The EB-5 Green Card, also know as immigrant investor program, is an employment based green card category that allows foreign investors to obtain permanent residency in the United States.
The EB-5 investor visa was created in 1990 as a part of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990 with the intent of improving the US economy by offering permanent residency to foreign investors. Initially, the EB-5 green card was available for those immigrants who had invested or were planning to invest in a completely new commercial enterprise or a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), but with the introduction of the Pilot Program in 1992, investors could also invest in new or existing commercial enterprises, including troubled businesses, or in Regional Centers.
Each year, 10,000 EB-5 visas are allocated to foreign investors, 3,000 of which are reserved for aliens who invest in TEA and 3,000 for aliens who invest in commercial enterprises affiliated with Regional Centers.
EB-5 Immigrant Status
Some of the benefits of the EB-5 immigrant investor program are listed below.
- Does not require a job offer from US employer.
- Does not require a labor certificate.
- Does not require investor to have any particular business training or experience.
- Does not restrict entry of applicants from any country.
- Family members excluding immediate family may be counted as one of the 10 required employees.
- If the EB-5 investor maintains his investment for at least three years and is actively engaged with the company, he may invest in any other US business.
- The EB-5 green card holder may work for another company, or not work at all, after three years.
- The EB-5 investor's spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the EB-5 green card holder to the US on family based green cards.
- The EB-5 investor and his dependents are granted conditional permanent residency valid for two years.
- The EB-5 visa holder may apply for US citizenship if he continuously lives in US or keeps his green card for 5 years.
To qualify and apply for EB-5 green card, applicants must meet the following EB-5 requirements and eligibility criteria.
- Foreign national must invest between USD 900,000 and 1.8 million in a US business (USD 1.8 million in a commercial enterprise or minimum USD 900,000 in a TEA). EB-5 investors can also invest USD 900,000 in a qualified or approved Regional Center.
- The business must employ 10 full-time US workers excluding the investor and his/her immediate family within two years.
- The employer must create either direct or indirect jobs to employ 10 workers.
- The business in which the individual invests must benefit the US economy.
- The workers need not be US citizens, but they must have more than a temporary visa.
- The EB-5 investor must take an active role in the business, but does not need to control it.
The EB-5 visa application process consists of the following steps to obtain a USA investor visa.
1. File Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
2. Upon approval of Form I-526, file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency, in the US with USCIS for adjustment of status, or file Form DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, with Department of State (DOS) for immigrant visa.
3. After two years, the applicant can file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.
EB-5 Required Documents
The following list of required evidence and documentation is a tentative list. You may be required to provide more or less evidence depending on your situation. Required documentation for applying for EB-5 green card may include:
- Evidence supporting amount of investment and area of investment
- Evidence that the funds invested were acquired or obtained through legal means
- Foreign business registration records
- Personal, business, and other tax returns
- Documents identifying source of money
- Evidence that the enterprise will create 10 full-time positions
If more than 10,000 people per year apply for EB-5 green card, they will be placed on a waiting list based on their priority date (the day on which the applicant filed the first portion of the application). Only principal applicants are included in the 10,000-applicant limit, not their accompanying relatives.
For more information about EB-5 green card and the immigrant investor program, read common questions about Investment-Based Green Card (EB-5).