The EB-5 Process explained

By design, the EB-5 Investor Visa offers a win-win situation.

For the U.S., it boosts the economy through foreign investment and job creation.

For the investor, it's a pathway to obtaining permanent residence in the USA, which allows them and their family to live, work, and study anywhere in the U.S.

This guide explores the entire EB-5 process from start to finish. We will look at each of the steps and what is involved.

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Understanding the EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was established by the U.S. government in 1990. The program was launched to stimulate the country’s economy through direct investment from foreign investors and job creation.

The EB-5 Program provides a route to residency by making a capital investment in a commercial enterprise that creates 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Investors can invest directly in a business or through an EB-5 regional center.

The U.S. issues a maximum of 10,000 EB-5 Visas each year, and the program is run by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Before you start the EB-5 process

Before starting the EB-5 process, investors must ensure they meet the program’s eligibility criteria.

The general EB-5 visa requirements are:

Job creation requirements

The EB-5 investor must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers.

Source of funds

The investor must provide evidence of the lawful source of the investment funds, demonstrating that they were obtained through legitimate means.

Minimum investment

Make a minimum investment of $1,050,000 – this is reduced to $800,000 if the investment project is in a targeted employment area (TEA). A TEA is often a rural area with an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.

The EB-5 process explained

The EB-5 processing times and the process itself can depend on several factors. Below is a general overview of the EB-5 process.

Step 1 – Select an EB-5 project

The first step is to select a suitable EB-5 investment project. This can be done either through direct investment or by investing in a USCIS-approved regional center project.

Regional centers are entities designated by the USCIS to finance EB-5 projects. This is by far the most popular option. That is because regional center investors do not have the hassle of managing the business’s day-to-day activities. There is also more flexibility for job creation.

Step 2 – Make the investment

Once the EB-5 investment project is selected, the next step is to invest the required capital into the chosen commercial enterprise.

As part of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA), there are advantages to investing in a designated targeted employment area (TEA). The minimum investment in these areas is $800,000. For investments in non-TEA projects, the minimum amount is $1,050,000.

Step 3 – File form I-526E/I-526

After making the investment, the EB-5 Visa petition must be submitted. These are typically handled by an immigration attorney.

Forms I-526E and I-526 are Immigrant Petitions. They prove the investor’s eligibility for the EB-5 program and demonstrate that the investment meets its requirements.

I-526 applications are for those who choose the direct investment route. Meanwhile, the I-526E petition is for regional center investments.

Step 4 – Receive a conditional Green Card

With I-526 approval from the USCIS, investors and their immediate family members can apply for conditional residency (Green Card). Conditional residency status is granted for a two-year period.

For those already living in the U.S., form I-485 must be submitted for an adjustment of status.

The EB5 visa processing time typically takes between six months to one year. However, you should be aware that processing times can vary.

Step 5 – Removal of conditions

Investors must file an I-829 petition for removal of conditions. This is usually done 90 days before the two-year Green Card expires. Applicants must show that the initial investment has been maintained and that the requisite jobs have been created or preserved.

Step 6 – Become a permanent resident

Once the I-829 EB-5 petition is approved, investors and their families will receive unconditional permanent residency. This grants them the right to live, work and study anywhere in the U.S.

Step 7 – Apply for U.S. citizenship

After holding permanent resident status for five years, it is possible to apply for American citizenship. For EB-5 Green Card holders to be eligible for citizenship, the U.S. must have been their primary country of residence for the previous five years.

Simplify the EB-5 process with Holborn Assets

The EB-5 Visa Program allows foreign nationals and their families to live, work and study anywhere in the U.S. It also provides a pathway to American citizenship.

However, the application process can be complex. Download our factsheet to learn more, or speak to one of our specialists.

Holborn Pass is an international leader in investor visas. We provide a bespoke, end-to-end service and professional advice to help you find the right EB-5 investment and secure your Green Card.

We are part of the wider Holborn Assets Group, a leading, award-winning financial advisory company with over $2 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Our team have successfully helped hundreds of individuals and families secure golden visas. Book a consultation with one of our advisers to learn how we can assist you through the EB-5 process.

Frequently asked questions

The EB-5 Visa is an immigrant investor program that allows foreign investors and their immediate family members to obtain permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States. This is done by investing capital in a qualifying U.S. business that creates or preserves at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

The minimum investment amount required for the EB-5 Visa program depends on whether the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or a non-TEA. Currently, the minimum investment is $1,050,000 for non-TEAs and $800,000 for TEAs, which are typically in rural or high-unemployment areas.

EB-5 applicants must demonstrate that their investment capital came from a legal source. They must also show that the investment will create or preserve the required number of full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

The EB-5 Visa timeline can vary depending on factors such as the completion of required documentation, visa backlogs, and potential delays. On average, it takes around 12 months from the initial EB-5 application to receiving conditional permanent residency.

Successful EB-5 applicants initially receive conditional permanent residency valid for two years. To remove the conditions and obtain permanent residency, investors must demonstrate that they have fulfilled the investment requirements and that the investment has created or preserved the required jobs. Additionally, they must maintain their investment and comply with U.S. immigration laws and regulations.

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