US I5 Immigrant Visa for Investors

The EB-5 Visa also called Fifth Priority Workers Visa is for entrepreneurs who make employment opportunities in the U.S and willing to invest in the U.S economy. This type of visa is unlike from other visa types, the foreign immigrant does not need a petition from a U.S employer.

This type of visa (EB-5 Visa) grants a foreign immigrant to acquire a U.S Green Card by creating employment opportunities and investing in the U.S economy. The visa applicant must be willing to invest $500,000 to $1 million in the U.S. and must open up at least 10 jobs for citizens in the U.S or for foreign immigrants. The investment should create a difference from the normal U.S economy and aims to help U.S rural state/district locations with a high unemployment rate.

The EB-5 visa has various types based on target locations. The following are:

The next section will further discuss the details, requirements, procedures and other significant particulars of the I-5 visa.

What is the I-5 visa?

The EB-5 visa is the visa type for investors or entrepreneurs that can contribute and boost U.S economic activity by investing in specified areas. The specified areas can be general locations, targeted locations with high rates of unemployment, rural areas and even Regional Centers.

The Regional Centers are established to help boost economic growth by increasing the rate of employment,  exports, productivity, and domestic capital investments. To encourage the inflow of investments in the Regional Centers, the U.S started the Investor Pilot Program. These Regional Centers can be in general or targeted locations.

The I-5 visa is the visa type for investors who will invest in Regional Centers in rural areas and target locations with a high rate of unemployment. With the I-5 visa, the foreign investor is allowed to acquire a Green Card and be granted a permanent residency in the U.S.

The visa holder is allowed to travel in and outside the U.S, but it is a must that U.S rules and regulations should be followed at all times and taxes should also be paid.

The I-5 visa is one type of visa under the EB-5 visas, these Employment Sponsored Visas are limited annually. There are only 10,000 visas per year allocated for the EB-5 visa. Those investor visa applicants who invest their resources in those targeted locations are prioritized and the I-5 visa is included in that one. From the total number of  EB-5 visas issued annually, 3,000 is allocated for the I-5 visa.

What Are the Requirements of the I-5 Visa?

There are certain requirements that the I-5 visa applicant must accomplish.

First, it is required that investment should be made in a Regional Center inside a targeted location. This targeted area/location must have a high rate of unemployment or in a rural sector. The economic institutions and organizations in the U.S will determine and point out if the location is targeted and will decide where the regional centers are situated.

Next, the second requirement is that the foreign investor should invest in a commercial business that is founded on or before November 29th, 1990. The investment can be made in two different ways:

  • Acquisition of an existing business and reconstructing it into a new commercial business
  • Investing in an existing business by expanding and increasing the business net worth by 40% or boost the employment rate

Then the third requirement is to boost the employment rate by 10 people for 2 years in the commercial business or any businesses. The available job position must be full time and permanent and hiring relatives and family members of the foreign investor are not included. Assuming the investor is willing to invest in a business that is about to become bankrupt, it is required that all people should not be laid off and employees must continue all current job positions.

Finally, the fourth requirement is the budget for investment. The I-5 visa is for targeted locations and requires at least $500,000 investment. This investment is required to be an asset and not loaned.

How to Apply for the I-5 Visa?

If you meet all the criteria under the I-5 visa type, then you can begin your application. The I-5 visa application is divided into 2 parts:

  • An approved petition from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • I-5 immigrant visa Application

Filing the Petition

First, you must prove your eligibility with the U.S government to be able to apply for the I-5 visa. The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is managing the petition. To comply, the foreign applicant must file a petition by filling up the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

Unlike the other U.S. employment visa types, you do not need a U.S employer to file the petition for you. The petition can be filed for yourself. The USCIS will review and process your petition, then they will inform you about the status if it gets approved or denied. Once the petition is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) and the NVC will be in charge of your application.

When the approved petition reaches the NVC, a case number and an invoice ID number are given. The case number and invoice ID number will be bundled with instructions and information on how to apply. The package will be mailed to you once your priority number becomes current and you are granted to apply.

Apply for the I-5 Visa

You can apply for an I-5 visa at your home country’s U.S Embassy or Consulate once the time your priority number becomes current. Here are the following steps to apply

  • Apply for an Immigrant Visa Application online by filling Form DS-260. This form will be your application and you will be given a case number to access it. Once the application is successfully submitted, the applicant must get a copy of the confirmation page and number. This will be required by the NVC upon submitting your documents.
  • The applicant is required to get medical examinations and vaccinations that are indicated in the NVC package. The foreign immigrant must meet the U.S health requirements, if you lack vaccinations then you must have them. These medical documents are then required to be signed by a licensed doctor.
  • The following supporting documents listed below are required. These are to be submitted to the NVC.
    • A passport with validity of more than 6 months after planned flight to the U.S.
    • Investment plans
    • Bank statements to prove you possess the required amount of money
    • An approved petition
    • The confirmation page of your Form DS-260
    • Medical and vaccine documents signed by the doctor
    • 2 photographs that conform with Photo Requirements
    • Diplomas and certificates to prove academic achievements
    • A copy of your resume or CV
    • Criminal and court records
    • Additional supporting documents may be required by the NVC depending on your situation
  • After the NVC checks on your application and supporting documents, an interview will be scheduled at the U.S Embassy where you sent your application.
  • Accept delivery of your immigration package and travel to the U.S. Once your application for the I-5 visa is approved, a package from NVC will be sent to you. This package must only be opened when you reach the U.S. You have to present this to the immigration officer at the U.S port of entry. The immigration officers are the only ones authorized to open the package and determine if you are granted access to the U.S or not.

What Are the I-5 Visa Fees?

When applying for an I-5 visa, you are accountable for paying certain fees. The USCIS and the U.S Embassy where you want to send your application will determine the cost. Here are the following fees that you have to pay:

  • The petition filing fee for USCIS Form I-526
  • Processing fee for Form DS-260
  • Medical examination fees
  • Fees incurred in getting support documents
  • Translation fees for interpreting the foreign language to English

Pay your fees before the deadlines set by USCIS, NVC, and the U.S Embassy of your home country. Your application will not be processed if fees are not paid.

How Long Is the I-5 Visa Processing Time?

The I-5 visa processing might take a while, due to a limited number of employment-based visas allowed per year. The I-5 visa is limited to 3,000 visas allocated per year. It might take several months or years, relying upon the number of applicants ahead of you. It will all depend on how early you have submitted your application. In the end, we can’t determine how long you must wait to be granted for an investor’s Green card.

How to Become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) With an I-5 Visa?

After acquiring an I-5 visa, your next move is to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the U.S. or also recognized as getting a Green Card. To replace your immigrant visa status to LPR, an approved petition from USCIS is needed. Then filing up and processing this Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. Once your application is approved, a mail will be sent to you within a few weeks containing the Green Card.

Can I Bring My Family to the U.S With an I-5 Visa?

Yes. Once your I-5 visa is approved and valid, you can include your spouse and children below 21 years old (single/unmarried) to accompany you in the U.S. Other family members can apply for U.S. visas that are suitable for them.

Given that they have successfully acquired the same I-5 visas, your children can go to school, while your spouse can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to get a job in the U.S. The spouse can prefer to work in the commercial business you are investing in or find a job from another company.