The fifth employment preference category is for immigrant investors and require an EB-5 visa.EB-5 visas are commonly known as “investor visas”. The EB-5 visa has specific requirements that include significant financial investment into a US based business.
Contact Tucker, Nong and Associates to learn more about EB-5 investor visas or for help with the filing process. Our experienced EB-5 investor visa lawyers can ensure the best possible results for your case and make sure that you reach your goal.
What is an EB-5 Investor Visa?
The EB-5 visa applications for a Green card based on investment. These individuals must invest from $500,000 to $1 million in an American business. They must also be active within the business. It is not necessary for them to control the business.
Limited Supply of EB-5 Visas
There are only a limited number of green cards for investors acquirable from the United States. There are 10,000 available annually. Out of this number, 3,000 are designated for investors who put their money in rural areas or areas with excessive unemployment. When more than 10,000 people apply in a year, the rest are put on a waiting list.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
Only individuals who invest $500,000 to $1 million in an American business are eligible for an EB-5 visa. The money could be used to start a new U.S. Business. It can also be used to restructure or expand an existing business. How these funds were obtained does not matter. If the money comes from an inheritance or gifts, it doesn’t matter.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also has the authority to require an investment exceeding $1 million. This may happen if a company wants to locate in an area that is economically successful and has low unemployment. The current immigration policy does not increase required investment amounts based on these factors alone.
The company an individual gives their investment must have a minimum of ten full-time employees. This does not include independent contractors. They must produce a product or service that is beneficial to the American economy. In order to be considered a full-time employee, a worker must be on the job 35 or more hours per week.
An investor, their spouse or any children are not permitted to be considered among the ten employees. Other family members can be counted. The ten workers are not required to have U.S. Citizenship. They must have something better than a temporary nonimmigrant U.S. visa. Any worker who has a valid green card or is a foreign national with a legal right to permanently work and live in the United States, can be counted as an employee.
Being “Actively Engaged”
The investor who gets the EB-5 visa must be active in the company they’ve given their investment. They can work in a managerial position or even in a position of writing company policy. A passive investment such as land speculation may not qualify a person for this visa. Investments must be given to a new commercial enterprise or for the creation of an original business. An existing business can be purchased. They can also restructure and reorganize a business to create a new company.
Exceptions to Investment Requirement
Two exceptions exist to the investment requirement of a business being a new commercial enterprise:
Exception 1: An investor can purchase an existing business and expand it. The investor will be required to increase the number of current employees. They can also raise the net worth of the company by 40 percent. This would require the full investment of $500,000 or $1 million, which would be determined by location. The investor would still need to show the investment created a minimum of ten full-time positions for American workers.
Exception 2: The other exception is when an investor purchases a troubled company and prevents it from going out of business. This company must have been operating for two years. The business has to have an annual loss of 20 percent of it’s net worth during the previous two years before being purchased. The full amount must be invested, but it is not required to show ten jobs were created for American workers. Two years after the purchase date, an investor must show the company has the same number of employees as it did when the investment was provided.
Priority Dates for EB-5 Visas
The waiting list is based on a person’s Priority Date. This is the day a person filed the first portion of their immigration application. The good news is that the limit of 10,000 has yet to be reached. Only principal applicants are considered part of the annual limit of 10,000. A principal’s family does not count toward the limit. This makes it possible to admit over 10,000 people a years with an EB-5 green card.
Benefits And Limitations
When a person can show they are in the process of investing in a for-profit business, they are not required to have any particular business background. This law does not prevent entry to applicants from specific countries. Individuals from a country that has a history of filing fraudulent applications will receive more scrutiny.
An EB-5 visa enables an individual to invest their money in a business located anywhere in the United States. The investment must be maintained for a minimum of three years. The person must be active with the company they have provided an investment.
After three years, the person with this visa can work for another company. They can also not work at all.
A person with this visa must reside within the United States. This green card cannot be used solely for traveling and work purposes.
The applicant’s spouse and any children who are younger than 21 years old can also get green cards. They will be designated as accompanying relatives.
The first green card is given on a conditional basis. It expires after two years. The individual will need to apply for a renewal to make it permanent.
Penalties for Misuse
Any misuse of this or any green card could be grounds to take it away. If an individual lives outside of the United States for too long or commits a crime, they could lose their green card. Should a person not inform immigration authorities of their changes of address and more, they could become deportable. If a person keeps their green card for a period of five years and lives in the United States during that time, they can apply for U.S. citizenship.
How we can help you
It’s important to understand the EB-5 category is a challenging way of obtain a visa. This is also the most expensive method. If an application is done improperly, it could hurt the chances to succeed in the future. This could result in costing an applicant both time and money.
Do You Need Help In Getting Your Green Card Or Visa in Virgina, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you're trying to obtain a Green Card or Visa you need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your free case consultation.