Frequently Asked Questions
When and for whom was the EB-5 visa program created?
The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990 under section 203(b) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The program allows for qualified non-US citizens to seek permanent resident status on the basis of an investment in the USA economy.
How many EB-5 visas may be issued per year?
10,000 EB-5 visas available to qualified foreign nationals each year.
How does the EB-5 visa differ from an L-1 Visa (manager transfer)?
With an EB-5 visa, you obtain a Green Card for permanent residence in the United States. After 5 years, the investors and their family may obtain US Citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements. Other visas, such as the L-1, never result in permanent residency, have time limits, must be renewed, and require additional filings with the USCIS or Department of State.
Who may obtain an EB-5 visa?
Any person who can demonstrate the ability to invest the required amount into the USA economy, can document that the capital was legally earned, and satisfies general eligibility requirements (e.g., medical, criminal) is qualified to apply. The investor’s spouse and any minor children (under 21) also qualify. The age of the minor children is “frozen” at the time of the I-526 application so, for example, a 20-year old dependent is not in danger of “aging out” during the process.
What is the minimum investment required?
City Center West Orange is a USCIS-approved regional center project in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), so the investment is only $900,000.
Will my investment be returned if my application is denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?
Yes. In the event that your I-526 application is denied, your investment will be returned to you in full, minus administrative and legal expenses.
For how long is the “Green Card” valid?
The investor and their dependents receive a conditional, 2-year Green Card. Upon the expiration of the two-year period, a petition is submitted to the USCIS confirming that the investment has been made and that ten jobs have been created as a result of the investment. Once approved the Green Card is valid permanently with no further action necessary.
How long does the application process take?
Generally speaking, the process takes between 18 to 40 months after the I-526 petition is filed - dependent upon USCIS backlog. You can view current processing times here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
Where can I find more information?
Further information regarding the application process, requirements, and benefits of the EB-5 visa program, can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov).
Is it required that I have a degree of higher education?
No, there are no education requirements for EB-5 visa applicants.
Must I have previous business experience?
No, it is not required that an applicant have had any previous business experience.
What if I do not speak English?
It is not required that the applicant speak English.
Do I need to have earned the money for the investment myself?
No, for example, the money can be a gift. The only requirement would be to show that the gifted money was legally earned, and that taxes (if applicable) were paid on the gift. Another example would be using the proceeds of the sale of real estate or a prior investment to fund the investment.
May I apply for an EB-5 visa if I have previously been denied a visa to the U.S.?
Yes. If you have been previously denied a visa to the U.S., you may still apply for an EB-5 visa.
Can qualified individuals from any country apply or are there restrictions based on citizenship?
Citizens of any country may apply for permanent residence in the U.S. through the EB-5 investment program, with the exception of individuals from countries with which the U.S. does not hold diplomatic relations. As long as the applicant is able to leave his or her home country and has sufficient investment capital, a qualified immigration lawyer can assist the applicant with the process of obtaining an EB-5 visa.
What is the most common reason for rejection of an EB-5 visa application?
In most cases when an EB-5 visa application is rejected, the applicant failed to demonstrate that he or she had legally earned his investment capital.
What other requirements are there to obtain an EB-5 visa?
To obtain an EB-5 visa, as with any other visa to the U.S., the applicant and any accompanying family members must meet all requirements (e.g., criminal, medical) stipulated by the U.S. immigration laws.
What are the financial risks involved with EB-5 Projects?
All investments are risky by nature. Regional Center and the Direct Investment EB-5 projects are not exceptions. Under the law, Regional Center and Direct Investment projects are bound by the same guidelines and cannot guarantee profit or the return of the principal investment.