What is the EB-5 Investor Visa?
For the wealthy foreigner, the EB-5 Program has been in effect since 1990 as a winning opportunity for the immigrant and their family to obtain permanent residency to the US. The EB-5 Investor will receive almost all of the same benefits as anyone who is a US citizen, and you and your family will have the opportunities available to their children and succeeding generations. The United States benefits under the EB-5 Investor Visa require the immigrant to invest a minimum of $500,000USD in a new business that creates at least ten US jobs.
It is helpful to remember the EB-5 visa has two separate paths through US Immigration & Citizenship Services (USCIS). First, you and your family members will be evaluated for “admissibility”, which applies the same to every green card seeker. Criteria that would keep you out of the US include felony criminal convictions, significant health issues, assets gained from illegal means, etc. Second, the EB-5 requires you make an at-risk investment that creates, directly or indirectly, ten US jobs. You are an investor, not a manager, so there’s no requirement to hire these people yourself, work in the business, or even live in the same state as your investment.
10 Easy Steps to an EB-5 Visa
- Confirm your eligibility. We need to confirm you as an “accredited” investor in order to show you any of our investment options. This is required by Regulation D of the US Securities Act of 1933. We understand it asks personal questions about your finances. We are required to confirm you have prior experience evaluating investments and have a sufficient net worth to invest $500,000 in an illiquid investment for several years without damage to your standard of living.
- Select your investment. Once confirmed as an accredited, we can show you the details of several investments and you can select the investment which appeals most to you. In general, the investments options are the same, as they are commercial real estate projects, where the $500,000 investment is structured as a loan at a low interest rate for several years. Where the projects differ is the asset class of the property (residential, office, hotel, medical), location, and timing of the opportunity.
- Hire an immigration attorney. We have a short list of attorneys we can recommend, and we have negotiated a discount rate with major international law firm. Typically legal fees range from $17,000-$25,000 depending on the attorney and the complexity of your family’s case.
- Prepare your visa petition. Once hired, your immigration attorney will provide you with a list of required documents and information (birth certificates, tax returns, etc.) that usually takes 1-2 months to compile. Usually the most cumbersome is collecting proof that the source of your $500,000 investment was earned legally, which involves tracing the money back seven years. Your attorney will have tips on how to streamline that process. At the same time, we are working with your attorney on the investment side, as it encompasses about 1,000-2,000 pages attached to your EB-5 petition.
- File your petition. Your attorney files your application (your family will be dependents on your application). Expected total costs to date are the attorney fees, the $500,000 investment, a $50,000 administrative fee, the filing fee at USCIS and any miscellaneous expenses you’ve incurred in the process (travel, notarizations, etc.). We use $590,000 as the target total cost, but your expenses may vary.
- We manage your investment. At this point, your investment and immigration diverge. We start managing the investment on your behalf; funding as the real estate project reaches certain milestones. You will receive regular reports on the status of the project. Usually your EB-5 job creation requirements are tied to the construction, and if so, as soon as the construction is completed, the required jobs have been created.
- Wait patiently. Your application will wait in a queue at USCIS for approximately 6-8 months and then it will take another six months or so for the review.
- Interview. Once approved, you will be notified and can make an appointment at your country’s US embassy or consulate for an interview. They will want to meet your family in person and review identification and confirm your intent to move to the US. Once approved, they will provide you with documents to present to US immigration upon your arrival in the US.
- Confirm your visa responsibilities. Approximately two years after your approval, our company will work with your immigration attorney to prove the job creation. There is a second filing, called Form I-829, to accomplish this. Upon review and approval by USCIS, they will replace you’re conditional green card with the permanent green card which only requires renewal (like a passport) every 10 years.
- Completion of the investment. The investment continues separately and will be repaid per its own terms. We typically work with an approximately five year term and attempt to return the investment earlier, but each project is different. As previously stated, the investment must be at-risk per USCIS requirements, and no guarantee can be made as to its return of or return on investment.