For the foreign investors, the EB-5 investor category is an excellent way to get the Green Card in a short time as well as live in the United States with their own lifestyles. The EB-5 regulation was sanctioned in 1990, and has been modified several times. The latest statute was implemented in 2002.
For the investor seeking a permanent resident visa, there are generally two EB-5 programs, i.e. the Regular Program and the Regional Center Program.
The Regular Program:
Three Basic Requirements must be met:
Investment in a new commercial enterprise
- Investment in a new business
- Substantial restructure of business
- Substantial expansion of business Investment in the amount of at least $1 million (or $500,000 in certain targeted employment areas, typically government designated low employment areas) into the business
The creation of at least 10 full-time employments for U.S. workers.
The Regional Center Program:
The Regional Center Program is suitable for the inactive investor or the investors who do not want to involve in too many daily managements. The requirement for investment amount is $500,000. In addition, the Regional Center Program eliminates the requirement of “10 full-time employments for U.S. workers”, in stead; it adopts a less-restrictive requirement “indirect employment creation”, which can be qualified by providing the supporting evidence that 10 employments will be created throughout the Regional Center economy, normally supported by an economist’s report.
In addition, the investor is not required to live in the place where the investment has made, so he or she may live anywhere in the United States.
Each Regional Center program must be pre-approved by USCIS in order to be eligible for EB-5 Green Cards. Currently, there are 50 USCIS approved Regional Center Programs available, including: A real estate limited partnership program; a limited partnership program; Ownership of 80-acre almond farms in a specified location in California, etc.
For further details, please visit the USCIS’s website
The Main Procedures and Timeline for EB-5 Investor category
After the due diligence analysis of the viability of the investment, the investor can file a petition to CIS, requiring CIS to certify that the applicant and investment are eligible for the EB-5 category. Usually, it takes 1-2 months to get approved. Upon the approval of the petition the foreign investor can then apply for the adjustment of status. If the investor lives in the United States, normally, no interview is required, and it will take approximately 8 months to get approved. If the investor resides abroad, an interview is necessary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, where the application of Green Card was made. In this instance, it will take on average 10-11months.
Once the Green Card Application is approved, the foreign investor will receive a conditional Green Card, which confers the same rights as the permanent unconditional Green Card. Between 21-24 months after the Green Card has been approved, the investor must reconfirm that the investment has been made or is still in place, and the employment requirement has been fulfilled. The investor can then file an application to remove the conditional Green Card Status with CIS. To sum up, from the time the investor gets approval of Green Card to the time he or she gets the permanent Green Card, it usually takes two and half years.
After five years from the time the investor gets the conditional Green Card, U.S citizenship can be applied.