EB-5 VISA: EMPLOYMENT SPONSORED VISAS

The EB-5 visa is one for investors who will invest between $500,000 to $1,000,000 in the US economy.

With the EB-5 visa, foreigners are allowed to obtain a US green card by investing and creating jobs in the US economy. The investment must create at least 10 jobs for US citizens or foreign immigrants and must be between $900,000 and $1.8 million. It makes a distinction between the general US economy and target areas which are rural places with a high rate of unemployment in the US.

The EB5 visa holder can live and work in the United States permanently. They can live in any state of their choice within the US but must respect US laws and pay all applicable taxes. Unlike the other types of employment-based visas, this visa doesn’t require an employer to petition for foreign immigrants. With an EB5 visa, you can travel in and out of the US for certain periods of time and when eligible, can equally apply for naturalization and becomes a US citizen.

Given that the EB5 visa is part of the employment sponsored immigration visas, it has an annual cap. Of the 140,000 visas allocated to the employment-based visas yearly, 7.1% is given to the EB5 visa which amounts to about 10,000 visas yearly. The visas are processed chronologically and if the yearly limit is reached, the remaining visas will be in line to be processed next year.

WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF EB5 VISAS?

There are different types of EB5 visas based on the target areas as seen below:

THE T-5 VISA

This visa allows wealthy people who wish to live in the US to invest in the country’s economy and be allowed to gain permanent resident status. T-5 visa investors must invest in places with high rates of unemployment and in rural areas. This investment must create jobs and also benefit the community in that area.

There is a limited number of T-5 visas issues yearly. Due to this, less than 3,000 T-5 visas are issued each year. This, therefore, makes the T-5 visa highly competitive and difficult to get.

THE C-5 VISA

The C-5 visa is for investors who have met various criteria to live ad work in the US. If the person invests 1.8 million in the US economy and increases employment in the company that receives it, they can get a green card.

THE R-5 VISA

This is a program for investors who participate in the investor’s pilot program in a general area.

It is subjected to a cap and has a limited number of visas to be issued yearly. By implication, it quite difficult to get this visa and that the processing time can be lengthy.

THE I-5 VISA

This is the investor’s visa to increase economic activities in the US. It specifies different areas where investors can invest. These areas could be general, targeted areas with high unemployment and rural, as well as regional centers.

In order to increase economic growth through increased exports, productivity, employment and domestic capital investments, regional centers have been created. The investor pilot program was created by the US to stimulate investment in regional centers. These regional centers can be in general areas or in the targeted areas.

The I-5 visa is for those investors who invest in regional centers in targeted areas with high unemployment and in rural places.

Only about 3,000 I-5 visas are given to those who qualify yearly.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE EB-5 VISA?

In order to be eligible for the EB5 visa, there are several requirements that need to be fulfilled.

The EB-5 investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established on or before November 29th, 1990. The investment must be through buying the business and restructuring it into a new commercial enterprise or expand it that there is either a 40% increase in its net worth or an increase in the number of employees.

The EB-5 investor must also increase employment by at least 10 people for 2 years. The employment positions must be full-time and permanent. The jobs an either be direct or indirect. Jobs created within the commercial enterprise that the investor has invested in are called direct jobs. Indirect jobs, on the other hand, are those that have come as a result of the investment in the commercial enterprise, but the people hired work for other companies. These can be jobs in the supply chain of the commercial enterprise.

Nevertheless, if the EB5 investor puts their money in a troubled business such as one that is close to bankruptcy, the requirement changes to being able to maintain the jobs that already exist in the company and to higher new people if possible.

Finally, the EB5 investor must invest in the minimum amounts of dollars required. Generally, the minimum qualification to invest in the US economy is $1.8 million, but if the investor chooses a target or rural area with high unemployment, they can also invest $900,000. The amount must be the investor’s own personal assets and must not be borrowed.

T-5 VISA REQUIREMENTS

To be able to qualify for the T-5 visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • An investor in this category must invest their money in what is called a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). TEA places are those with high unemployment that is also rural and are in need of more jobs. The investor for the T-5 visa can’t invest in a general area with normal levels of unemployment but must contact USCIS to ask which areas are TEA.
  • The investor is obliged to create at least 10 new jobs in the TEA area. The jobs must be permanent and full time. They can either be direct or indirect jobs.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE C-5 VISA

There are several requirements to be fulfilled by an applicant in order to qualify for the C5 visa as follows:

-The C-5 visa applicant must invest out of the targeted areas. Places within the US with high unemployment and poverty are referred to as target areas. So the C-5 investor must invest in places with normal unemployment levels.
-A minimum of 1.8 million dollars needs to be invested for the C-5 visa, since it is out of targeted areas. The money must not be borrowed and must be the investor’s personal asset.

R-5 VISA REQUIREMENTS

In order to qualify for the R-5 visa, the applicant must meet several requirements such as:

-The minimum amount to be invested for the R-5 visa is $1,800,000 since it is not in a targeted area. This money must be the investor’s personal asset and must not be borrowed.
-The money must be invested in a Regional Center part of the Investor pilot program. It must be a general Regional Center and not in a targeted area with high unemployment.

I-5 visa requirements

You must invest in a Regional Center within a targeted area in order to qualify for the I-5 visa. This targeted area must be in a rural area or must have a high level of unemployment. Information on which areas are targeted and where the regional centers are located, gets updated by US economic institutions and organizations.

HOW TO APPLY FOR THE EB-5 VISA?

The procedure to apply for this visa is divided into two parts:

  • Getting an approved petition from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Applying for the EB-5 immigrant visa.

FILING THE PETITION

You must first confirm your eligibility with the US authorities before you can apply for the EB-5 visa. USCIS is the organization in charge of administering the EB-5 visas. You must file the petition to the USCIS through form I-526, immigrant petition by the alien entrepreneur to make yourself eligible.

Unlike other types of employment visas, it is possible to file the petition yourself without the help of a US employer. Upon reception of this petition, USCIS will review it and inform you whether you have been approved or not. Your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) if approved, who will then be responsible for your application from that point onwards. After assigning a case and invoice ID number, the NVC will send you a package with forms and instructions on how to apply. When your priority date becomes current and you are allowed to apply, only then shall the package be sent. You will have to wait and apply later if your priority date is not current.

APPLY FOR THE EB-5 VISA

You can apply for the EB-5 visa at the US embassy or consulate in your country of residence when your date becomes current and you receive the NVC package. You must follow the steps below to apply

Apply online by submitting form DS-260, online immigrant visa application. You can access this form through your case number and it serves as your application. You will get a confirmation page and a code which you will later submit to the NVC when you re done.
Complete the medical examinations and vaccines outlined in the NVC package that was sent to you. A licensed doctor must sign your medical examination documents.
Compile your supporting documents file and send to the NVC. These documents include:

  • your valid passport for more than 6 months after your intended entry to the US
  • Your CV or resume
  • Court and criminal records
  • Your bank statements proving you have the necessary amount of money
  • Two photographs meeting the US visa photo requirements
  • Your investment plans
  • The approved petition
  • Academic achievements (diplomas and certificates)
  • Your DS-260 confirmation page
  • Your signed medical and vaccination documents
  • Depending on the case, the NVC may require other supporting documents so you must endeavor to carefully read the instructions.

4. Attend the visa interview. After the NVC reviews your supporting documents and there is nothing left out, they will then proceed to schedule an interview for you at the US embassy in your country of residence.
5. Receive your NVC package and travel to the US. After your visa has been approved, you will receive another NVC which you must not open. You must take it along when you travel to the US and an immigration officer at the US port of entry will open it and decide whether to let you into the country or not.

WHAT ARE THE EB-5 VISA FEES?

When applying for the EB-5 visa, there are many fees to be paid. These amounts vary and are determined by the USCIS and the US embassy in the applicant’s country of residence. Here are the general fees to be paid:

  • USCIS form I-526 petition filing fee
  • Form DS-260 processing fee
  • Medical examination fees
  • Fees to obtain supporting documents
  • Any fees to translate a document from a foreign language to English.

HOW LONG IS THE EB-5 VISA PROCESSING TIME?

The EB-5 visa processing time can be quite long since the investor visa has a cap. The processing time can range from a few months to a few years depending on how many people applied before you and the priority dates. This all depends on when you apply and when you are next in line from the USCIS and NVC.

DO I GET ACCESS TO AMERICAN HEALTHCARE WITH AN EB-5 VISA?

As an EB-5 visa holder, you will have access to American health care. However, the cost of getting medical treatment in the US is one of the most expensive in the world.

It will cost you $2500 to treat a broken arm or leg while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000 0n average. It is advisable to pick a health insurance plan that fits you best, which overall is also affordable and covers your needs.

WHERE CAN I GET HEALTH INSURANCE?

Private companies such as VisitorsCoverage, offer cheap health insurance coverage plans for lawful permanent residents in the US.

WHY DO WE ADVISE TO PURCHASE A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN THROUGH VISITORSCOVERAGE?

  • They have over 2 million satisfied clients, are highly rated for their outstanding customer service, attention to detail and hassle-free online experience.
  • You will get the lowest rates and the necessary information on choosing a plan that suits you best.
  • Their dedicated customer service representatives will be at your disposal seven days a week.
  • They are a well-established company in the health insurance industry with over 10 years of experience.
  • They specialize in offering health insurance plans to foreigners in the United States.

HOW TO GET A LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT (LPR)

Becoming a lawful permanent resident is the next step after getting your EB-5 visa. This is usually known as getting the green card. To change your status from immigrant visa to lawful permanent resident, you need an approved petition from (USCIS), the visa, as well as live in the US.

With this being done, you must file form I-485, Application to register lawful permanent Residence or adjust status to USCIS. This form will be processed and you will get your green card in the mail in a few weeks if it is approved.

CAN I BRING MY FAMILY TO THE US WITH AN EB4 VISA?

You can have your spouse and unmarried children less than 21 years old join you in the US if you have an approved EB-5 visa. The application will be similar to you with the exception of proving that they are making investments in the US.

After getting this visa, the spouse of an EB-5 visa holder is permitted to work in the US with the use of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The spouse can choose to either find a job elsewhere or work in the commercial enterprise you invested in.

[Also Read]: The different types of US Visas

[Also read]: Cheapest Universities in the USA for International Students

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