Obtaining an Immigrant Visa through the EB-5 Visa Program
“Foreign citizens who want to live permanently in the United States must first obtain an immigrant visa. This is the first step to becoming a lawful permanent resident.” These lines make the first paragraph in the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web page titled “The Immigrant Visa Process.”
Deciding to immigrate to the U.S. is not simple; much more the process that one will need to go through after deciding under which visa program or category he or she would want to qualify into. Though the family-based or employment-based visa categories are the programs that most immigrants apply into, there is a specific category wherein certain individuals may definitely qualify, the processing time is much faster, and the requirements are much limited: the EB-5 visa, also known as the employment fifth preference visa.
The EB-5 is the most challenging and the most expensive among the different types of Employment-based (EB) visa categories. This EB visa category is actually made available to foreign nationals who can and would want to invest between $500,000 and $1 million in the U.S. The amount of investment required is to be used in the creation of a new commercial enterprise or as investment in a Regional Center, either of which is for the purpose of creating or preserving at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers (citizens and permanent residents). EB-5 Regional Centers are organizations designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the purpose of sponsoring capital investment projects to help EB-5 investors and project developers meet the job creation requirements that will qualify them under the EB-5 program rules.
Investing in a EB-5 Regional Center is considered by many investors as a much safer, easier and cheaper move in obtaining a conditional green card for themselves and their families, as well as in having these conditions subsequently removed. With regard to cost of investment, instead of cashing in $1 million (the amount investors will need to spend if they decide to create a new business), the amount required in investing in an EB-5 Regional Center is only $500,000. The creation or preservation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers will also be easier and faster, especially if the Regional Center chosen by investors is one that is solid and well-run.
As emphasized by various Legal and Business Advisors firms, like the AMLaw Group, for instance, it is not enough that a foreign national is financially capable of making an investment in the U.S.; knowing if the EB-5 program is the best way through which he or she can obtain a conditional green card should be his or her first interest because once he or she acts on this option, the amount invested will no longer be recovered in case the investment fails. An investor may find it beneficial if he or she were to be supported by an experienced legal team in his or her pursuit of an EB-5 visa.