What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?

There are five main types of Employment Based Immigration in the USA:

  • The first preference EB-1 is a plan for immigrants with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers or executives of multinational companies.
  • The second preference EB-2 visa is granted when an individual holds an advanced degree in a certain profession or has an exceptional ability. Exceptional ability means having a fairly uncommon degree of expertise in sciences, arts or business.
  • Third preference EB-3 is for skilled workers or professionals; the skilled workers should have some experience (at least two years) in their field or should be able to prove that they can perform better than the qualified workers in US. The professional, in this case, must have a US baccalaureate degree or equivalent.
  • The EB-4 is a program designed to cater to the needs of Special Immigrants; religious immigrants, broadcasters, international employees of US government, armed forces members etc. can avail this immigration program to get a green card.
  • EB-5 is the immigrant investor program which allows entrepreneurs to apply for a green card in the US. Green card is the informal name for the United States Permanent Resident Card; it is an identity card which affirms the permanent residency of an immigrant. Initiated in 1990, this program renders businessmen and their families (children under age 21) eligible for a green card within the first two years.

There are certain requirements that need to be fulfilled if one is to register for an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The commercial project should create at least ten US jobs. It requires a standard investment of a million dollars but the standard is reduced to $500,000 in rural areas or higher employment regions. These Targeted Employment Areas or TEAs are the areas which, at the time of the investment, are rural or at the outskirts of a city with a population of 20,000 or more with past record of unemployment of at least 150% of national average rate. However, the requirements of TEAs may change from state to state. At first, permanent residency is granted with certain conditions, the immigrants have the right to lift these conditions after two years of residency in the USA.

Application Process

File the Form-1526, Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Once the petition form is approved, file Form-1485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to gain conditional permanent residency. File DS-230 or DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration to obtain the EB-5 visa. To remove conditions, file Form-1829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions ninety days before two years of visa complete. Once this petition is approved by USCIS, the applicant and his/her family become permanent US residents. To get the conditions removed, one has to prove that he/she has invested in the business and has created jobs in the US.

This immigration program was initially introduced to boost US economy by increasing the number of jobs and capital investment by alien citizens/immigrants. If one suspects a violation in application protocols, ethics rules or any policy, it should be reported to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, USCIS, DHS Designated Agency Ethics Officials or Associate Agency Ethics Officials.

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