An EB-5 investment visa is a program that will allow you to obtain a green card and a lawful permanent residency through investment in California. The basic of the investment is that you invest millions in a new or an existing business and create employment for California residents within the first two years. It is granted for two years on conditions, where after the two years, the conditions are removed, and you are granted a permanent residency in California. EB-5 investment visa allows you to bring your spouse and children under 21 to California to live with you.
The program is operated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to encourage more investors into the United States economy. Contrary to other types of investment visas that allow temporary residency, the EB-5 investment visa allows permanent residence. The EB-5 investment visa application process can be challenging for you if you handle it on your own. Therefore, you should contact an immigration attorney who understands the right procedures to increase your chances of having your visa approved. At California Immigration Attorney, we have attorneys who have successfully helped many immigrants apply for their EB-5 investment visa.
Important Aspects of the EB-5 Investment Visa Program
For your EB-5 investment program to work, there is a significant aspect that you should be aware of. You should have at least $ 500,000 as an essential aspect of your EB-5 investment visa application. You can invest in two ways, through direct investment and the regional center.
Direct investment — It is one of the appropriate ways you can invest in California. Although it is a complex and challenging process required by the regional center, it is more appropriate, depending on your goals.
The regional center — There are designated regions where you can make investments and make the EB-5 investment visa application. A regional center is a type of passive investment where you can quickly meet your investment requirement if you want to apply for an EB-5 investment visa. The application process for an EB-5 investment visa is more straightforward if you have invested through a regional center. Therefore, you must choose a regional center that will make your application process easier.
- You must have the investment in place for you to apply for the EB-5 investment visa. It is good to have your investment in a regional center
- It would be best to choose the right regional center since not all centers have a track record for helping you obtain a permanent green card
- You should file a FormI-526, an immigration petition by an alien entrepreneur, with the USCIS after your investment has been made
- After you have your EB-5 investment visa approved, you should leave the money for several years in the business for investment purposes. The EB-5 investment visa goes for two years, after which you should file a petition to have the conditions in the green card removed after two years. The petition is filed by filing Form I-829, a Petition for the entrepreneur to remove Conditions, with the USCIS.
- After the two years that you can apply for a permanent residency in California on a condition, you must prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that you still have your money invested in the regional center.
- You should prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration services that the money you used to invest was obtained lawfully. To prove that, you should provide business and personal financial documents.
- The purpose of an EB-5 investment visa is to get a green card
- It will help if you get a business advisor to help you with the investment since there are many risks. The advisor will help you evaluate all the risks associated with your investment.
You will be issued a conditional green card after your EB-5 investment visa application is approved. The green card conditions will expire after 90 days, after which you will be required to remove the conditions. For the conditions to be removed from the green card, you need to prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that you have sustained the investment for two years and have managed to offer job opportunities to at least ten employees. Suppose your application to have the conditions removed is approved. A green card will be granted to you and valid for ten years, meaning you will now be a permanent resident in California.
There are some risks associated with the EB-5 investment program. It doesn’t mean that if you are an EB-5 investor, you will automatically have your application for the green card approved. There is, though, no guarantee that your investment will have good returns to enable you to qualify for an EB-5 investment visa. Therefore, you must contact your California immigration attorney to increase your chances of having your EB-5 investment visa application successful if you doubt that the process may not go through.
Some of the issues that may make the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services not approve your application are criminal records. If you have some specific criminal records, you entered California without an inspection, or you have some health issues, you may not benefit from the EB-5 investment program.
EB-5 Investment Visa Application Process
You must complete five steps to have your EB-5 investment visa approved and obtain a permanent residency in California. They are:
- Locating the business that you will invest
- Making the investment required
- Submitting an I-526 petition
- Obtaining permanent residency
- Submitting I-829 application after two years of residency
Choosing an EB-5 Investment to Work in
The first step if you want to apply for an EB-5 investment visa is to ensure that you invest in a project that will enable you to meet the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services requirement. Most EB-5 investment is made in regional centers programs, where an organization sponsors the investments. Regional centers are approved by the USCIS to promote economic growth in regions whose economy is poor.
You should ensure that you invest in a business that will make your EB-5 investment visa application process easier by meeting the requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Regional centers usually sponsor EB-5 investments. The regional center makes it easy for your investment to meet the criteria that enable you to apply for EB-5 investment visa green cards. You may consider two desired outcomes when selecting an EB-5 investment project; the return on capital and green cards. The return of capital is related to the investment returning your investment capital after some time. At the same time, the green card expectations relate to the immigration benefits you are entitled to.
Some of the things to consider in locating the type of business to invest in are, your investment should use at least $1.8 million if it is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A targeted employment area applies to the investment projects located in areas with high unemployment or rural areas. Something else to consider is that your business is in a position to create jobs for at least 10 citizens on a full-time basis. You may have an easy time with your EB-5 investment visa application process if the investors have approved your application. The USCIS will refer to your previous approval for the same project. It is not a guarantee that the application process will be smooth, but you can have some confidence that your application may be successful if there have been changes to the better in your investment project.
When you invest in a business, you expect to have the capital invested return after some time. The best determinant of having your capital back is ensuring that your money is secure in the investment business. There are many types of investment that you may think of establishing and enable you to meet the minimum requirements for the EB-5 investment visa application. If you invest in a commercial enterprise, there is a likelihood that your chances of an EB-5 investment visa application go through because it is not dependent on location.
A commercial enterprise also requires less capital to invest than the business located in the targeted employment areas. To make your investment, you will be required to agree to join a limited liability company or a partnership. You will then be accepted by the general partner or the manager who will wire your investment funds to an escrow account and be controlled by an escrow agent.
Filing the Petition that Meets the Application Criteria
After you identify the type of investment and the location where to establish it, you will have your California immigration attorney proof of your investment to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The attorney will do so by filing a. I-526 petition that will prove you have an investment in operation or you are in the process of investing. The petition will also show that you have the required capital to establish the investment and meet the criteria required to have your EB-5 investment visa application approved. How else will the attorney help you?
The EB-5 investment visa application is a process that requires you to prove that your investment is or will contribute to the California economy, among other expectations. Therefore, your attorney will help in:
- Showing that the capital you intend to use to establish an investment or run the existing business was obtained in a lawful way
- Proving that your business plan is creditable in the eyes of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Proving to the USCIS that your capital is at risk, and the chance of losing or gaining your capital back is also at risk
- Showing that the investment capital will be invested and that your investment will create jobs for green card holders, citizens, and those who reside in California legally
- Proving that you are locating your business in a targeted unemployment area, high unemployment area, or in rural areas, to have it meet the minimum investment amount expected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Suppose you apply for an EB-5 Investment visa and the process fails, you will be refunded by the new Commercial Enterprise (NCE), where they will include the refund terms and conditions in the documents. It is, though, not a guarantee that you will have a full refund.
Conditional Permanent Residency
Suppose your EB-5 Investment visa application is approved. You will have attained permanent residency in California in two ways. You can file an investor’s petition Form DS-260 with the United States embassy or the U.S consulate. You can file Form I-485 to have your status adjusted if you have already invested in California. In either way, you will be granted a conditional visa for the next two years in California. Your status adjustment will be made at a fee of $1,140, including the biometric services. However, you can adjust your status from non-immigrant to a permanent resident in California after two years. It is essential that if you want to adjust your status and become a permanent resident, contact your attorney to help you through the process. The documents you will be required to provide to have the conditions removed are:
- Your birth certificate
- Marriage a divorce certificate where applicable
- Your criminal records, if any
- Your two photographs
- A copy of a non-immigrant visa and two passports that show you currently reside in California.
In most cases, your petition to have the conditions removed to obtain a permanent residency is approved. Denial only happens if you have had some criminal records or if you have violated some immigration laws. Suppose your EB-5 investment is approved, and you move out of California. You should file a DS-260 application to be granted conditional permanent residency in California. Your application will be processed in the U.S embassy or the U.S consulate in your country.
It is important to contact a California immigration attorney at this stage because the application process and the interview may be challenging. Application for the conditional visa while out of California involves two steps; the application and the interview.
The application requires you to provide biographical information that includes your job history, your previous residence, and military service history if any. In case you were previously involved in social media activities, you should disclose the same during the application.
The interview will be conducted in your country’s embassy or at the United States consulate. During the interview, you may be asked to present some documents with you, such as birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, if any. If the Forms I-485 or DS-260 petitions are approved, you will be issued a green card. Therefore, you become a permanent resident of California under certain conditions. You can also have an opportunity to bring you and your family to come and live with you in California.
For the two years covered by the visa, you will be required to remain in California, and if you want to move out, you cannot do it for more than a year. Suppose you reside out of California for more than a year. You will be required to re-apply to get another entry permit. It is advisable that before the conditions in your conditions expire, you will be required to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent residency in California.
Unconditional Permanent Residency and Filing I-829 Petition
The last step of the EB-5 investment visa application is the application of unconditional permanent residency in California. You will be required to make the application after two years when the visa condition will have expired and after filing an I-829 application, and after it is adjudicated and approved. I-829 shows that you have met all the requirements of the EB-5 investment visa as required by the (USCIS). The documents you will require to file the petition are:
- Evidence to show you created a commercial investment as per federal tax returns
- A card to show your permanent residency in California
- A document to show that the investment received your capital investment
- A document to prove that you maintained your business for the two years your residency was under conditions
- A proof that you offered a job to at least ten workers, including citizens, green card holders, or any other person who resides in California legally
- Biometric documentation that includes your signature, photographs, and fingerprints
- A legal document that shows your criminal history, if any
You should file the I-829 petition 90 days before the expiry of your conditional residency in California. The filing is done to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, failure to which your permanent residency will not be granted. You must let your California immigration attorney file the petition on your behalf to increase the chances of having your application approved. You will pay a filing fee of $3,750 and $85 as a biometric fee associated with the filing.
After your petition is approved, you, your spouse, and your children under the age of 21 can renew your green cards. With that, you become a permanent resident in California. After five years from the day you are issued your unconditional permanent residency, you can opt to become a United States citizen and benefit from all the state's services.
Why Should I Consider EB-5 Investment Green Card
Some of the reasons that will make you consider an EB-5 investment visa is:
- The process of having your green card approved for you and your family members is faster
- The EB-5 investment visa application process does not require you to have a labor certification or any job in place
- There is no requirement that you should disclose the much you are worth
- You are not required to involve yourself in the EB-5 investment visa application process highly
Criteria for Investing in a Business
The criteria you may use to invest in a new business in California include:
- Investing in at least $1 million to start an investment in a targeted employment area. The targeted employment area usually has a high unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.
- Your investment should show that it benefits the California economy by providing goods and services in the domestic markets
- Your investment should employ at least ten workers within two years, directly or indirectly. The workers may include citizens, green card holders, and any other person working in the United States by the law.
- Your capital for investment doesn’t necessarily have to be cash. It can compromise indebtedness secured by assets you own and for which you are liable and cash equivalents. It can also compromise stock, equipment, and any other tangible property.
- You can be directly involved in the management of the investment directly or as a limited partner
Not all times that your business will prosper as you wish. You may find yourself involved in a failing business. Some of the criteria that you may use and have your failing business back to operation and apply an EB-5 investment are:
- That your investment should have been in operation for at least two years, and it should have employed many workers compared to the initial investment
- Before your EB-5 investment visa application, your failing investment should return the net loss. The net loss constitutes at least 20% of your investment worth on your balance sheet.
- The failing business should be located in a designated area, majorly the targeted Employment area
Contact an Immigration Attorney Near Me
EB-5 investment visa applications can be confusing and challenging. If you need to increase your chances of having your green card application successful, contact our experts at the California Immigration Attorney. Our attorneys will help you navigate the complex EB-5 investment visa application process, and you will increase the chance of obtaining a permanent residency in California for investment purposes. We can also help you with the application of other types of visas under immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs. Contact us at 424-789-8809 to talk to our immigration experts today.