EB-5 visas make up about seven percent of the approximately 140,000 employment-based visas that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) grants every fiscal year, as immigrant investors are last in the priority order for employment-based visa applicants. However, it is possible to obtain this type of visa if you meet the qualifying criteria, especially if you have help from an experienced visa attorney.
Receiving an EB-5 visa imposes a number of obligations that must be fulfilled if you want to keep your status as a legal U.S. resident, and the exact terms of those obligations can vary depending on your circumstances. Guidance from a Oak Brook EB-5 visa lawyer could be crucial to streamline the application process and ensure that you can uphold your promise to meaningfully invest in an American community.
First created in 1990, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign investors to contribute capital and stimulate job development in the United States. Foreign nationals who invest in a qualifying commercial enterprise, meaning that it is for-profit, lawful, and was founded, restructured, or significantly expanded after November 29th, 1990, can apply for a Fifth Preference Employment-Based Visa. This grants them conditional permanent resident status for two years.
In order to foster economic growth in rural and impoverished areas, the EB-5 program significantly loosens investment requirements for Immigrant Investors who put money into Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and/or regional centers. TEAs are generally rural areas, areas with an unemployment rate greater than 150 percent the national average, or both, while regional centers are USCIS-designated areas in need of economic support. A local EB-5 visa attorney could help an individual explore their options for investing into either type of area.
Obtaining an EB-5 visa involves both a financial component and a job creation component. First, a foreign investor seeking EB-5 conditional permanent residence must invest at least $1.8 million into an unclassified area or High-Employment Area, or $900,000 into a Targeted Employment Area, to qualify for this visa. “Capital” can include both liquid cash and real property, such as store inventory, working equipment, and cash equivalents.
Once a person receives an EB-5 visa, they must create no less than 10 new full-time jobs as a direct result of their investment. These must be jobs that involve direct employment by the commercial enterprise into which the visa recipient invested, if the enterprise in question is not in a regional center. However, both direct and indirect jobs may satisfy this requirement if the enterprise is located in a regional center.
Additional restrictions or exceptions to these requirements may apply depending on the unique circumstances under which an Immigrant Investor contributes financially to a commercial enterprise. Support from an EB-5 visa lawyer in the area could be essential to ensuring this entire process goes smoothly.
While the United States generally encourages foreign investment in American communities, there are a few prerequisite conditions that anyone seeking a visa through such an investment must meet. If an EB-5 visa recipient does not invest enough money or create enough jobs, they may end up having their conditional permanent resident status revoked.
Whether you are looking to apply for U.S. residence through the Immigrant Investor Program or want to ensure you can meet the criteria your EB-5 visa is contingent upon, an Oak Brook EB-5 visa lawyer could provide personalized and professional assistance. Contact a seasoned attorney today to see what may be possible in your situation.