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ILW.COM EB-5 Blog

The Steps of Applying for an EB-5 Visa

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    The EB-5 Visa program has
experienced record popularity over the last few years among foreign nationals
interested in immigrating to the United States. 
The program offers US green cards to wealthy immigrants who invest a
minimum of $1 Million (or if the investment is in a rural or targeted high
unemployment area, $500,000) in a US venture. 
The investment must also create 10 permanent, full time jobs for American
workers within two years after the immigrant is granted entry into the
States.  Applications have been steadily
rising, from around 1,000 in 2009, to over 6,000 in 2012.  So, for those interested in taking advantage
of the program (and who can afford the hefty price tag), what steps are
involved in actually making it happen?


            The
first step is always to find a project suitable for the investment--one which
will satisfy the geographic, capital investment and job creation aspects of the
program.  This is most commonly done
through investment in a "Regional Center" which is a center that specializes in
pooling and managing investor capital, assisting in guiding EB-5 applicants through
the investment process and overseeing the actual investment of the funds.  Investment through a regional center is
largely a passive investment, and offers low to modest return on capital,
around 1%-2% depending on the center.  If
the investor is more interested in managing his or her own investment and wants
the potential for higher gains, they can locate an investment project on their
own, or even launch their own venture. 
This obviously requires much more involvement on the part of the
investor, but the potential returns are much higher as well.


            Once
an investment opportunity has been located, the next step is to make the
capital investment, which is usually made into an escrow account.  While the money is in escrow, the investor
(or their legal representative) must file an I-526 petition with the US Citizenship
and Immigration Services.  This petition
is where the investor presents evidence, usually in the form of a comprehensive
business plan, showing that their proposed investment will lead to the creation
of 10 full time jobs for American workers. 
The petition must also prove that the funds are coming from a legitimate
source.


            After
an I-526 petition has been filed, the USCIS will usually file a request for
additional information from the applicant. 
This is a normal part of the application process, and is simply an
opportunity for the government to gain clarification on any aspects of the
application that they may not be clear on. 
After the petition has been processed and approved, which usually takes
4-6 months, the applicant will be issued a conditional green card.  This conditional green card will last for two
years, and at the conclusion of the second year, the holder will be required to
prove that the job creation requirements have been satisfied.  If the holder can prove that the job creation
requirements have been satisfied, then they can file an I-829 petition 90 days
before the two-year anniversary of their entry permit.  The I-829 petition, if approved, will remove
the conditional status from the green card, ripening it into a normal green
card which will last indefinitely.


            It
is recommended that applicants hire an experienced attorney to assist them with
the long and complicated application process, but with the proper guidance and
advice, thousands of immigrants have been successful at navigating the
program's requirements, and many more are following in their footsteps each
day.


     Additional
information and professional legal assistance with the EB-5 visa process can be
provided at Eb5Investors.com. An
information portal dedicated to providing the most comprehensive content and
expert support.

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