The EB5 Investor Visa, also known as the immigrant investor visa is one of the least complicated visa processes available. However, several steps must be taken in order for an application to be processed. Eligibility requirements, time contingencies and preliminary documents must all be wisely considered prior to submitting an application. Once it’s approved, the applicant’s entire family may be able to achieve permanent resident status, which means eventually living in the U.S. with all the rights and freedoms of full United States citizens.
Step 1: Explore Eligibility
Three basic requirements are necessary for eligibility. First, the applicant must invest $500,000 in a new or existing U.S. commercial venture in a rural or underemployed area. The initial investment is $1 million for all other new or existing ventures. This investment must prove to be from a legal source, such as an inheritance or the sale of property – a very important requirement for an Immigrant Investor Visa. Next, the applicant must receive approval of the proper form, usually Form I-526.
Step 2: Evaluate Timelines and Deadlines
The road to U.S. citizenship may take at least 7 years via the Eb5 Visa Program. It takes 6-9 months to process the initial petition for an immigrant investor visa. This is followed by a wait period of 1 year and 9 months before an applicant can apply to have conditions on the Green Card Visa removed. Once the conditions are removed and the applicant gains permanent resident status, she must wait another five years before applying for U.S. citizenship. Also, applicants are encouraged to keep in mind that the EB5 Visa Program is set to expire in 2012.
Step 3: Prepare Preliminary Documents
The immigrant investor visa requires several necessary documents that should be submitted along with the appropriate petition form. These include copies of an official passport, birth certificate, court records (if any), government issued photo ID and passport photo pages showing non-immigrant visas or entry. In addition, applicants should submit Forms I-325A, I-94, I-693 as well as Form I-797. These will show proper biographic information, arrival and departure records, medical examination and the applicant’s vaccination record, respectively.
Step 4: Prepare the Application
If living outside the U.S., applicants must file Form I-526, immigrant petition by Alien Entrepreneur with the U.S. consulate office in their country for consular processing. If living inside the U.S., applicants must file Form I-485, and send the application to the Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Once the initial petition is filed and processed and the conditional green card visa is issued, a government agency must approve the investment and verify job creation. Then, the applicant may submit a second I-485 in order to have the conditions removed to achieve permanent residence.
The immigrant investor visa extends to the spouse and all children under 21 of the applicant. Each year only 10,000 of these Visas are available – 5,000 for regional center pilot programs requiring the $500,000 investment and 5000 for programs requiring the $1 million dollar investment. This count includes family members of the applicant. The 17 regional centers across the U.S. have varying Green Card Visa success rates, so it’s important to weigh all the relevant factors, taking note of all necessary steps, before choosing the best center for application.