Obtain Permanent Residency Based on Investment With an EB-5 Visa
At The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC, we help investors and entrepreneurs (and their spouses and children) obtain Green Cards for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. with an EB-5 visa. An EB-5 visa is the fifth preference category for employment-based immigrant visas. As you may have guessed, the U.S. only grants a limited number of EB-5 visas each year, and competition for a Green Card through this process can be fierce. Read on for more information about obtaining an EB-5 visa, and how The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC can help.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
EB-5 visas are granted for the purpose of investing in a “new commercial enterprise” in the U.S. Generally speaking, you must invest at least $1,000,000, or $500,000 if the location of the business is in an area of exceptionally high unemployment or in a targeted rural area. The investment must also either create at least ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers or preserve at least ten jobs in a troubled business, and there are requirements regarding the level of involvement which the investor must have in the day-to-day management of the enterprise.
For wealthy people who wish to invest money into the U.S. economy, the EB-5 visa can provide a quick method of obtaining permanent residence. In fact, you may get permanent residence immediately upon entering the U.S. with an EB-5 visa. This will allow you to avoid additional paperwork and additional consular processing that would seek permanent residence after a visa.
You do not have to have experience or business training in order to obtain an EB-5 visa. As long as you have the required amount of money to invest and your business investment meets other requirements, the government will likely grant your visa. There is no prohibition against certain countries. However, U.S. immigration authorities do question immigrants from all countries, especially those from countries that frequently submit fraudulent activity.
The EB-5 Green Card Is Conditional
When you seek an EB-5 visa, it is upon the condition that you will be investing in the United States economy. Thus, an EB-5 green card expires within two years after the government issues it. In that time, you must show that your business investment meets all of the qualifications of the EB-5 visa. It must provide a certain number of jobs and employer a minimum amount of workers. If it does not do this and meet other requirements within two years, then your green card may be canceled.
Invest in a Regional Center Through the Immigrant Investor Program
Investing in a business located inside a designated Regional Center is another option for the EB-5 immigrant investor. There are currently over 800 approved regional centers in the U.S., including about 64 in the state of Texas alone. A certain number of EB-5 visas are set aside every year and granted specifically to entrepreneurs who invest in a business located within an approved regional center.
Self-Petition Available for EB-5 Investors
While most employment-based petitions must be sponsored by an employer or some other individual, the law allows an EB-5 applicant to self-petition. However, this process involves many steps. These include:
- I-526 Petition for Alien Entrepreneur
- I-485 application to adjust status or an application through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an immigrant visa
- I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions
The timing of these petitions is important in order to successfully obtain a Green Card through this process. Immigration attorney Alfredo Lozano helps immigrant investors through the entire process, from preparing and reviewing all required petitions, forms and supporting documentation, to representing the client in adjustment of status hearings or other proceedings as needed.
There Is a Limit on the Number of Green Cards for Investors
Each year, the U.S. limits green cards for investors to 10,000. At least 3,000 of those EB-5 visas go to people who are investing in rural areas or areas designated as having high unemployment. Additionally, the U.S. limits the number of green cards for investors from each country. If more than 10,000 people apply for an investor visa in a year, then the additional people must go on a waiting list. The waiting list orders people according to priority date, which is the day you first submitted your application.
Typically, there are not more than 10,000 people who apply for EB-5 visas each year. However, recently, the limit was reached for Chinese investors. Due to the high demand for EB-5 visas from Chinese applicants, there was a wait list. People from other countries have not faced a wait list because their individual country limits have not been met.
Only the principal applicant is counted towards the total number of allowable EB-5 visas. Spouses, children, and other family relations who are also extended related visas are not counted towards the 10,000 limit for investor visas. Thus, many more than 10,000 people may enter the United States based on investor visas.
Benefits of an EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa can be extremely beneficial for people who have the ability to invest money in the U.S. economy. There are many benefits to obtaining an EB-5 visa, including the following:
- Once your green card becomes unconditional, you can work for a company other than the one in which you invested or not work at all.
- You can bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. as accompanying relatives. They may obtain their own green cards as well.
- You can invest your money in any business anywhere within the United States.
Your EB-5 Green Card May Be Revoked
Although you must go through a vetting process to obtain an EB-5 visa, you must also take actions in order to maintain your green card. The government may revoke your visa if you:
- Live outside of the United States or establish residence outside of the U.S;
- Use your green card only for work and travel;
- Remain outside of the U.S. for too long;
- Commit a crime; or
- Move and fail to update your address with the U.S. government.
However, if you avoid these situations and live in the U.S. consistently without any problems for at least five years, then you can apply for U.S. citizenship.
Importance of an EB-5 Visa Lawyer
When seeking an EB-5 visa, it’s important to use the services of a quality business immigration attorney. If you apply for an EB-5 visa and are denied, it will be even more difficult upon reapplication or appeal. It’s best to avoid any problems and work with an attorney from the beginning.
You are expected to invest money in the United States prior to seeking an EB-5 visa. Thus, you should work with an attorney who can guide you through the investment process as well. If you have already invested money in the United States economy and your visa is denied, you will have wasted a significant amount of money. Don’t risk a denial. Contact an EB-5 visa lawyer today.
In South Texas, Call the Lozano Law Firm for Practical Advice and Assistance with EB-5 Visas
For more information about the Immigrant Investor Program, or to start on your petition for an EB-5 visa, contact The Lozano Law Firm, PLLC in San Antonio or in San Angelo. Experienced immigration attorney Alfredo Lozano will personally handle all the key aspects of your application and guide you through the entire process from start to success.