The 5 steps to get your EB-5 Green card through investment in the United States:
1. CHOOSE YOUR BUSINESS You have to find an appropriate business project to invest. This could be either anew commercial enterprise or a Regional center project. Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity (does not include non-commercial activity) formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
– A sole proprietorship
– Holding company
– Joint venture
– Business trust or other entity
Applicants must also ensure that they meet the investor income requirements in order to move forward with the EB5 process.
2. MAKE YOUR INVESTMENT The investor’s funds for the investment must be from a lawful source. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will require information and will track the source of the funds. Investment must be at least $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time workers (U.S. citizens or Green Card holders). Some Regional center investments are located in Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and qualify for the lower threshold investment. In this case the investment can be of just $500,000.
3. THEN APPLY FOR I-526 PETITION Once you have chosen your project and have invested in it, your immigration and business lawyer can help you by providing proof of your investment. This is possible by filing the form I-526 (Petition for an Alien Entrepreneur) with the USCIS. USCIS typically informs applicants whether or not their I-526 petition has been accepted after 9 to 12 months. Most Regional centers will refund your investment if your I-526 will be denied.
4. NOW YOU HAVE CONDITIONAL RESIDENCY Once the petition is approved, there are two way to proceed. If you live outside the United States, you have to schedule an immigrant Visa interview at the U.S. Embassy of your country. This is also called Consular Processing and typically takes about 6 months or longer depending on the country. Times may vary depending on the facts of each case. If you are already living in the United States under a valid, unexpired non-immigrant Visa, you can apply for “adjustment of status” with USCIS with form I-485. The spouse and children residing in the United States may be included in the petition, filling in the form I-485 for each of them. While you are waiting for a form I-485, you can apply for permission to work in the United States and the permission to stay for more than one year without obtaining a re-entry permit. Once the adjustment of status is approved, generally after 6 months, the investor and her/his family will be admitted in the United States as Conditional Lawful Permanent Residents. The Form I-829 (Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Condition) must be filed 90 days prior to the two-year anniversary of the granting of the EB-5 applicant’s conditional Green Card, in order to obtain a permanent Green Card. The third and fourth steps are critical, and typically require the help of an immigration and international business lawyer.
5. FINALLY, YOU HAVE UNCONDITIONAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY Form I-829 proves that the investor has met all requirements of the eb5 visa program. USCIS usually issues the Green card 9 to 12 months after the I-829 has been submitted. EB5 applicant and his or her family will be issued a new Green Card without any further conditions and will be allowed to permanently live and work in the United States. Now then, after 5 years from the initial admission in the United States as conditional permanent resident, an EB-5 investor will become eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship.