by Duresa Sadrija | Guest Contributor | BUSINESS
For foreign nationals who are interested to come and start a new and better life in United States, EB - 5 is the most wanted option. The program requires that a foreign investor, you must invest a minimum of $900,000 through a licensed Regional Center in an approved project by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which enables you, your spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 to get a green card in a relatively short period of time.
Most likely many of you have already read about the program and are ready to start the application for yourself. Here is a quick guideline on how you can file your petition to apply for the EB – 5 program and the procedures you will go through before you even start the application.
1. Decide if the EB – 5 Program is the right choice for you!
The very first thing you should do is to understand the EB – 5 program requirements and see if you are capable of meeting those requirements. The immigration system in the U.S. is quite a complex one, but the EB – 5 Program is relatively straightforward and an easy option to immigrate to the U.S. The first requirement of the Eb-5 Program is to invest your own capital into a qualified EB-5 project, you must demonstrate that your invested capital has been gained in a lawful way and lastly you must demonstrate that your investment has created at least ten (10) full time jobs for U.S. employees.
2. Choose a project for your investment!
After you have decided that the EB – 5 Program is the right choice for you to immigrate to the U.S., the following step is to select a USCIS approved project. There are several factors you need to consider when you choose a project, but the most prominent factors are; financial stability of the investment and the chances that this project will satisfy all the immigration requirements in order for you to get a visa. The geographical location of the project is also an important consideration, because the projects that are located in a Targeted Employment Area or TEA’s are subjected to the lower bound of the EB – 5 minimum threshold investment requirements which is $900,000 as opposed to $1.8 million for a Non-TEA project.
3. Invest funds and file an I-526 petition!
Once you have decided to invest in a project that is appealing to you, you should start your investment procedures. The first thing you must do is to consult with the project’s Regional Center and an immigration attorney who will help you in this process. Once you invest, your funds will be held in an escrow account and released to you selected project either as a loan or an equity investment. We at American Immigration Group structure all our EB-5 funds as a loan to the project. At this point you can begin to collect the necessary paperwork to begin filing your I-526 Petition. Although you can complete the form yourself, hiring an immigration attorney is highly recommended because the source of funds requirements from USCIS are extensive. After submitting your I-526 to USCIS you will receive a notice that your petition has been filed, as well as a priority date which tells you when you will be eligible to apply for a visa.
4. Get Your Green Card
After your I-526 Petition has been approved, and you have gotten your visa, you will get your conditional permanent residence or green card once you enter the U.S. This step is dependent on where you reside when you file for your visa. If you are already in the U.S. under any other type of visa, you can file an I-485 application in order to adjust your status. If you are residing outside the U.S., you will need to file a DS-260 at your local U.S. embassy or consulate. Because this might be a complicated process, it is highly recommended that you first consult with your immigration attorney prior to filing any documents. Once your I-485 or DS-260 has been approved you will receive conditional permanent resident status in the US for two years.
5. Get Your Unconditional Green Card
You can start your life in the U.S. right after you get your conditional green card. After 2 years of living in the U.S. with a conditional green card, you can apply to remove those conditions, which grants you permanent residency in the U.S. by filing the I-829 petition. You must complete and file the I-829 90 days prior to expiration of your conditional green card. It requires that you have met the USCIS physical presence requirements, as well as provide evidence that your investment has been at risk for the duration of the EB-5 process, and that it resulted in the creation of 10 full-time jobs (those who invest through a regional center need only prove the 10 jobs were indirectly created a requirement that we as a Regional Center make sure to fulfill for all our investors). As mentioned in the above section (section 4), here is also highly recommended that you consult with your immigration attorney before you proceed with any filing.
6. Get Your US Citizenship
After the approval of the I-829 petition, you, your spouse, and unmarried children will get a permanent green card. This is the end of the EB – 5 program process and you can finally live and work in the U.S. as a permanent resident. However, 5 years after first entering the U.S. with an EB-5 Visa you are eligible to apply for U.S. Citizenship if you choose to do so.