EB-5 Immigrant Visas
The EB-5 visa is reserved for foreign individuals wishing to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. by investing money in a commercial enterprise that will employ American workers. The program was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 by Congress and the George H. W. Bush Administration to encourage foreign capital and stimulate job growth and creation for American citizens. It was originally underused due to the long and arduous application process, but after undergoing several reforms, it later surged in popularity.
The minimum investment is $1 million and the business must employ 10 full-time workers. In certain areas considered “high-unemployment” or rural, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may reduce the minimum investment to $500,000. The investor must show that the funds required for investment were obtained legally while living in the country of origin.
In the simplest terms possible, the applicant must first file a I-526 petition, pass an interview with an immigration officer, and then receive a conditional green card. This portion of the process, depending on the circumstances, may range from three to six months.
Upon receiving the conditional green card, “permanent residency” is limited to two years. If during the remaining 90 days before the expiration of the green card, it is demonstrated that the business has made the necessary investments and led to the creation of at least 10 permanent jobs, the visa may be converted to a permanent resident card or a permanent green card. To qualify for the EB-5 visa and obtain permanent residency in the U.S., the investor is not required to maintain day-to-day management with the business operation. However, the investor will have to demonstrate some level of involvement.
It should also be important to mention that the investor’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible to obtain conditional green cards.
The process can require some help to navigate. Our Fremont and San Francisco immigration lawyers have the experience and expertise to help you understand the EB-5 visa program and application process.Criteria for Starting a Business or Expanding an Existing Enterprise
Certain regulations apply before the investor will qualify, including:
- The investor must establish or restructure the business as a new commercial enterprise.
- The investor must invest money to increase the business’s net worth or number of American employees by 40 percent.
Investors wishing to establish a business operation in the U.S. may qualify for an EB-5 nonimmigrant investor visa through USCIS. The operation may be set up as one of the following business entities to qualify:
- Sole proprietorship
- A joint venture or partnership
- A private or publicly held entity that will employ American workers
The Law Offices of Derek Lim provides legal assistance for investors seeking EB-5 visas to begin or expand a business in the Bay Area. Talk to attorney Derek Lim in Fremont, California and our San Francisco immigration lawyers and attorneys. Call 510-818-0898 or contact the office by email to arrange a return call to schedule a consultation.