Obtaining A U.S. Visa: Navigating the EB-5 Regulations.
It is well-known that navigating the U.S. immigration regulations can be a long and arduous task. One of the most popular methods of obtaining US citizenship has been the investment program (also known as EB-5) which until recently has required an investment of $500,000.
As of November 21, 2019, foreigners who wish to obtain a U.S. green card or permanent residence by investment must now invest $900,000 in a new target employment area (i.e. a “TEA” is a high unemployment or rural area). The Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services office is now directly reviewing and determining the designation of high-unemployment TEAs rather than deferring to TEA designations made by state and local governments.
Applying for an EB-5 requires an initial filing of an I-526 petition. Whilst the petition is under consideration, the amount of the funds must be held in escrow. The funds may be withdrawn after the unconditional green card is issued (and if the investment is equity-based) but if the investment is loan-based then the investment capital will be locked-up for the duration of the loan period. The entire process of obtaining an EB-5 green card from start to finish ranges from 3.5 to 4 years and can be more depending on the USCIS’s work load.
Benefits of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program:
· You will hold your queue for the green card in the event the business deal you invest in does not go according to plan;
· The program will allow you to obtain a U.S. green card for your immediate family members (i.e. spouse and children under 21 years of age) as well as for yourself;
· If your children obtain a green card/permanent residence then they will not have to file for a student visa to attend college/universities in the U.S.;
· After graduating from college/university, your children are immediately eligible to work in the U.S.;
· Access to education, medical and social security;
· Obtaining a green card will allow you to then apply for full U.S. citizenship;
· Having a U.S. passport will allow you to travel to many countries without a visa.
Once approved, the applicant is issued a temporary green card that is valid for a period of 2 years before the applicant is able to apply to receive an unconditional green card.
Although USCIS reserves about 10,000 visas for EB-5 investors each fiscal year, if you are thinking to take this route for green card status then you should consider acting sooner rather than later as Investment thresholds will increase automatically every five years to remain analogous to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).
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The above is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.