The EB5 investment program is designed to give foreign investors the opportunity to earn U.S. residency and eventual citizenship by investing a substantial amount of capital into a U.S. based venture. The requirements of the program state that a minimum of $500,000 be invested into a designated, financially hard hit U.S. industry, or at least $1,000,000 in any other U.S. industry.
Upon making the qualifying investment, EB5 investors can apply for a conditional EB5 visa. The conditional visa is good for a period of two years, but in order for the conditional visa to be upgraded to a permanent visa, the investment which the investor made must create at least 10 new American jobs or expand a business by 40%.
10 Jobs or 40%
More specifically, the government requires that foreign funds invested into a U.S. business venture for the purpose of an EB5 visa create at least 10 new jobs (if the business venture is brand new) or expand a business by 40%, either in terms of net worth or employee workforce (if the business venture is an existing business).
Should investment funds fail to create at least 10 jobs or expand an existing business by 40%, the EB5 investor becomes at risk of losing his or her visa, and being unable to receive a permanent EB5 visa based on the original investment. For those investors who need a little more time in order to make an investment a success, it is possible for foreign investors to apply for an extension to their conditional EB5 visa, but there is no guarantee that the request will be granted, or even that the extension will help the investor realize his or her ultimate goal.
How to Apply for the EB5 visa?
For starters, government rules require that an EB5 investor make the investment, or have made a substantial step forward toward completing the investment, before the EB5 application is even submitted.
With only 10,000 EB5 visas approved for issuance by the federal government each year, ensuring that an investment is made properly and into a qualifying venture is of the utmost importance – this is why anyone trying to get an EB5 visa should work with an experienced immigration attorney throughout the process, to ensure that there are as few speedbumps on the path to residency as possible.
Once the investment is made, the EB5 application can be filled out. Historically, it takes up to a year in order to find out whether or not an EB5 application has been approved. One of the worst situations an investor can find him or herself in is, after making an investment, discovering that an EB5 visa was denied because of an administrative or application error.
This is another good reason to work with an attorney. Experienced immigration attorneys know exactly what the government is looking for from EB5 applicants and can help foreign investors make sure that their application packages are submitted as properly and completely as possible.