For wealthy individuals who wish to obtain permanent residence for themselves and their family, the EB-5 is an attractive option. Individual applicants must have a net worth in excess of USD 1 million and provide proof that their funds come from legal sources in order to be approved for this visa.
1) The investor is required to choose to invest their money in either:
- USD 1.8 million into a non-targeted employment area project.
- USD 900,000 into a targeted employment (TEA) area project in a rural area or an area with high unemployment (this type of investment is normally through a ‘regional center’).
2) This investment needs to create or preserve ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified American workers
3) The investor is required to prove that the funds come from a legitimate source.
4) The entire investment needs to be ‘active or at risk’, which means that you cannot just be thinking about buying a business, and you have to make an investment that could potentially be lost.
5) The investor is required to make the investment in a ‘new’ or ‘existing business enterprise’ (you to fashion your own business or buy one).
The most important thing to remember, is that the USCIS requires an EB-5 investment to be ‘at-risk’, and this essentially means that a guaranteed return of capital is not
allowed. Regional centers, project managers, and even lawyers that guarantee the return of the investment funds should be avoided at all costs. However, despite the fact that investments must be at-risk, risks may be mitigated by the investor, by researching and choosing their investment very carefully.
When an Applicant’s visa application is approved, they will receive a conditional green card for a period of two years, at the end of such the conditions may be removed upon demonstrating to the USCIS that the jobs were in fact created or maintained.
The timeline can vary for the processing of this visa, and can be on the long-end for countries such as China and Vietnam, where the wait times can be in excess of ten years, but generally, it can take a 1.5 to 2 years to obtain permanent residence if not quicker.