What Is An EB-5 Visa?

Millions of people each year apply for a visa so that they can immigrate to the United States. Some are fleeing oppression or violence, some seek religious freedom, and some want to immigrate to a better business climate and more opportunity. The important thing is to immigrate legally, although it is not always easy. One program for immigrants that is beneficial to everyone is the Employment Based 5th Preference Visa, otherwise known as the EB-5 Visa.

The EB-5 Visa is one legal way to get a green card and its name is an abbreviation of “employment based immigration program”. It was intended to be a temporary program but has been given numerous extensions because of its benefits to both the United States and the immigrants that use it to apply for resident status. You can immigrate legally and actually make money doing so with EB-5 visa. Foreign investors that qualify invest in a business that stimulates the economy and creates at least 10 jobs. The minimum investment used to be $1 million but is now $500,000 and meant to be invested in an area of high unemployment.

You can invest directly into a business or use a Regional Center, an entity that has been approved by the USCIS (U.S. Customs and Immigration). The funds you invest must be at risk-that is, there must be no guarantee of a return on the money and there cannot be a redemption agreement. That said, you can actually make money if it is invested wisely.

10,000 EB-5 green cards are available annually and at least 3,000 of them are reserved for foreign nationals who invest through a Regional Center, a private enterprise that focuses on investments made in a single, specific geographical area of high unemployment. Ten jobs are required to be created directly or indirectly through money generated through regional productivity, job creation, increased exports, or increased capital investment. You must be able to prove that the money you invest was legally attained.

It used to be that EB-5 applicants had to create a new business for investment but that requirement has been changed. The Regional Center can select a good investment for you and prove the benefits and job creations to the US government. Investors guarantee a minimum of $500,000 to a project with an official EB-5 Regional Center. Although no returns are allowed to be guaranteed, you can get returns on your money while getting a visa and building wealth for your future.

Since it is so successful both for foreign nationals and the United States, many groups and lawmakers are trying to make it a permanent program. It has generated over a billion dollars in capital investment all over the country, creating jobs and producing thriving communities. In Sugarbush, a Vermont ski resort, EB-5 has created 200 full time jobs.

The program made important changes in 2011; what was a creative and beneficial idea for everyone was bogged down with a complicated application process, long adjudication periods, and miles of red tape. As a result there were fewer than 800 applications in 2007. Nearly 4,000 applications were received after changes were implemented in 2011.

EB-5 investors will be given conditional visas for themselves and their family. If after 2 years of residency investment requirements have been satisfied and maintained and American jobs required are produced, your visa is then permanent.

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