Within the United States, programs have been designed to help grow our economy through the immigration of entrepreneurs from around the world. Through the EB-5 visa program and as an investor, you may obtain your immigration visa or green card for both yourself and your family.
At Stephenson, Chávarri & Lambert, we represent foreign investors with advocacy and wise counsel. Using our experience and multilingual capabilities, we represent clients from Central and South America, Spain and other European countries, as well as Africa and Asia.
An EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa for foreign nationals who invest a substantial amount of money in USCIS-designated “regional centers.” The EB-5 program was created to help stimulate economic growth in areas of high unemployment, requiring investors to create or preserve jobs for U.S. workers.
An EB-5 visa, once obtained, allows foreign-national investors and business owners to obtain permanent resident status and naturalization of citizenship. Currently, the United States only administers 10,000 EB-5 visas annually.
According to the USCIS, an EB-5 regional center “is an economic unit, public or private, in the United States that is involved with promoting economic growth.” These regional centers are designated by USCIS for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program. In Louisiana, New Orleans is a regional center, set forth by the USCIS.
There are certain requirements set forth by the USCIS for individuals applying for an EB-5 visa. First, all EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which means one of the following must be true:
According to the USCIS, a commercial enterprise is any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business. These enterprises might include sole proprietorships, partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, trusts, etc.
Included in these requirements, an investor must invest into an enterprise that will create full-time jobs for at least ten employees. These full-time jobs must offer the employee a minimum of 35 hours per week. Temporary or seasonal positions do not count towards the job creation requirements.
To obtain an EB-5 visa, an investor must invest a substantial amount of capital in the form of cash, equipment, inventory or other cash equivalents. A minimum general qualifying of investment in the United States is $1 million. But, in targeted employment areas such as high unemployment or rural areas, the minimum investment is $500,000.
The EB-5 visa application process resulting in a green card usually takes up to one-and-a-half years, depending on the filing. To start the application process, you must file Form 1-526, called the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
If your form is approved, you will move forward by filing Form 1-485 or Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, adjusting your status to a conditional permanent resident. Or, you may file a DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration to obtain an EB-5 visa abroad to seek entry into the U.S.
After the form is accepted and approved, you will be granted conditional permanent residence into the United States for two years.
Conditional permanent residence refers to the temporary green card you receive for two years. This is the first card you receive as an EB-5 investor. After the two years, you can apply for a removal of conditions, resulting in permanent green cards for you and your family.
To become a permanent resident without conditions, you must apply by filing form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status within 90 days before the two-year mark of your original admission to the U.S. If approved, your conditions will be removed.
The EB-5 visa application process can be difficult to manage on your own. Although applications are a critical part of the process, there’s more to it than meets the eye. This complex area of law requires you to make a large investment, proving the source of your funds and may also require a business plan or other reports.
EB-5 applications are often the most carefully reviewed applications. This means that an experienced attorney should help you prepare your applications and other requirements to decrease the likelihood of denial. To protect your investment as well as your time, you should at least consider consulting with an attorney prior to starting the process.
If you wish to become a permanent resident of the United States as an investor, the EB-5 investor program is a viable option. As an investor in the EB-5 program, you can live or work anywhere within the United States without needing to own or manage your own company or business.
As an EB-5 visa investor, you are investing in economic growth and job availability within the United States. As a result, you’re offered permanent residency for you and your family.
Are you a foreign investor, desiring permanent residency within the United States? The EB-5 visa program may be an option for you. You don’t have to attempt the application process alone. Instead, consider hiring a professional attorney through Stephenson, Chávarri & Lambert. To learn more, give us a call at 504-523-6496 or send us a message.