The EB-5 visa is an investor visa; business-people who intend to invest in a business in the USA have the right to obtain that visa. This visa is not the only visa used by business-people but is the most profitable one.

EB-5 visa characteristics

What is the difference between EB-5 and EB-2 visas?

  • EB-2 investor visa is a temporary visa. Even though you can extend the visa numerous times, it does not give you the status that a conditional green card (provided upon receiving EB-5 visa) does.
  • An investor who acquired the EB-2 visa may lose his visa status if the company has financial difficulties.

 

What is the validity period of the green card issued under the EB-5 program?

If the visa is approved, you and your family will receive temporary green cards that are valid within 2 years. Three months before the expiration date of the green cards you will need to file a petition to remove the conditionality. You will not be denied if:

  • you have made the investment;
  • there are no significant changes in your investment plan;
  • by investing in a company, you have created 10 new jobs.

 

In this case, conditional green cards are changed to permanent ones, which are valid for 10 years.

How much money to invest?

If you have decided to invest in one of the target employment areas, the minimum investment amount is 500 000 dollars. If the employment area is not the target one, 1 000 000 dollars has to be paid.

This visa is for those who are confident about their source of income and have significant financial resources; otherwise, you should choose an EB-2 visa, where the minimum investment amount is 100 000 dollars.

Is there any difference between obtaining an EB-5 investor visa and so-called ‘second passport’?

Yes, and the differences are significant:

  • The ‘second passport’ program allows you to immediately ‘buy’ a passport and not to go through the intermediate stage of getting a permanent residence. Besides, depending on the country you have chosen, you will get permission to enter the territory of dozens of other countries without a visa;
  • a green card facilitates obtaining permits to enter the land of many countries, but you will not have the right to travel there without a visa.

 

Important visas details

How many are issued per year?

If you have decided to get an EB-5 visa in the USA, you need to be patient: there are only 10 thousand visas issued per year, and this figure includes applicants as well as members of their families (spouses and children under 21).

How long will it take to consider my application?

  • In general, this process takes between 1 and 2 years.
  • The petition will be considered within 9 – 18 months.
  • If it is approved, the petition will be sent to the Consulate or the local USCIS department. The visa will be issued, and your candidacy for getting a conditional permanent residence will be approved there.
  • Much depends on the country of your residence. Thus, for example, in 2015, the EB-5 visa quota for China was exhausted, so its citizens have to wait in the queue longer.

 

If I am in the USA on a work visa, do I need to come back to my homeland to get an EB-5 visa or permanent residence? No. When in America, you and your family members can file a petition to change your status.

However, it is important to remember: it is prohibited to simultaneously submit a completed I-526 form for the visa, and try to change your status. If you really need to do both, it is reasonable first to get the visa, and only then to deal with the status.

EB-5 visa requirements

Can I apply for an EB-5 visa If I was denied another visa?

Technically, you can do that, yes. But first, we recommend to figure out why you have been denied the visa. Use the assistance of a competent immigration lawyer who has been dealing with such cases many times.

The worst case scenario is:

  • you do not understand the reasons for the denial of a previous visa and file a petition for obtaining the EB-5 visa;
  • while doing so, you invest in business abroad half a million dollars;
  • you wait one year for your application to be approved;
  • you receive the denial again due to the same reasons as the previous time.

 

To prevent such a situation, do not neglect the help of a specialist.

Are there any limitations in regards to the age of investors?

The EB-5 program does not require visa applicants to comply with strict age limits. However, an investor has to sign a contract; this means that he or she must be legally capable of doing that.

So the presumed age of an applicant must not be less than 18 years. He also must be in the right mind.

Do I need to have a higher education?

Some work visas require you to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. However, an EB-5 visa is not one of those. If you meet all the criteria as an investor, nobody will check if you have a degree of higher education.

What about English language proficiency?

It is not necessary to speak English to get an EB-5 visa. However, if you intend to move to the USA, knowledge of the language will help you to feel comfortable in a new place.

What sources of investment funds can I use?

The significant advantage of an EB-5 visa is that the money you invest in a business does not necessarily have to be earned by you. The other possible sources include:

  • The required amount of money might have been gifted to you. In this case, you have to prove that the money was legally earned, and the gift tax was paid on time;
  • one can use savings from the sale or mortgage of real estate;
  • gains from the sale of shares, interest, dividends;
  • inheritance;
  • wage.

 

Does the nationality of the visa applicant matter?

No. Under the EB-5 investment program, a citizen of every country has a right to apply for the visa. The most important thing for you is to be able to leave your country in case your petition is approved and to possess the full amount of the legally earned investment capital.

What are EB-5 visa petition documents?

The set of documents may vary depending on how you obtained the money you invest in an enterprise. However, be sure to collect the following papers:

  • the copy of your passport;
  • biographical information (curriculum vitae);
  • tax returns;
  • bank account statements;
  • corporate documents.

 

The above papers must be provided with the application. After the petition is approved you are required to collect certificates from law enforcement services for all family members older than 16 years old, medical examination reports, civil status documentation, that is, marriage or divorce certificates (if applicable).

What are the possible reasons for visa denial?

The majority of denials are caused by the inability of the applicant to prove that his or her funds were legally obtained. If you do not want to face this situation, we encourage you to consult a lawyer.