Here is What You Need To Know About US EB-5 Visa

EB-5 visa is an opportunity for foreigners to invest, work, and live in the United States

Apart from immediate relative and family immigration visas, The US government also offers Employment Sponsored Visas to foreigners who get a job in the US. If you have found a job in the US, you can qualify for an employment-sponsored visa. However, your employer must be willing to petition on your behalf. Following are the 5 types of employment-sponsored visas:

  • EB-1 Visa  (First Priority Workers Visa): It is for professionals with extraordinary capabilities. Professors, artists, researchers, and other professionals specializing in arts, science, business, athletics, or education can apply. Executive managers who have already worked at a foreign branch of a US company for the past 3 years can also apply.
  • EB-2 Visa (Second Priority Workers Visa): This is for professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with outstanding abilities in arts, education, sciences, or business.
  • EB-3 Visa (Third Priority Workers Visa): It is for skilled individuals with more than 2 years of experience, professionals with an advanced degree, or unskilled workers with less than 2 years of experience (EW-3 Visa).
  • EB-4 Visa (Fourth Priority Workers Visa): It is for different workers associated with religious, government, or international organizations.
  • EB-5 Visa (Fifth Priority Workers Visa): It is for investors who are willing to invest between $500K to $1 million in the U.S economy.

There is a limit to the number of employment-sponsored visas issued every year. Once the maximum number of visas are allocated in a given year, the remaining applications wait for their turn in the coming years. If you apply for any employment-based US visa, you need to wait for your priority dates to become current. This is why employment-based visas involve long wait times and lengthy application process.

In this guide, we will discuss EB-5 visa, its requirements, the application process, and other valuable information that will help you understand whether or not you qualify to get this visa.

What is the EB-5 visa?

The EB-5 visa also called, Fifth Priority Workers visa, is only for those who are willing to invest and create jobs in the US. Unlike other employment-based visas, in this case, the visa applicant doesn’t require a petition from the employer.

As a foreigner, the EB-5 visa allows you to get a green card by investing a certain amount of money. Your investment efforts must create at least 10 jobs in order for you to qualify for a green card, and your investment must be between $500,000 and $1 million. As an investor, you can either invest in the general US economy or in a targeted area where the unemployment rate is high. We can further divide EB-5 visa into different categories in terms of targeted and untargeted areas:

  • C-5 visa: It is given to investors who create jobs outside of target areas
  • T-5 visa: This visa is for investors who create jobs in targeted rural or high unemployment areas
  • R-5 visa: It is for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program, not in a target area
  • I-5 visa: It is given to investors who take part in an Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area

If you get an EB-5 visa, you’ll be able to live in the US permanently. You can live in any state in the US. You must respect all the laws and regulations just like a regular U.S. citizen. However, as an EB-5 visa holder, you can leave the US for a certain period of time. You’ll become a U.S. citizen after applying for naturalization.

As mentioned earlier, there is a yearly cap for the EB-5 visa. 7.1% of the total 140,000 employment visas are given to investors. If you apply at a time when the yearly limit is reached, your application will be considered next year or whenever your turn will come.

Requirements of the EB-5 visa

There are several requirements that every applicant has to fulfill in order to get an EB-5 visa. For example, the EB-5 investor must invest in a newly established enterprise established before Nov 29th, 1990. You have to buy the business and rebuilt it into a new enterprise or you can expand the existing business in a way that its net worth increases by 40% or there are a considerable rise in the number of employees.

Moreover, investors in the EB-5 category have to create 10 permanent and full-time jobs in two years. You can hire new employees for your new commercial enterprise or for the company you have expanded as a result of your investment. If you invest in a business that ends up being bankrupt, the requirements might change.

As mentioned earlier, you have to invest a minimum of $1 million in the US economy. However, if you choose to invest in a rural area where the unemployment rate is high, you can invest $500,000. You can’t borrow this money in order to invest.

How to apply for the EB-5 visa?

We can divide the application process for the EB-5 visa into two categories:

  1. Obtain an approved petition from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  2. Apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa

Filing the Petition

It’s necessary to get your eligibility verified with the US authorities before you apply for the EB-5 visa. USCIS is the institute that processes and manages EB-5 visas. You can start with filing a petition by submitting Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

There is no need to involve a US employer so far as E-5 visa is concerned, which means you have to file the petition yourself. USCIS will examine your petition and they will notify you whether or not your petition has been approved. In case you get approval, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) which will process your case from that point onwards.

You will receive a package from NVC. The package will contain the forms and information about what you should do next. You’ll be assigned a case number and invoice ID. You’ll receive the package when your priority date becomes current.

Applying for the EB-5 visa

After receiving the information package from NVC, you can apply for the EB-5 visa at the US  Embassy in your country of residence provided that your priority date is current. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Submit the Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, online. You can access it using your case number; the form serves as your application. After completion, you will get a confirmation page and code that you will send it NVC.
  • Make sure to get the necessary vaccines mentioned in the instructions provided by NVC. Also, complete a medical examination. You need to get your medical examination approved by a licensed doctor.
  • Prepare all of your supporting documents and send them to the NVC.

The documents you might need to present include:

  • Passport valid for more than 6 months after your intended departure to the US
  • Your investment plans
  • Bank statements showing the required amounts of money
  • The approved petition
  • DS-260 confirmation page
  • Signed medical and vaccine documents
  • Two photographs that are in accordance with the photo requirements
  • Academic achievements (diplomas and certificates)
  • CV or resume
  • Court and criminal records

Depending on the situation, the NVC asks you to submit other supporting documents, so make sure to follow their instructions.

After reviewing your documents, The NVC will schedule a visa interview for you to attend at your US Embassy.

Finally, you can go to the US after receiving your immigration package. The NVC will send you the package after your EB-5 visa is approved. Remember, don’t open the package. You have to travel with it to the US. The immigration officials at the US port of entry will open the package and determine your eligibility to enter the country.

What are the EB-5 visa fees?

You have to pay the fee when you apply for the EB-5 visa. It’s not a fixed amount; the USCIS and the US embassy in your country will determine the fee. In most cases, an applicant has to pay the following fees:

  • USCIS Form I-526 petition filing fee
  • Form DS-260 processing fee
  • Medical examination fees
  • Fees to obtain supporting documents
  • Any translation services fees from foreign language to English

What is the expected EB-5 visa processing time?

It can be a long process to obtain an EB-5 visa. The processing time can vary from a few months to a few years depending on the number of applicants who have applied before you. It all depends when you apply or whether or not your application is next in line.

Getting a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status

After getting your EB-5 visa, you’ll become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the US. In other words, you’ll get a green card after obtaining an EB-5 visa. You have to live in the US and have an approved petition from USCIS and visa before you qualify to change your status from immigrant to LPR.

Bringing the family to the US with an EB-5 visa

Your family can join you once your EB-5 gets an approval. The family means your spouse and unmarried children under 21. If you want your family to join you, each family member will be applying individually and follow the same application process. However, your family doesn’t need to fulfill the requirements associated with the investment.

Your spouse can apply for EAD after they get their US visa, which means your spouse will be able to work in the US. Your spouse may have the freedom to work in your commercial enterprise or they can find a job at some different organization.