Is EB-5 Visa an Alternative Route to Get a Green Card for the USA?

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Is EB-5 Visa an alternative route to Get a Green Card

Applying for permanent residency or green card is the natural next step for those who have worked for more than a decade in the U.S. For many, the waiting period for acquiring permanent residency on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa can range from between two years to 20 years on an average.

An alternative - and a faster route to a Green Card in the United States is through the EB-5 visa program.

What is an EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 or Employment Fifth preference visa is an investor visa program that was created in 1990. It enables investors and entrepreneurs from across the world to get a Green Card by making an investment in a business that creates jobs and benefits the economy of the U.S. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) administers the EB-5 visa program.

Who qualifies for an EB-5 visa?

Those looking to get an EB-5 visa need to make a minimum investment of $1,800,000 in an American business that provides ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers for a period of at least two years. If your investment is made in a business that is located in an economically depressed or "targeted employment area," the investment amount is $900,000

Investing directly or through a regional center

Investors can choose to invest directly or invest in a regional center. Those investing directly need to choose their own project to invest in apart from assuming a direct managerial role in the selected project. Investing in EB-5 regional center is ideal for those who are looking for a hands-off approach. Regional centers are designated by the USCIS to manage these investment projects and are required to meet the regulations set by the agency.

Who benefits from the EB-5 program?

The EB-5 program not only boosts the U.S. economy by creating jobs and capital investment but also benefits foreign investors. Immigrant investors are able to fast-track permanent residency, and consequently, citizenship under this program.

With no waiting period, unlike other visa categories, the EB-5 visa is one of the fastest ways to get a green card, all most as fast as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery. The estimated time range provided by USCIS is between 32.5 and 49.5 months. However, in 2019, the average processing time was 19.8 months.

The naturalization process for U.S. citizenship is also faster where the investor can become a citizen after five years.

How much does an EB-5 visa cost?

Apart from your capital investment of $900,000 (TEA investment) or $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise, the other costs are related to the following:

  • Administration fees at the regional center vary depending on the center but can range from - $50,000 to $70,000
  • Immigration attorney fees that can be between $10,000 and $15,000
  • Petition filing fees (related to I-526, I 485 and I-829 applications) that amount to $8565
  • USCIS biometrics fees, which is $85 per person
  • Wiring fees of $225

This means an additional amount of $68,875 to $93,875 has to be factored in over and above your initial investment. There could be other costs related to document translation, a visa processing fee, and EB5 business plan costs if you are planning to invest directly.

Applying for the EB-5 Visa

The first step is to fill the I-526 application and submit it to the USCIS to indicate you have made an investment either as an individual or through a regional center. There are several petitions you have to file for obtaining conditional permanent residency and requesting removal of these conditions.

From providing evidence of your financial capability to submitting the correct forms, there are many steps involved in applying for and obtaining the EB-5 visa.

Contact us at [email protected] to know more about how we can help you obtain a green card.

We can also help you apply for the Green Card Lottery, also known as the Diversity Immigration Visa Program, which is a program run by The Department of State that helps "eligible" individuals get a Green Card to United States. Today this program is one of the fastest ways to get a Permanent Resident Card to the land of opportunities.

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