If you want to study full time in a specific country such as the United States, Australia or the UK, you’ll need a student visa. The process of obtaining your visa can be confusing and it always best to use a company that specializes in alternative investments such as EB5 visas. There are over 185 types of visas and it is important that you find the proper visa type when trying to obtain your either student, work or immigration visa. Many students and their respective families elect to pursue the EB5 Visa which can guarantee US citizenship in 2 years.
EB-5 Visa Program Basics
The U.S Immigrant Investor Program also known as the employment-based fifth-preference visa program, or just the EB-five program was created by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990 and codified in Title 8 of the United State Code, § 1153(b)(5). The program is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Foreign investors who satisfy the needs under the EB-5 program may obtain green cards and a path to United State citizenship in exchange for their job-creating investment. This program was created to stimulate the United State economy through the infusion of foreign capital tied precisely to job creation. For foreign nationals, the EB-5 program provides the opportunity to gain permanent resident status through investment. For developers, this program provides access to inexpensive financing.
To get permanent resident via the EB-5 program, a foreigner must invest in a new commercial enterprise a broad classification that encompasses different organizational structures as long as they’re for-profit and were created or restructured after November 29, 1990. The minimum investment is currently $1,800,000, although certain rural places or areas of higher-than-average unemployment, called targeted employment areas (TEAs), can be eligible for a lower minimum investment of $900,000. TEAs are designated by USCIS and are subject to change. The capital investment in the new commercial enterprise must create ten qualified full-time jobs. This investment may be direct by the foreigner into the new commercial enterprise or an indirect investment made via a regional center.
The EB-5 visa program was established by the U.S Congress in 1990. The Immigration Act of 1990 created the program to facilitate United States economic growth through foreign investment. In 1992, Congress sparked more interest in the EB-5 program by making the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program which established USCIS designated EB-5 Regional Centers. USCIS and Congress have made various additional EB-5 reforms intended for eliminating fraud, standardizing application adjudication, raising the application procedure, and offering more staff to this program.
The requirements for EB-5 investment are:
- Investing a minimum of $1.8 million, which is usually reduced to $900,000 for investments made in rural or high unemployment places designated as TEAs. Most of EB5AN’s projects are situated in TEAs to decrease the investor’s at-risk capital.
- Preserving or Creating at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying United States workers that last a minimum of 2 years.
- Investing in some new commercial enterprise as well as some troubled financially strapped business.The EB-5 has taken strong support from Congress and has grown dramatically, creating a lot of jobs for American citizens across the country.EB-5 Steps
There’re 4 general steps that investors must complete to become United States permanent residents through the EB-5 visa program. Once these steps have been completed, EB-5 investors, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 become the United States, permanent residents. They’ll also have the choice to apply to become U.S. citizens 5 years after obtaining their permanent residency.
Step 1: Locating an EB-5 Project
Locating an EB-5 Project
The applicant must find an appropriate business project for investing in. EB-5 business projects mostly are in the form of new commercial enterprises or regional center projects. Overseas migration agents frequently help EB-5 investors locate the project that good suits their requirements. Applicants must also make sure that they meet accredited investor income requirements to move forward with the EB-5 process.
Step 2: Capital Investment and I-526 Petition
File Form I-526
After selecting a project to invest in, the applicants must make the required capital investment amount in the project that they’ve chosen. The investment must be $1.8 million, or $900,000 if the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). These investments are frequently made into an escrow account. Then, an immigration attorney provides proof of this investment by filing an I-526 petition with USCIS. USCIS usually informs applicants whether or not there I-526 petition has been accepted after 31 – 52 months. Most regional centers will repayment your investment if your I-526 is denied.
Step 3: Two Year Conditional Permanent Residency (2 Year Conditional Residency)
The 3rd steps this process is for the applicant to be a 2-year conditional resident of the U.S so they can apply the project funded by their EB-5 investment. EB-5 investors are eligible to become United States residents once their I-526 petition has been accepted by USCIS.
If the investor doesn’t already have lawful status in the United States, then they must file for an immigrant visa by submitting form DS-260 to the National Visa Center and they must process through the United States consulate or embassy in their home country. Both of these steps usually require the aid of an immigration attorney and the immigrant visa is issued in about six-twelve months. During this residency period, the investor should fulfill physical presence requirements, and can’t go outside of the United States for more than 1 year without getting a re-entry permit.
Step 4: Permanent Residency & I-829 Petition
The final step in the EB-5 visa process is for applicants to become unconditional permanent residents by eliminating their 2-year conditional status. The I-829 petition is submitted to USCIS 90 days before the 2nd anniversary of the date that the applicant first received their conditional residency. This application will prove that the investor has fulfilled all requirements of the EB-5 program. USCIS most frequently issues a permanent green card 22 – 45 months after the I-829 has been submitted. The investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 can then permanently live and work in the U.S and have the choice to apply to become U.S. citizens after 5 years from the date they received their initial conditional residency.
What risks are involved in an EB5 visa?
About immigration risk, job creation is a condition that is crucial to EB-5 success and an investor wants to be confident that his/her project will make the required jobs. To that end, real estate projects very frequently fulfill the required numbers of jobs. This is because real estate projects create several jobs during the construction phase, as opposed to other projects that depend on the job making from operations. So, if a real estate project spends its construction budget and almost all do the required jobs will be most probably be created. Regarding an investor’s financial risk, the capital stack (the measure and repayment position of EB-5 money and developer equity and other loans) is an important factor that can be considered when contemplating the chances of a full return of capital.
Either exemplar approval of project documents by USCIS before they’re filed with a petition or a previous I-526 approval will give confidence to an investor that a project meets program requirements. Another aspect to look for is the exit strategy, you need your exit strategy to match up with your I-829 filing date, the time at which an investment no longer must be at risk. Finally, when selecting an EB-5 project know that immigration advantages and a high rate of return do not frequently coincide. The higher rate of return shows a higher risk level. As an investor’s primary goal is an EB5 Green Card, remember that when looking at the probable ROI of a project.
EB-5 Regional Centers
There’re 2 investment choices for EB-5 visa applicants. EB-5 applicants can make their investment as an individual (direct) or can invest via an EB-5 Regional Center. If the applicant invests directly, then they must find some projects to invest in. They must take a direct managerial role in managing their investment project. Regional Centers contain USCIS designation to manage EB-5 investment projects. EB-5 investment through a regional center carries many benefits. Regional centers are subject to more flexible EB-5 job creation requirements and can also usually pool better investment amounts by attracting multiple investors. Regional centers must also actively adhere to USCIS regulations, which can aid take the strain off of investors who will otherwise be solely responsible for meeting all guidelines. Regional centers allow the investor to take an easy approach to the EB-5 program by requiring less direct-involvement.
Immigrants who complete the EB-5 visa program by getting their I-829 application accepted become legal permanent residents of the U.S. Permanent residents are given a green card, which enables them to live and work in the U.S permanently. Permanent residents can live and work anywhere in the United States. Permanent residents can travel without requiring a visa and can work in the United States without requiring sponsorship from a United States employer.
Why Do Most EB-5 Projects Use Regional Centers?
Regional centers are economic units created in 1992 by the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which has been extended by Congress with no changes many times since its inception. By affiliating with a regional center, an EB-5 investor enjoys less restrictive job creation requirements because furthermore to direct jobs, indirect and induced jobs can be counted toward the program’s job creation requirement. Any private or public organization can seek regional center designation via USCIS.
USCIS has reserved almost 3,000 EB-5 visas out of the 9,940 immigrant visas allotted by the INA every fiscal year for designated regional centers based on proposals for promoting economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and raised domestic capital investment. Most applications are now conducted via regional centers. The regional center streamlines the process for potential EB-5 applicants by making it easy to demonstrate job creation. Specifically, only regional centers can use the indirect method of calculating jobs through an approved economic methodology. This means that investors requirement only demonstrates their funds were spent according to the business plan versus showing actual job positions created and held for the 2 years. Another implicit advantage of this difference in job creation calculation is an overall rise in the total amount of EB-5 capital that can be raised for the investment project. EB5AN maintains multiple USCIS-approved regional centers with broad geographic coverage, enabling it to instantly sponsor strong EB-5 projects across the United States.
EB-5 investors have the opportunity to become U.S citizens after they complete the EB-5 program. To qualify to become a U.S. citizen, the EB-5 visa holders must first be permanent residents for at least 5 years. Then the EB-5 visa holder can go through the naturalization process which enables them to become U.S citizens. U.S. citizens enjoy even more rights over permanent residents. Citizens are granted voting rights that enable them to participate in federal, state, and local public elections. Sponsoring foreign family members is also easy for U.S. citizens. Citizens also become eligible for certain government advantage programs.
Benefits of EB-5
A qualified EB-5 investor is allowed to get legal permanent residency in the USA with a green card. Furthermore, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible to acquire permanent residency in the United States under a similar EB-5 application and through the same $900,000 investment (or $1,800,000 as applicable).
Your capability to live in America will not need sponsorship and therefore isn’t dependent on your employer, H-1B, F-1, or other visas. You’re also not required to live in the location of your EB-5 project. As a permanent resident, you can live, work, own property, form a business, and attend school anywhere in the United States.
Green Card benefits include:
- Getting permanent residency in the United States
- You can get US Social Security Benefits
- The ability to travel in and out of the US without issue
- Education. Cost is reduced for domestic residents vs. international students
- State benefits. Depending on your location, there are many public benefits that can assist you with housing, food and other financial programs exclusive to living in the US.
- Medicare, Medicaid and Hospitalization. Depending on your age and if you have any disabilities you can qualify for many medical care programs.