Employment-Based Immigrant Visas: EB visa categories
For certain employment categories, the INA authorizes non-U.S. citizens to apply to immigrate to the United States based on the person's professional background and proposed employment in the United States.
In many cases, the non-U.S. citizen will need to have a U.S. employer that is willing to submit an immigrant employment petition on their behalf. In some rare case, the non-U.S. citizen may self-petition.
If the immigrant visa petition is approved and assuming there is no inadmissibility issues, then the non-U.S. citizen will receive a green card at the end of the process, allowing him or her to live and work in the United States.
Furthermore, if the non-U.S. citizen's immigrant visa is approved, then the non-U.S. citizen's spouse and minor children (under 21 years of age) are also eligible to immigrate to the United States.
If you are a U.S. employer that wishes to submit an employment-based immigrant petition for a non-U.S. citizen employee or an individual well-known in your field, please do not hesistate to contact my office to discuss possible U.S. immigration through employment.
EB-5 Investor Visa:
U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence Through Investment
The Employment-Based fifth category or ("EB-5") is an immigrant visa category reserved for persons wishing to immigrate to the United States through investment. This is essentially a path for someone to invest in a U.S. business and in return the person can obtain U.S. lawful permanent status (i.e. obtain a green card). The United States created this visa category specifically to attract foreign investment.
What is the amount of investment required for an EB-5 immigrant visa?
Well, it depends. The petition itself is made by filing Form I-529, filing fees, and supporting documents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). However, the investment amount varies. There are three ways the investment can be made.
First, the general rule is that the investor invests $1 million USD in a U.S. entity that will directly create ten jobs. The investor must manage the U.S. entity.
Second, the investor invests $500,000 USD in an area of high unemployment that will directly create ten jobs. The investor must manage the U.S. entity.
Third, the investor invests $500,000 USD in a Regional Center. These are projects that USCIS stated that investors that invest in one of these projects may possibly qualify the investor for an EB-5 immigrant visa. As an added benefit the investor does not need to manage the U.S. entity when investing in a regional center. Given that investment in a regional center requires $500,000 USD instead of $1 million USD and that direct management by the investor is not required, investment through a regional center can be an attractive choice.
SHOULD YOU WISH TO INVEST IN A REGIONAL CENTER AN ATTORNEY CANNOT ADVISE YOU ON WHICH REGIONAL CENTER TO INVEST IN. UNDER U.S. LAW ONLY A LICENSED BROKER CAN ADVISE YOU ON WHICH REGIONAL CENTER TO INVEST IN. AFTER THE REGIONAL CENTER IS CHOOSEN, IT IS THE ATTORNEY WHO PREPARES THE PETITION SEEKING EB-5 CLASSIFICATION WITH USCIS.
Furthermore, the investor should keep in mind that just because USCIS stated that an investment in a regional center may eventually qualify for an EB-5 immigrant visa, it does not mean that the regional center is necessarily a good investment. As a result, it is recommended that a potential EB-5 investor seek advice from a broker that has experience with investments in regional centers.
Source of Funds
As one of the primary conditions for EB-5 visa classification, USCIS wants to ensure that the funds invested are the investors and that these monies were legally obtained. As a result, documentation thoroughly evidencing that the monies are the investors and that it was legally obtained must be submitted to USCIS.
If the investor invests the required funds and his or her EB-5 visa petition is approved with USCIS, then the investor will receive a temporary two-year green card (conditional resident status). Before the expiration of the conditional green card, the investor must make a petition to remove these conditions (I-829 petition). This will be a final opportunity for USCIS to determine whether the jobs have been created through this investment. If the I-829 petition is approved, then the conditions are removed and the investor receives lawful permanent resident status. In addition, the spouse and children under 21 years of age are also eligible for lawful permanent resident status based on the investment by the spouse or parent. Finally, by obtaining lawful permanent status the investor and his family membes may be eligible for U.S. naturalization after having lawful permanent resident status for at least five years.
If you are interested in the EB-5 visa category, please do not hesitate to contact my office to discuss further or to schedule an office appointment.