Immigration to the United States as an investor is an exciting opportunity for immigrants who want to obtain their permanent green card while helping the U.S. economy by creating permanent full-time jobs. The EB5 immigration program offers up to 10,000 EB5 visas per year for immigrants who are willing to make a financial investment in enterprises in the U.S.
Qualified Enterprises for Investment Immigration
Prospective U.S. immigrants interested in pursuing EB5 visas will need to either start their own business in the U.S. or find an ongoing commercial enterprise in which to invest. Qualified commercial enterprises are defined as for-profit concerns involving ongoing lawful business, and may be in the form of:
- Sole proprietorships
- Holding companies
- Limited or general partnerships
- Business trusts or other publicly or privately owned entities
- Joint ventures
Holding companies and wholly owned subsidiaries qualify too, as long as each subsidiary is involved in for-profit work in a lawful, ongoing business concern. Investor immigrants are required to show that the necessary amount of capital (either $500,000 or $1 million, depending on the business and location) has been placed at risk for generating a return on the investment. The intent to invest without a commitment is not sufficient for the process of obtaining EB-5 visas.
The I-526 Form
Applicants for EB-5 visas must fill out INS form I-526, the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur to apply for investment immigrant status. The form also requires supporting documentation showing that the applicant’s investment meets requirements. For example, supporting documentation must show that the applicant:
- Is investing the required amount of capital
- Is using funds from lawful sources
- Will create the required number of jobs under the EB5 program
The I-485 Form
After the I-526 is approved, EB5 immigrants already living in the U.S. may obtain their conditional resident status by filling out INS form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. EB5 immigrants living outside the U.S. must apply for an immigrant visa at their country’s U.S. Consulate. Documentation required to go along with the I-485 includes
Form G-325A (Biographic Information)
- Two passport photos
- Government issued photo ID
- Birth Certificate
- Passport page with admission or parole stamp
- I-94 form, Arrival / Departure Record (where applicable)
- I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination
- Required fees
- I-797 (Approval Notice for I-526)
The I-829 Form
Ninety days before the second anniversary of admission as a conditional resident, EB-5 applicants need to file form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. Once the form is approved, the applicant obtains a permanent green card. After an additional five years, the applicant may apply for U.S. citizenship.
How an EB-5 Consultant Can Help You
Even though the EB-5 process was streamlined somewhat in 2011, it is still a complicated process. Many investor immigrants enlist in the services of an EB5 consultant at the beginning of the process for help in the selection of investment opportunities and to make sure all procedures are followed. U.S. immigration laws are federal laws, so applicants are free to choose a qualified EB5 consultant located anywhere in the U.S. for assistance in the process.