INVESTMENT-BASED IMMIGRATION

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Certain EB-5 visas are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth under the pilot immigration.

For more information about EB-5 visa, you may check U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web page:

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Process

Investment Immigrant Visa

EB-5 investment immigration is one type of immigrant visas for foreign immigrant investors, it is also called for short as “EB-5” (Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference), such program (“Pilot Program”) was implemented in 1991 and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is in charge of the investment immigration program. The Pilot Program will be extended periodically since its first implementation in 1992. In order to promote economic growth for the United States, some investment immigrant visas will be reserved for investors who invested to the USCIS-approved regional centers.

The amount of the investment funds for the investment immigration is $1,000,000 or $500,000 in Targeted Employment Area (TEA), and 10 full-time jobs must be created in the United States.

There are three ways to immigrate via investment:

  • Investor establishes a new company (commercial enterprise)
  • Purchase an existing business in the United States, and
  1. Expended through the investment and made a 40% increase in the new worth or number of employees occurs.
  2. Restructured or reorganized the existing business that a new commercial enterprise results.
  • Invest to the USCIS-approved projects in TEAs (investment funds: $500,000)
For more information about Investment Immigrant Visa, you may check U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web page.

What is a Regional Center?

EB-5 investment immigration is one type of immigrant visas for foreign immigrant investors, it is also called for short as “EB-5” (Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference). This type of visa was implemented since 1991, the U.S. government created “Pilot Program” (Regional Center Pilot Program/The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program) in 1993, and allows for less restrictive job creation requirement based upon on the creation of “indirect” and “direct” jobs. Investors’ petitions would be approved in a short period of time because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services understands and familiars with the Regional Centers’ operations. The U.S. government issues 10,000 EB-5 visas every year, and 3,000 of the 10,000 EB-5 visas would be reserved for investors who invest to the Regional Centers. The current Pilot Program extends till September 30, 2015.

Advantages of USCIS-approved projects

  1. Investment funds will be returned to the petitioner if the petition is not approved;
  2. The petitioner can choose to live in anywhere in the United States and he/she does not need to participate in direct management;
  3. The petitioner does not need to create 10 direct (full-time) jobs;
  4. The amount of the investment fund is relative low: $500,000;
  5. Fast processing time.

For more information about Immigrant Investor Regional Centers, you may check U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web page.

General Processing Time

  • Attorneys need approximate 2 to 3 months to gather the supporting documents and to prepare the petition for the EB-5 investors;
  • The average processing time for I-526 petition takes approximate 13.8 months, our case examples took approximate 7 to 8 months;
  • The average processing time for I-485 application takes approximate 5 to 6 months, and the average processing time at the foreign consulate is about 4 months;
  • After receiving the conditional green card for 1 year and 9 months, the investors can file I-829 petition to remove conditions. (Updated on November 30, 2014)
For more information about General Processing Time, you may check U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web page.

Advantages of Investment Immigration

Flexible Requirements

The requirements for EB-5 investors are flexible. There are no requirements regarding the investor’s business background, age, educational level, or language abilities. EB-5 immigration petitions are generally approved if the investor is able to prove that the investment funds were legally obtained. Investment funds can come from a variety of sources. Sources are not limited to profits gained from operating the companies, but may also include earnings from selling real property, profits earned from stock markets, and monetary gifts from parents and relatives. International students who are over 21 years old may obtain U.S. green cards from investment immigration.

Fast Processing Time

Generally, qualified investors should be able to get results from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in about 8 to 12 months once the petition is filed. If the investment immigration petition is approved, the investor should be able to obtain the 2-year conditional green card in about 4 to 8 months. Once two years have passed, the investor can file an application to remove the conditions on their residence. Compared to other categories of immigration petitions, this is the fastest way to get a U.S. green card.

Advantages in Education

First of all, U.S. colleges and universities reserve the vast majority of admissions for U.S. students, with the remaining spots open for international students. The children of U.S. residents (green card holders) and the U.S. citizens have more opportunities to be admitted to U.S. colleges. Secondly, education is compulsory in the United States. Tuition fees for students who are permanent residents or U.S. citizens will be significantly cheaper than tuition fees for international students. Moreover, U.S. students may apply for student loans and can pay for the loans through installments when they graduate from college. Furthermore, many organizations limit scholarship eligibility to students who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents. After immigrating to the United States, your children will have access to better opportunities to obtain educational scholarships than international students.

Advantages in Maintaining Permanent Residency

In order to maintain permanent residency, the resident (green card holder) should not stay outside of the United States for more than 6 months within a year. If there is a need for the resident to leave the country for more than 1 year, but within the two-year period, he/she can apply for the Re-entry Permit. In this situation, the green card holder is recommended to return to the United States once every year within the two year-period, in order to keep the validity of his/her permanent residency. The resident may also travel between the United States and their native countries at any time. As with all other lawful immigrants, green card holders who immigrate to the United States via investment have the freedom to enter or depart from the United States. In addition, investors who invest in projects under USCIS-approved regional centers do not need to participate in the direct management and operation of those projects. There will be a professional management team to provide management and operational services for those projects. As investment stockholders, investors only participate by checking the operational status of the company and receiving distributed profits. Investors who have businesses in their native countries will benefit from this investment program because they do not need to give up their own business and come to the United States to participate in the direct management of the investment project.