EB5 Visa Cost in 2018: Explanation of all EB5 Visa Fees

EB5 Visa Cost

 

 

The EB5 Visa is a powerful option for investors and entrepreneurs. Through the EB5 visa, you can get a green card for yourself, your spouse, and your children by making an investment in a US business.

 

To get an EB5 visa, it is extremely important to satisfy all of the EB5 requirements, carefully follow the EB5 process, and pay all necessary EB5 fees. In this guide, I’ll explain all of the EB5 visa fees. By the end of this guide, you should understand the total EB5 visa cost. If you have any questions, or if you need help with your EB5 visa, I invite you to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’d be happy to help you.

 

Overview:

 

  1. Introduction to the EB5 Visa
  2. EB5 Visa Process
  3. List of all EB5 Visa Fees
  4. EB5 Investment
  5. USCIS Form I-526 Filing Fee
  6. Immigration Lawyer Legal Fee
  7. Immigrant Visa Application Fee or Adjustment of Status Fee
  8. USCIS Form I-829 Filing Fee
  9. Administration Fee for Regional Center
  10. EB5 Business Plan
  11. Business Entity Formation
  12. Document Translations
  13. Conclusion

 

 

1. Introduction to the EB5 Visa

 

The EB5 visa is an investment-based visa for investors. The basic requirements to get an EB5 visa are that you must invest at least $1 million (or in some cases $500,000) in a US business and create 10 jobs for US workers. Based on your investment, you are eligible for a green card for yourself, your spouse, and your unmarried children under 21 years old.

 

EB5 Visa Requirements

 

To get an EB5 visa, there are 6 basic requirements:

 

  • You must invest in a new commercial enterprise
  • You must make an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 if the investment is located in a targeted employment area)
  • Your investment must lead to the creation of 10 full-time jobs for US workers
  • The investment funds must be put at risk (meaning that the funds cannot just sit in the business bank account, they must actually be spent)
  • The investment funds must have been obtained lawfully
  • You must engage in the management of the business

 

For a detailed explanation of all of the EB5 visa requirements, please check out my EB-5 Visa Guide.

  

2. EB5 Visa Process

 

The process of getting an EB5 visa has multiple steps. Here is a quick explanation of the EB5 visa process:

 

1. Put funds at risk: You are first required to put your investment funds at risk by actually investing the funds or through a qualifying escrow arrangement.

 

2. Form I-526: Once the funds are invested, you can then file the Form I-526. The I-526 is the initial form you are required to file for your EB5 visa. Once the I-526 is approved, you can then apply for your immigrant visa or apply to adjust status if you are in the US.

 

3. Visa Processing/Adjustment of Status: The Form I-526 does not give you any status in the US. Once your Form I-526 is approved, you will need to either apply for an immigrant visa (if you are outside of the US), or you will apply for an adjustment of status (if you are in the US in a valid non-immigrant status).

 

4. Conditional Permanent Residency: Once enter the US with your EB5 visa, or your adjustment of status petition is approved, you are classified as a conditional permanent resident for a 2-year period. As a conditional permanent resident, you have all of the same rights as a permanent resident with the exception that your status as a permanent resident only lasts for a 2-year period. During this time, you are required to keep your EB5 investment funds at risk and you are also required to create the 10 full-time jobs for US workers.

 

5. Form I-829: Before your conditional permanent resident status expires, you are required to file a Form I-829. The I-829 is the petition required to remove the condition from your permanent resident status. Once the I-829 is approved, you are officially a permanent resident (no longer “conditional”).

 

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of the EB5 visa, lets discuss each of the EB5 visa fees.

 

3. List of all EB5 Visa Fees

 

Here is a list of all the fees and costs that are needed for an EB5 Visa:

 

  • EB5 Investment
  • USCIS Form I-526 Filing Fee
  • Immigration Lawyer Legal Fee
  • Immigrant Visa Application Fee or Adjustment of Status Fee
  • USCIS Form I-829 Filing Fee
  • Administration Fee for Regional Center
  • EB5 Business Plan
  • Business Entity Formation
  • Document Translations

 

4. EB5 Investment

 

The biggest and most important cost required to get an EB5 visa is your EB5 investment. The EB5 investment is the sum you are required to invest to qualify for an EB5 visa. The current minimum investment amount to qualify for an EB5 visa is $1 million. However, if you invest in a business that is located in a targeted employment area (TEA), you may qualify to invest a reduced amount of $500,000. An area can qualify as a TEA if it is a rural area or an area of high unemployment.

 

To qualify for an EB5 visa, you can either start a business, invest in an existing business, purchase an existing business, or invest in a regional center.

 

Important note:

 

The minimum investment amount to qualify for an EB5 visa is projected to increase in the near future. It is very likely that both the non-TEA minimum investment amount and the minimum investment amount for TEA investments will increase.

 

5. USCIS Form I-526 Filing Fee

 

To qualify for an EB5 visa, you must file a Form I-526 with USCIS. The Form I-526 is also called the Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur. To process your Form I-526, USCIS charges a fee. The current filing fee required for the Form I-526 is $3,675. You are only required to pay this fee once, for you and all dependents included in your EB5 visa case.

 

6. Immigration Lawyer Legal Fee

 

The immigration lawyer legal fee is the fee your immigration lawyer will charge you to prepare, file, and handle your EB5 case. While it is not required to have an immigration lawyer handle your EB5 case, it is strongly advised that you do not attempt to file your case by yourself. The EB5 visa is one of the most complex visa categories in the US immigration system. To give some perspective, most immigration lawyers do not handle EB5 cases due to their complexity.

 

The amount your immigration lawyer will charge you depends on many factors. These factors include: the lawyer’s experience, their expertise handling EB5 cases, the type of services they will provide, and whether they will charge on a flat-fee or hourly basis.

 

Helpful Tips:

 

  • Work with a lawyer experienced in EB5: The EB5 visa is highly complex. Working with an experienced EB5 lawyer makes a big difference.

 

  • Work with a lawyer on a flat-fee basis: A flat-fee is an agreed upon fee that your immigration lawyer will charge you to handle your case. Immigration lawyers either work on a flat-fee or on an hourly basis. Working on an hourly basis often results in legal fees that are much higher than expected. To save yourself the uncertainty and the trouble, work with a lawyer who charges a flat-fee.

 

  • Know what is included in your fees: The EB5 process has multiple steps. Make sure to know exactly which steps your immigration lawyer will be handling for you.

 

 

7. Immigrant Visa Application Fee or Adjustment of Status Fee

 

The Form I-526, by itself, does not give you any right to live or work in the US. Once your Form I-526 is approved, you must then either apply for an immigrant visa or apply for an adjustment of status.

 

Here’s a quick explanation of the difference between these 2 options:

 

Adjustment of Status:

 

An adjustment of status is when you go from a non-immigrant status to immigrant status. In order to be eligible for an adjustment of status, you need to be in the United States in a lawful non-immigrant status that allows for an adjustment of status. The entire adjustment of status process is handled inside the US. To apply for an adjustment of status, you are required to file a Form I-485 with USCIS. The filing fee for the Form I-485 is $1,225 per person (if you are age 14-79) and slightly less if you are either younger than 14 or older than 79.

 

Visa Processing:

 

If you are outside of the US, you will likely have to do visa processing. Visa processing, or consular processing, is when you apply for a visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad. To apply for an immigrant visa, you must file a Form DS-260 with the Department of State. The filing fee for the DS-260  is currently $345 per person. In addition to filing the DS-260, you will also be required to attend a visa interview.

 

8. USCIS Form I-829 Filing Fee

 

Once you enter the US with your immigrant visa, or your adjustment of status is approved, you are classified as a conditional permanent resident for a 2-year period. Within 3 months of your conditional permanent resident status expiring, you are eligible to apply for a removal of conditions on your permanent resident status. To do this, you must file a Form I-829 with USCIS. The USCIS filing fee for the Form I-829 is $3,750.

 

You and each of your dependents (ages 14-79) must also pay an additional fee of $85 for biometrics (digital fingerprinting).

 

9. Administration Fee for Regional Center

 

 

To qualify for an EB5 visa, you can either make a direct investment or you can invest in a regional center. A regional center is a business entity, designated by USCIS, to collect EB5 investment funds from multiple EB5 investors. Regional centers typically develop large projects such as resorts and other major developments. A direct investment is when you either start your own business, invest in another business (not a regional center), or purchase an existing business.

 

If you choose to invest in a regional center, your role in the management of the project is very limited. The regional center managing directors will manage the business, be responsible for EB5 job creation, and handle other management tasks. Your role in the operations of the business are very limited. For most regional center projects, EB5 investors are classified as limited members and have voting rights and other similar rights.

 

Regional centers typically charge an administration fee to manage the EB5 project. Administration fees typically range from $50,000 to $70,000 depending on the regional center.

 

10. EB5 Business Plan

 

If you choose to do a direct investment (meaning that you will either start a new business, purchase an existing business, or invest in an existing business that is not a regional center), you are required to submit an EB5 compliant business plan along with your Form I-526. Due to the specific requirements of EB5 business plans, the business plan should be prepared by a company that either specializes in or has extensive experience in immigration business plans and EB5 business plans. An EB5 business plan typically costs around $3,500. If you choose to invest in a regional center, the regional center will provide you with the business plan and other necessary project documents.

 

11. Business Entity Formation

 

If you choose to do a direct investment for your EB5 visa, you may need to set-up a new business entity (such as an LLC or a corporation). To do this, you may wish to work with a lawyer or other company. The fee they charge you to set-up your company will vary depending on the company or lawyer you work with.

 

12. Document Translations

 

When you apply for an EB5 visa, there are hundreds of documents that must be submitted with your case. These documents include your birth certificate, foreign bank statements, and many others. All documents in any language other than English must be translated to English by a certified translator before they are submitted to USCIS. To do this, you will need to work with a certified document translation company. The fees they charge will vary depending on the company you choose and how fast you need the translations completed.

 

13. Conclusion

 

The EB5 visa is a great option for foreign investors looking to get a green card to the United States. The EB5 visa process is highly complex and has many steps. There are also multiple fees that are necessary to get an EB5 visa.  You should now have a much better understanding of the EB5 visa fees.

 

If you have any questions regarding the EB5 visa, or if you need help applying for an EB5 visa, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

 

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