The EB5 visa is one of the straightforward yet expensive ways of obtaining a permanent residency status in the US. We cover the basics one needs to know about an EB5 visa and the processes involved in the application below.
What is an EB 5 Visa?
The EB 5 foreign investor immigration program of the US allows foreign investors who make substantial investments in the US economy to apply for green cards with their spouses as well as minor children. One is eligible to apply for a green card under the EB 5 program when they invest in a business that is at risk or make an investment that provides full-time jobs for at least 10 US citizens or persons legally allowed to work and live in the US.
Applying for EB 5 Visa
The first step in applying for a green card under the EB 5 immigration program is to ascertain one’s eligibility according to specific requirements. The eligibility criteria include health, criminal records and previous issues during stays in the US.
After confirming eligibility for the visa, the next step is to determine the type of investment to make. It is noteworthy that if the investment does not satisfy the established requirements, the application could be unsuccessful. Thus, one may need the services of professionals at the stage or go through regional centres established for the purpose of creating investment opportunities for investors under the EB 5 program.
Investments that qualify for EB 5 visas are usually at least $1 million. However, these investments can be as low as $500,000 when they are made in rural areas with a high rate of unemployment.
After making the chosen investment, the next step is to submit the I-526 petition and officially begin the application process. It takes at least 12 months for the application to be processed. The processing of the application can also take up to 18 months.
After the application is successful, one can then apply for a two-year conditional residency by filling the DS-230 form with their spouse and minor children, if they live outside the US. It could take up to two years for the two-year conditional residency to be approved.
For persons that live within the US, the application for the two-year residency is unnecessary, as they simply need to change their status to EB 5 visa holders by filing form I-485.
After the two-year conditional residency is approved, one can move to the US with their family and start their new life. Before the two-year period elapses, they can apply for their green card according to the EB 5 immigration program. The two-year “probationary period is to ensure that the terms and conditions of the program are properly followed.
Benefits of EB 5 Visa
With an EB 5 visa, one can obtain a green card and move to the US with their immediate family. This visa also doesn’t have any work requirement. The initial investment is all that is mandatorily required to obtain the green card.
However, it is worth mentioning that there is an annual cap on the number of EB 5 visas awarded yearly, and this cap includes the family members.