Individuals looking to move to the United States (U.S.) permanently can get a green card through the Immigrant Investor Program. The program is aimed to encourage people to invest in American businesses. The Employment-Based Immigration Fifth Preference Visa commonly referred to as the EB-5 visa, allows holders to reside, study, work and retire in the U.S. The EB-5 visa is an investment-based green card that’s ideal for wealthy non-Americans who want American citizenship. In this article, we discuss the EB-5 visa eligibility criteria, how to apply for the visa, and which documents you need to apply for the visa.
Who is eligible for the EB-5 visa?
As an investor, you may need to satisfy various requirements to be eligible for the EB-5 visa. These requirements include:
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- You need to have the financial capability to make one of the required capital investments
What are the requirements for an EB-5 visa?
For you to qualify for the EB-5 visa, your investment should:
- Meet the capital requirements—a minimum of $900,000 in the targeted employment areas (TEAs) or $1.8 million outside TEAs
- Create or preserve a minimum of ten full-time jobs (35 working hours a week) for Americans for two years
- Be lawfully acquired; you will need to prove the legality of your investment funds
- Offer no guarantee of capital return
- Be invested in a for-profit new commercial business founded after Nov. 29, 1990. However, you can also invest in a company founded on or before Nov. 29, 1990, if it was:
- Purchased and restructured in a way that a new commercial enterprise arises; or
- Expanded through investments leading to at least 40% increase in its net worth or the number of employees
How to apply for the EB-5 visa
- File Form I-526: Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides this form. You need to attach to the filled form evidence of your financial capability to make the investment and proof of the legality of your capital. Once submitted, the USCIS will review your petition to consider your eligibility for the EB-5 visa. The process takes approximately six months.
- File Form DS-260: Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
Once the USCIS has approved your Form I-526, you can file Form DS-260 with the U.S Department of State to get an EB-5 visa. The first approved EB-5 visa is conditional and has a validity of two years, granting conditional permanent resident status in the U.S.
- File Form I-829: Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status
After two years of complying with the conditions of the Immigrant Investor Program, you can petition to have these conditions of the EB-5 visa removed. On approval, you would become a lawful U.S. permanent resident. The petition should be filed 90 days before the expiry of the first visa. Eligible EB-5 visa holders from Canada can apply for American citizenship after living in the U.S. for five years.
What documents do you need for your EB-5 visa application?
For the USCIS to consider your application, there are essential documents that you should provide:
- Evidence that you have or are actively in the process of investing in a commercial enterprise for profit
- Evidence that you are or will be in control of the business
- Proof of your capability to satisfy the minimum investment amount
- Evidence that you acquired your investment capital lawfully
- A business plan that proves that the nature and projected size of the enterprise will create or retain a minimum of ten full-time jobs for Americans for two years
- Registration records of any foreign businesses you own
- Evidence of any other source of capital
- Personal and corporate tax returns filed in the last five years
- Legal certificates of any judicial proceedings involving money judgments against you from any court within the past 15 years
Who can you bring into the U.S after your visa approval?
After your EB-5 visa has been approved, your spouse and dependent children under the age of 21 can have the same visa status as you. However, they’re required to make their visa applications separately.
Do you need help with your EB-5 visa application?
At Silver Immigration, our Montreal-based immigration lawyers can help you with your investment-based green card application to help you as an investor live and work in the United States of America.