In existence since the 1990s, the EB-5 investor visa program has helped to promote economic activity, investment of foreign funds, and general business growth in the United States by exchanging visas to foreign citizens for investments in America’s economy. The program allows foreign citizens who invest a “substantial amount” of monetary capital into the U.S. economy to qualify for the EB5 investor visa, which, in turn, would also qualify members of the investor’s immediate family for visas to live and work in the United States.
The U.S. government only issues 10,000 EB5 investor visas per year, so it is always in an investor’s best interests to ensure they meet the qualifications of the program before they even submit a visa application, so they don’t risk an application denial, which will only prolong the process. An attorney can help foreign investors who want to apply for an EB5 visa through the application process, and can even track an application on the investor’s behalf while it is funneled through the appropriate channels.
Some of the requirements that an investor will have to meet, and which can be explained by experienced immigration counsel in further detail, are:
- a minimum investment amount of $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending on whether the investment is in a designated industry or not, with designated industries qualifying for the former amount,
- a job creation or growth requirement which requires the investment to create at least 10 jobs, if invested in a brand new business or, if invested in an existing business, to expand the business’ net worth or workforce by 40%,
- a paper trail requirement that requires invested funds to be provably legitimate through official records like bank statements, tax records, etc. This is intended by the government to deter money laundering.
Partner with an Attorney for Specific Advice
The three requirements listed above are perhaps the biggest three that investors will have to overcome. For more specific information and for individually tailored advice, prospective foreign investors should partner with experienced immigration counsel. An immigration attorney will have the experience and professional resources necessary to help the foreign investor apply and meet the qualifications for the EB5 investor visa.
If qualifications are met, the immigration attorney will also be able to help the foreign investor secure visas for immediate family members.
First Visa Provisional
If they are approved for the visa, the first issuance will be a two year, provisional visa. If the business fails to create the requisite number of jobs or fails to grow the required 40% in either workforce or net worth, then the immigrant who is in the country on a provisional EB5 visa risks having to return to his or her country of origin.
However, if the EB5 investor thinks that a temporary extension would help the investor meet and maintain minimum visa requirements, then an immigration attorney may be able to help the investor file for the appropriate extension and present evidence in support of the request.