EB-5 Visa Explained: Exception to the Immigration Suspension

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EB-5 Visa Explained: Most Common FAQs Answered 


The EB-5 visa is a powerful option for investors to get a U.S. green card for themselves, their spouse, and their unmarried children under 21 years old. Each year, 10,000 EB-5 visas are available to investors. 


It is also important to also note that the EB-5 visa was specifically exempt from the April 2020 Executive Order which temporarily suspends the issuance of certain immigrant visas.


In this guide, we will answer 7 of the most frequently asked questions about the EB-5 visa. If you have any questions, feel free to call us directly at +1-818-741-1117, or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.


What is the EB-5 Visa?


The EB-5 visa is an investment-based immigrant visa. The basic concept of the EB-5 visa is that it allows someone to apply for a green card based on making an investment in a U.S. business and creating jobs for U.S. workers. 

In exchange for the investment and job creation (which benefits the U.S. economy) the investor may apply for a green card for themselves and their immediate family (specifically their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old).


What are the Requirements for the EB-5 Visa?


Here is a General List of the EB-5 visa requirements:


-You must invest at least $900,000 or $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. 


-Your investment must lead to the creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers


-Your investment funds must have been obtained lawfully


-Your investment must be “At-risk” (subject to the risk of loss). You cannot structure the investment in such a way that there is guarantee of profits or return of capital. 


-You must engage in the management the EB-5 business. This can be through active day-to-day management of the business. Or, you can focus on policy oversight and hire professionals for operating the busines. 


What is the Process to Get an EB-5 Visa?


Here is a more detailed guide on the EB5 visa process.


Step 1

-Make the minimum investment required under the EB-5 program. Then, submit the initial EB-5 immigrant petition (Form I-526) to USCIS. 

Your petition must include details like

  • Detailed business plan
  • Evidence of the source of your investment funds
  • Evidence that your funds are “at-risk”
  • Personal information such as a copy of the photographic page of our passport
  • Etc.


Step 2

Once your Form I-526 is approved and your priority date is current, the next step is to apply for an adjustment of status if you are already lawfully in the U.S. If you are outside of the U.S., then you can apply for an immigrant visa at your local U.S. consulate or embassy through consular processing.  


Step 3

Once the adjustment of status process is complete or once you enter the U.S. with your immigrant visa, you become a conditional lawful permanent resident. As a conditional parament resident, you basically have a green card with an expiration date in two years. Basically, your green card is valid for two years. 


During these two years, you must:

  • Maintain your investment in the U.S. business.
  • Cannot withdraw your investment funds, and
  • Must create the ten full-time job for U.S. workers.


Step 4

Three months before the expiration of the two-year green card, you are eligible to apply to remove the condition from your green card. To do this, you file the Form I-829 with USCIS. The Form I-829 is the Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.


At the time the Form I-829 in filed, you must show the following: 


-That the 10 full-time jobs have been created


-That you have maintained your investment in the U.S. business 


Once the I-829 is approved, then you will become an unconditional permanent resident of the U.S. 


What is a Regional Center?


An EB-5 Regional Center is a business entity that is specially designated by USCIS. Regional Centers sponsor EB-5 projects. The EB-5 projects typically pool investments from multiple EB-5 investors.


Regional center projects are typically large scale real-estate project like hotel developments, shopping centers, sporting arenas as well as other projects.


What is the Difference between Direct and Regional Center Investment?


Any EB-5 investment done through an EB-5 Regional Center is a regional center investment. Any non-regional center investment is considered a direct investment. Examples of direct investments include starting your own business or buying an existing business in the U.S.


Here is a guide on the benefits of investing in a regional center project.


Here is a guide on the benefits of making a direct investment. 


EB-5 Regional Center Investment:


-By investing in a regional center project, you typically have less involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.


-Regional center projects traditionally have a managing member in charge of managing the project.


-Regional centers may count the direct jobs that are created by the project and may also count the indirect jobs that are created by the project.


EB-5 Direct Investment:


-By making a direct investment, you typically have more control over the day-to-day operations and management of the business.


-If you make a direct investment, you may only take credit for the jobs that are directly created by the EB-5 business.


What is a Targeted Employment Area? 


As we discussed earlier in this guide, the EB-5 minimum investment amount is either $900,000 or $1.8 million depending on where the investment is made. 


If your investment is made in business that principally does business a targeted employment area, then you may be eligible for the reduced investment amount of $900,000.


Basically, a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is either a rural area or an area of high-unemployment within the U.S. The U.S. wants to encourage investment made in these areas, and so the investment amount is $900,000 rather than $1.8 million, if the investment is made in a targeted employment area.


Is the EB-5 Visa Safe?


Deciding to do an EB-5 investment is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. The investment funds required are substantial and the process can be long.


If you decide to apply for your EB-5 visa, you should seek help from qualified professionals which may include an experienced immigration lawyer, a registered investment advisor, and/or broker/dealer.


An experienced immigration lawyer can help to make sure that the immigration process is handled properly. A broker/dealer or registered investment advisor can help you select a business or project to invest in.


It is important to note that thousands of people have received their green card through the EB-5 visa program. However this decision should not be taken lightly and should only be made after consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer.


If you have any questions, about the EB-5 visa, feel free to call us at +1-818-741-1117, or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.

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Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.