1. What is an EB-5 investor green card?
The EB-5 Category allows a Foreign National the freedom to sponsor him or herself for U.S Permanent Residency. Specifically, the Foreign National must be an investor and is required to infuse a substantial investment amount into a U.S Business or Enterprise.
2. Who is eligible for EB-5 investor Green Card?
Unlike some non-immigrant visa categories, there are No Countries or Foreign Nationals precluded from the EB-5 category. Certain immigration or criminal violations may preclude an applicant’s eligibility to this category.
3. What is the minimum amount of investment required for EB-5 Green Card?
The U.S Immigration rules require that the investment must be no less than U.S$1million OR U.S$500,000, this minimum requirement will depend on the area in which the U.S Business receiving the investment is located.
4. What is a “targeted employment area for EB-5 Investment?”
A Target Employment Area or “TEA” is a geographical location within the U.S that has been shown to have an unemployment rate that is at least 150% greater than the U.S National unemployment rate or it is a location that is deemed to be Rural in terms of population, (location must have a population of less than 20,000 people). An investment made into a TEA business will qualify that investor for an EB-5 Visa with a U.S$500,000 investment.
5. How long does it take to get my EB-5 Green Card?
The Processing times vary. All EB-5 applications must initially begin the process with a petition filed with the USCIS. The current processing time here is 4 to 6 months. Upon Petition approval, the applicant must then apply for his/her Green card inside the U.S (if eligible) or abroad at a local Consulate. The processing times vary at the Consulates from 2 to 6 months. The processing time for the application inside the U.S is 3 to 6 months. As such, the average processing time for an EB-5 Green Card is 9 to 11 months.
6. How many EB-5 Green Cards are available?
The statuary number is 10,000. This number has Never been reached.
7. Are there any restrictions on the types of businesses in which the investment must be made?
The vast majority of all EB-5 applications are made through a certified Regional Center (90%). A smaller number (10%) are investments into a closely held or “Direct” business. There are no statutory restrictions on the types of businesses eligible for EB-5 purposes. However, the law does require that the business be able to create at least 10 permanent U.S jobs.
8. What kinds of documents should I be preparing to begin my EB-5 case?
Each investor and investment is different. However, one common thread is that the U.S Immigration Service will want to make sure that the investment amount ($500,000 or $1million) was earned from a legal and legitimate source. As such, all investors are required to document the source of this investment in a manner that is accepted by USCIS.
9. Can the EB-5 investment be from a Gift?
Yes, your EB-5 application can be processed based on an investment that was gifted to you. Be mindful, that USCIS will want to see evidence that the gift giver earned his or her money only in a legitimate manner. Also, there will need to be a showing as to the events or circumstances surrounding the gift.
10. Can I invest in EB-5 Program through my company instead of in my individual name?
Yes, there are many ways to invest. Where you are receiving payments, dividends or loans from your company, those payments could be allocated to your EB-5 investment. Certainly, this is an area that would need to be discussed in more detail.
11. How many USCIS designated Regional Centers are there currently?
Approximately 150. The vast majority are less than 2 years old.
12. Which states have most number of EB-5 Regional Centers?
While I believe that the State currently with the most Projects is California, it is really not very important. One of the most attractive aspects of investing into a Regional Center is that the investor will not be required to be involved with hands on, day-to-day operations of the project. The investor will be free to live in Any U.S State with very limited operational duties.
13. I see that you are located in California. I am located in a different State. Is that going to be a problem? Is being located in California an advantage?
It is important to note that the vast majority of our clients are located not only in other States, but also abroad in counties throughout the Globe. Like most major immigration Law Firms, our Firm is set up to work with clients from vast locations. While being in California is not a significant advantage, it is very helpful. The fact is that all EB-5 applications are adjudicated right here at the California Service Center. I not only began my career working for the local Immigration Office, I continue to attend the meetings and forums hosted by the California Service Center.
14. If I apply as a principal, who are eligible to immigrate with me via EB-5 case? Do they have to?
One of the most attractive aspects of the EB-5 program is the fact that a single investment will include an investor his or her spouse and all of their children (under 21). There is no additional investment requirement for any of these immediate family members. Unfortunately, the investment does not include parents, children over 21 or brothers & sisters of the investors. An eligible family member is not required to be included with the investor as part of the EB-5 application, unless he or she wishes to do so.