Introduction

The United States is considered at the forefront of economic growth around the world. If you're considering expanding your investments to another country with the option of immigrating, then the EB5 Visa may be the best option for you.
Before you dive right into the EB5 Visa process, let's first understand what an EB5 Visa means.

What is an EB5 Visa?

An EB-5 Visa is an investment-based immigrant visa that enables foreign investors to acquire a lawful permanent resident status in the United States with a minimum investment amount of $1,050,000 USD or $800,000 USD for targeted employment area investment.
The investment must lead to the job creation of 10 full-time jobs in the U.S. and must be at risk. Further, the source of the investor's funds must be lawful.

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EB5 Visa Process: 8 Steps

Choosing an investment advisor and an immigration attorney

Before you go through the entire EB-5 process, it's crucial to first consult with an immigration attorney to help you determine whether an EB-5 Visa is the right option for you based on your goals and circumstances.

Some people would have an interest in acquiring an EB5 Visa as they knew other people who obtained green cards through the EB5 Visa, or they might want the EB5 Visa as this piqued their interest. No matter your immigration goals, an immigration lawyer can provide easier and faster ways to meet them after going over all your options.

There are immigration attorneys who will charge you a flat fee for their consultation, which means they will charge a set price to handle the rest of your EB5 application. Most, however, offer a free initial consultation so you can decide from early on if you want to obtain their services.

Find out if EB-5 suits you. Check EB-5 program requirements.

Before selecting a suitable EB5 investment, foreign investors must first determine if they are eligible to apply.

There are two key outcomes you need to consider when looking at available investment opportunities for the EB5 Visa: the return on capital and the likelihood of securing a green card. First, you need to decide whether you'll invest in commercial enterprises outside or inside targeted employment areas or TEAs, which are areas that are rural or have high unemployment. Next, you need to make sure that your investment will create 10 full-time jobs in the U.S. Moreover, you need to also consider the financial return of your investment, your exit strategy, and the industry you want to invest in.

To invest, you need to sign a subscription agreement, which is a request to join a partnership or limited liability company and transfer the money to an escrow account managed by an appointed escrow agent.

Selection of investment process

The EB5 Visa allows you to make either a direct investment or by investing in a regional center. Starting a new business, purchasing an existing business, or investing in an existing business are some examples of direct investments. Meanwhile, regional centers are businesses designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) where they gather capital from EB5 investors to develop projects like hotels and resorts.

Investments within a TEA have a lower minimum capital investment, which as of today, stands at $800,000 USD. This is to attract EB5 investors to stimulate the economy of TEAs. For commercial enterprises outside TEAs, the required minimum investment amount is $1,050,000 USD. The money must stay invested for the next 5 to 7 years after you've successfully obtained your conditional green card.

Choosing the right investment is crucial in the EB5 process, and you have to research extensively to make sure that the investment you selected suits your goals and needs. If you're unsure of what steps to take regarding your investment, you can also work with a registered investment advisor or a broker who has experience with EB5 investments.

File your I-526 application with USCIS and preparing your investment of capital

Once you've selected a project to invest in, you now need to invest your funds in a new commercial enterprise. At this point, you need to provide evidence that you have invested or are actively in the process of investing your capital into the new commercial enterprise.

However, bear in mind that merely demonstrating an intention to contribute does not suffice, and demonstrating future investment plans without a legally binding promise will not be accepted.

Then, you would need to prepare and file Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor) including necessary documents relating to you, the business, and the source and path of funds.

The funds can be sourced from the investor's own money, in the form of a loan not secured by the EB5 investment or a gift.

This process takes an average of 16-18 months.

Application for Consular processing or adjustment of status (I-485 application)

When your Form I-526 is accepted and your priority date is 'Current,' you will be able to apply as a conditional permanent resident. Adjustment of status or consular processing are the two choices you have for getting a conditional green card.

If you are lawfully present in the U.S. at the time of your Form I-526's approval, you may apply for an adjustment of status. To change your status, you must file a Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with the USCIS. After that, you would need to have a medical exam conducted by a USCIS-approved doctor to determine if you have disqualifying medical conditions. Then, you have to be fingerprinted and cross-checked in law enforcement databases. This process takes an average of 6 months.

Meanwhile, if you are living abroad at the time of your Form I-526 approval, you would need to go through consular processing. If you selected consular processing, your file will be sent to the National Visa Center of your home country. They will then send to your immigration attorney instructions and submission of Form DS-260 if you have an immigration attorney. After the submission of your Form DS-260 along with the necessary documents, the National Visa Center will schedule an interview at the U.S. embassy in your home country. If you're eligible, you will receive your visa upon completion of your interview. This process takes an average of 8 - 12 months.

2-Year Green Card

Once you've become a conditional green card holder, you will have the same rights and privileges as those of a lawful permanent resident, with the main difference being that your conditional green card only lasts for 2 years. During this period, you are required to establish a permanent residence in the United States and maintain your qualifying investment in the commercial enterprise. you should be doing business according to your EB5 business plan which you submitted together with your Form I-526.

Moreover, during this time, you have to keep your capital investment at risk and you have to create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

Filing your Form I-829 petition for permanent resident status

Within 90 days of the expiration of your 2-year conditional permanent residence, you are required to file a Form I-829, which is a petition to remove the conditional status on your permanent resident status. Filing this petition means that you're proving that you've met the EB5 Visa requirements such as you've created 10 full-time jobs and that you maintained your investment in the new commercial enterprise.

Once your Form I-829 has been approved, you are officially a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

Applying for U.S. Citizenship (optional)

To become a U.S. citizen, you have to undergo a process called naturalization. To be eligible, you have to be a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years. You are also required to be physically present in the U.S. for at least 2 and a half years

Your 2-year conditional lawful permanent residency also counts toward this 5-year requirement provided that you've consistently lived in the U.S. since obtaining a conditional lawful permanent residence status.

Duration of EB5 Process

The duration of your EB-5 Visa process may vary depending on the situation and circumstances. As of August 2023, the processing time for a Form I-526 petition ranges between 29.5 to 61 months according to the USCIS, meanwhile, Form I-485 applications to adjust status take around 7 - 29 months depending on the service center.

The latest EB5 Visa bulletin released by the USCIS lists certain areas as 'Current' which means there is no backlog or retrogression.

You should also take note of the different process changes on EB5 Visa so you can adequately prepare for your application.

Benefits of EB-5 Green Card

There's no question that the United States is considered at the forefront of economic growth around the world. Whether you're a budding or longtime investor, you might be thinking of expanding your investment portfolio to an economic powerhouse. Moreover, with a permanent green card, you can freely work, live and study in the U.S. Here are some benefits of obtaining an EB5 Visa:

  • Freely travel in and out of the United States with your permanent resident status;

  • Return on your capital investment;

  • Obtaining lawful permanent residency as well for your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21;

  • Option to apply for U.S. citizenship; and

  • Travel to countries that allow visa-free passage to green card holders

You can also visit here if you need more information about the EB5 Visa so you can have a general overview of the visa and gain an informed decision before proceeding with your application.

Conclusion

The EB5 Visa is a great option for investors and entrepreneurs who want to invest in a business outside of their home country and immigrate to another country. With its line of benefits, the EB5 Visa can be the best option for your financial and immigration goals. There are only 10,000 EB5 Visas issued annually, and if there are backlogs or retrogression, the application process can take longer. Having full knowledge on EB-5 Visa cost is also essential.

Here at Davies & Associates, our expert immigration lawyers can help you with your EB5 process so that all necessary documents and steps are taken.

EB5 Process FAQs

Yes, once you have obtained your EB5 Visa, you can live and work anywhere in the U.S. This also applies if you have invested through a regional center. You don't need to live in the same State as the commercial enterprise you invested in.

If you made a direct investment, however, you may need to be near the enterprise you invested in as you would need to prove that you are active in the company.

Yes, once your EB5 Visa is approved, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can join you in the U.S. and will also be eligible for conditional and permanent residence.

For spouses, same-sex spouses qualify but common-law spouses do not. As for children, this includes birth children, adopted children and stepchildren. You must be able to prove that you're their legitimate parent.

Each year, there are around 10, 000 EB5 Visas issued. These visas are given to EB5 investors, their spouses and their unmarried children under the age of 21.

Investors act as passive investors and contribute to government-recognized entities through the Regional Center Pilot Program. The businesses involved in promoting growth in certain geographic areas are approved as regional centers under this program and may meet the job creation requirements under the law using 'indirect employment' based on approved methodologies.

If you're outside the U.S., the National Visa Center coordinates the collection of certain documents from you and sends a file to the local consulate which then schedules your interview. The waiting time can take from 3 to 9 months

Why make Davies & Associates Your EB5 Lawyers

Davies & Associates is one of the longest-established EB5 law firms in the industry and our team regularly contribute to the global media on the subject. We have helped hundreds of families, business owners and entrepreneurs relocate to America and have never had a case rejected on Source of Funds, which is one of the most challenging aspects of an EB5 application. Click here to meet some of our EB5 clients. Our success helping clients demonstrate they meet EB5 visa requirements comes from blending our highly qualified lawyers with an understanding of the culture, law, business practices and banking regulations in each jurisdiction we operate.

Our success comes from the strength of the unique team of lawyers we place around every client

Each Davies & Associates client is assigned a team of industry-leading EB5 lawyers each highly experienced with a specific area of the law. Our client EB5 teams typically include:

  • A local EB5 lawyer versed in the currency laws and practices of the countries from which a clients funds are to be sourced
  • A real estate lending or finance lawyer to assist with project due diligence
  • A specialist US Source of Funds documentation lawyer
  • A senior EB5 attorney responsible for supervising the filing and submission of each client's case

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Eranjan Venura Parua
Eranjan Venura Parua
2 months ago

"After finding D&A through an internet search in 2020, my wife and I had several free consultations with David Cantor. Despite our initial attempt at filing for our E2 visa independently ending in failure, we decided to hire D&A for their expertise and support. Over the course of four long years, Verdie and Cristina were incredibly patient as we took our time to prepare for the E2 submission. Verdie became our E2 Attorney in 2021, and from the start, Verdie and Cristina's patience was evident. Despite our intermittent engagement over the years, they always treated us with the utmost attention. Working with Verdie and the D&A team was a pleasure; their professionalism and support were unwavering. Verdie's calm demeanor and succinct communication style made navigating the process much smoother, even during complex discussions. I wholeheartedly recommend Verdie and D&A - Davies & Associates, to anyone seeking an immigration law firm who can efficiently handle their case with precision and without unnecessary fanfare. Their ability to get things done speaks volumes about their dedication to their clients' success."

Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
4 months ago

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad
Saeed Muhammad
5 months ago

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satyabrat Chowdhury
Satyabrat Chowdhury
8 months ago

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Christine Envall
Christine Envall
a year ago

Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.

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We are known for our creative solutions that obtain "impossible" visas, we solve the most complex immigration problems for business, investors, individuals and families.

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