Immigration Law Firm Article: Understanding the EB-5 Program If you are considering immigrating to the United States, you may have heard of the EB-5 program. The EB-5 program is a popular pathway for investors to obtain permanent residency in the United States. At Tavangar Law Group, we have helped numerous clients successfully navigate the EB-5 program. In this article, we will provide an overview of the EB-5 program and answer some common questions.
What is the EB-5 Program?
The EB-5 program is a United States immigration program that provides a path to permanent residency for foreign investors who invest in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. The investment must meet certain criteria, including creating jobs for U.S. workers. The minimum investment amount is $1.8 million, although it is reduced to $900,000 if the investment is made in a designated targeted employment area.
For more information visit the official website link for USCIS EB-5 program: https://www.uscis.gov/eb-5
How Does the EB-5 Program Work?
To obtain permanent residency through the EB-5 program, an investor must first identify and invest in a new commercial enterprise. This can be a business that the investor creates from scratch, or it can be an existing business that the investor restructures, expands, or reorganizes. The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Once the investment is made, the investor can apply for conditional permanent residency. This is a two-year temporary residency that is granted while the investor’s investment is being evaluated for compliance with the EB-5 program requirements. After two years, the investor can apply to remove the conditional status and obtain permanent residency. This requires demonstrating that the investment has created or preserved at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers and that the investor has met all other EB-5 program requirements.
What Are the Benefits of the EB-5 Program?
The EB-5 program offers several benefits to investors, including:
- Permanent Residency: The EB-5 program provides a path to permanent residency in the United States.
- No Sponsorship Required: Unlike other immigration programs, the EB-5 program does not require an employer or family member to sponsor the investor.
- Flexibility: Investors can choose to invest in a variety of businesses, including their own start-up, as long as the investment meets the EB-5 program requirements.
- Education and Healthcare: EB-5 investors and their families are eligible for education and healthcare benefits in the United States.
- Potential for Citizenship: After holding permanent residency for five years, investors may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Steps to apply for the EB-5 program:
- Determine Eligibility: The first step in the EB-5 application process is to determine whether you are eligible for the program. You must invest at least $1.8 million, or $900,000 if the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), and the investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.
- Choose a Regional Center: If you do not have a specific business in mind to invest in, you can choose to invest in a regional center. A regional center is a government-approved organization that manages EB-5 investment projects and is responsible for ensuring that the investment meets the requirements of the program. You can find a list of approved regional centers on the USCIS website.
- Conduct Due Diligence: It is important to conduct thorough due diligence on the regional center or business you plan to invest in. You should review the business plan, financial projections, and any other relevant documents to ensure that the investment is likely to meet the program requirements and generate a return on investment.
- File the I-526 Petition: Once you have identified a regional center or business and conducted due diligence, you must file an I-526 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition should include information about the investment, including the amount of the investment, the source of funds, and the expected job creation.
- Attend an Interview: After the USCIS has reviewed your petition, you will be required to attend an interview. The interview is conducted to verify your identity and ensure that the information in your petition is accurate.
- Obtain Conditional Residency: If your petition is approved, you will be granted conditional residency for two years. During this time, you must maintain your investment and ensure that the business creates at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.
- File the I-829 Petition: Before the end of the two-year conditional residency period, you must file an I-829 petition to remove the conditional status and obtain permanent residency. The petition should include evidence that the investment has been sustained and that the job creation requirement has been met.
- Obtain Permanent Residency: If your I-829 petition is approved, you will be granted permanent residency in the United States. After holding permanent residency for five years, you may be eligible to apply for US citizenship.
Who can an applicant add to the EB-5 application and bring to United States:
A principal applicant in the EB-5 program can add certain family members to their application, including a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. These family members are known as "derivatives" and are included in the same EB-5 application as the principal applicant. In order to include derivatives in the application, the principal applicant must file a separate Form I-526 for each derivative family member. Each derivative must also provide documentation demonstrating that they are the spouse or child of the principal applicant. Once the principal applicant's I-526 petition is approved and the family members' petitions are approved as well, each derivative will receive conditional permanent residency along with the principal applicant. This means that they can live and work in the United States for two years, after which they must file a separate Form I-829 petition to remove the conditional status and obtain permanent residency. It is important to note that derivatives cannot be added to an EB-5 application after the principal applicant has received conditional permanent residency. If the principal applicant wishes to add a new family member after receiving conditional permanent residency, they must file a new EB-5 application for that family member.
Breakdown of timelines and how long does it take for an EB-5 investor to become a U.S. citizen from the time s/he applies:
The length of time it takes to complete the EB-5 application process can vary depending on a number of factors, including the regional center or business being invested in, the complexity of the investment, and the processing times of USCIS. Here is a general timeline of the EB-5 application process:
- Filing the I-526 Petition: The processing time for the I-526 petition can vary greatly, but it typically takes between 18-24 months to receive a decision from USCIS. However, processing times can be longer or shorter depending on various factors.
- Attending an Interview: After the I-526 petition is approved, you will be required to attend an interview with USCIS. The interview is typically scheduled within a few months of approval.
- Obtaining Conditional Residency: Once the interview is completed and all other requirements are met, you will be granted conditional residency for two years.
- Filing the I-829 Petition: Within the 90-day period prior to the expiration of your two-year conditional residency, you must file an I-829 petition to remove the conditional status and obtain permanent residency. Processing times for the I-829 petition can vary, but it typically takes between 24-30 months to receive a decision from USCIS.
- Obtaining Permanent Residency: If your I-829 petition is approved, you will be granted permanent residency in the United States
Overall, the EB-5 application process can take between 3-5 years from start to finish, depending on how long it takes to receive USCIS approval for the I-526 and I-829 petitions.
How can an experienced immigration attorney help you with the EB-5 process?
An experienced immigration attorney can be an invaluable asset to someone navigating the EB-5 process. Here are some ways that an attorney can assist with the EB-5 process:
- Identifying Eligibility: An immigration attorney can help determine if an individual or business is eligible for the EB-5 program. They can review the individual's financial situation and identify potential investment opportunities that meet the program's requirements.
- Conducting Due Diligence: An immigration attorney can help conduct due diligence on regional centers and investment opportunities to ensure that they meet the program's requirements and are a good fit for the individual's investment goals.
- Preparing and Filing Applications: An immigration attorney can help prepare and file the I-526 and I-829 petitions, ensuring that they are complete and accurate and that all required documentation is included.
- Responding to Requests for Evidence: If USCIS issues a request for evidence (RFE), an immigration attorney can help respond to the request, ensuring that all necessary information is provided, and that the response is submitted in a timely manner.
- Representing Clients in Interviews: An immigration attorney can represent clients during USCIS interviews, ensuring that they are prepared and know what to expect during the interview process.
- Ensuring Compliance: An immigration attorney can help ensure that the individual or business is complying with all program requirements, including maintaining the investment and creating the required number of jobs.
- Assisting with Visa Applications: An immigration attorney can assist with visa applications for family members of the EB-5 investor who wish to immigrate to the United States.
The EB-5 program can be a great option for foreign investors looking to obtain permanent residency in the United States. However, navigating the program can be complex and requires careful planning and execution. At Tavangar Law Group, we have extensive experience helping clients successfully navigate the EB-5 program. If you are interested in learning more about the EB-5 program and how it may apply to your unique situation, please contact us to schedule a consultation. We would be happy to discuss your options and help you achieve your immigration goals.
- Published by Salar Tavangar, Esq.
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