Regional Center Investments

Since almost all of the approved “Regional Centers” are in areas the government has designated as needing economic investment, these only require a minimum investment of approximately $500,000 USD, rather than the higher $1,000,000 USD threshold.

This type of EB-5 investor does not have to actually engage in the day-to-day management of the business, as do those who establish their own business enterprise. It is essential to be able to prove the legal source of the funds but these funds can derive from a gift that was given to the applicant by another family member.

The Procedure

After determining through the advice of separate business counsel, and financial advisors, etc., that the investment in the approved Regional Center meets the investor’s requirements, the immigration attorney will assist the investor in the following procedures:

1)                A Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, must be filed with supporting documentation and the appropriate filing fees, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

2)                Upon approval, if the investor is in the United States, he or she files an Adjustment of Status Application (Form I-485), with supporting documentation and the appropriate filing fees, with USCIS. If the investor is overseas, he or she applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S.

3)                The investor is initially granted Conditional Resident Status, which is valid for a two year period.

4)                To remove the two-year condition, he or she must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, with the appropriate filing fees, within the 90 days before the second anniversary of the investor’s admission to the U.S. as a Conditional Resident. Upon approval, he or she will be issued a permanent green card and would be free to withdraw his or her funds from the investment. 

Please note that processing times vary for each stage of the processing, but a good estimate is that the entire process should take from three to five years. If interested, the investor can then apply for U.S. Citizenship, after the requisite statutory period.

Contributed by Charles M. Goldsmith

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