For the most part, employment-based (EB) visas are meant for foreign nationals seeking to work legally in the United States. However, the EB-5 visa is a notable exception, as it is meant for foreign nationals seeking to invest in an American community and create jobs for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
If you want to become an immigrant entrepreneur in the United States, you should strongly consider seeking help from a Bolingbrook EB-5 visa lawyer before embarking on the visa application process by yourself. Federal immigration law sets strict requirements and limitations on who can receive this kind of visa, and without guidance from a qualified visa attorney, you may have difficulties fulfilling those criteria and establishing legal status.
There are two core criteria that a prospective Employment Fifth Preference immigrant investor must fulfill in order to receive an EB-5 visa and ensure their conditional permanent resident status remains valid. A local EB-5 visa attorney could offer further clarification and guidance about the specific criteria that might apply based on an individual investor’s financial resources and intentions.
First, a prospective Immigrant Entrepreneur must invest a certain amount of capital, which can include liquid money, property, work equipment, and certain secured debts, into a U.S. commercial enterprise that was either first established or significantly restructured or expanded after November 29, 1990. The required minimum investment is $1.8 million unless the area invested in is either rural or suffering from significant unemployment, in which case the minimum investment is $900,000.
Second, the immigrant entrepreneur must use their invested capital to create at least ten new full-time jobs within the two years following their initial investment. These jobs generally must involve direct employment from the commercial enterprise that received the investment. However, if an enterprise is located in a “regional center” in need of economic growth as highlighted by USCIS, indirect jobs, which are jobs created by the commercial enterprise but not directly tied to it, may count towards this requirement.
The first step in pursuing an EB-5 visa is to fill out Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, and submit it along with supporting evidence that shows the applicant is able to meet the minimum requirements for immigrant investor status. Generally, this evidence should highlight an investment that has already been made in a qualifying commercial enterprise, demonstrate how the enterprise will create new jobs, and show that the applicant will have a direct managerial role in the enterprise.
If this petition is accepted, the next step is to file either Form DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, if the applicant is outside the United States, or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if they are already inside U.S. borders. These forms, if accepted, will result in USCIS granting a two-year conditional permanent resident status to the applicant and any derivative family members they bring with them.
Finally, within 90 days prior to the expiration of this two-year period, an EB-5 visa recipient must submit Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, along with documentary evidence showing that they have fulfilled the investment and job creation criteria. An EB-5 visa lawyer in the area could help compile information for any or all of these forms and ensure they are submitted in a timely and organized fashion.
While EB-5 visas are considered low-priority employment-based visas, they still account for a small percentage of visas given out each year. However, since only about 140,000 EB visas of any type are granted per fiscal year, you should take the necessary measures to ensure that your application is as strong as possible.
Support from a Bolingbrook EB-5 visa lawyer could increase your odds of having your application accepted and being allowed to invest in United States commerce. Get in touch today to discuss your plans with a knowledgeable legal professional.