(Français: Le visa d’investisseur EB-5)
Under U.S. immigration law, 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their investment in a new commercial enterprise. This visa program is widely known as the EB-5 visa program, based on the U.S. government’s immigrant visa classification of “Employment-Based Fifth Preference.”
Investors may apply for U.S. Permanent Resident status based on EB-5 eligibility if they have invested – or are actively in the process of investing – at least $1,000,000 into a new commercial enterprise (“NCE”). The following may qualify as a NCE:
In order to obtain U.S. Permanent Residency as an immigrant investor, a person filing an I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) must show that his or her investment will create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers (U.S. citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents, or political asylees), or that the investment will maintain the number of existing employees in a “troubled business.”
If the investment in a new commercial enterprise is made in a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”), the required investment is decreased to the level of $500,000. A TEA is defined as either a “high unemployment area” in an urban setting (part of a metropolitan statistical area) that has an unemployment rate at least 50 percent higher than the national average rate or a “rural area.”
Persons filing I-526 Immigrant Petitions for the EB-5 visa program must show proof that they meet all of the requirements of the program, including proof of the following:
When the USCIS determines that all of the requirements have been met, the I-526 Petition will be approved. The USCIS will then transfer the case to the U.S. Department of State for the next phase of Permanent Residency processing, known as “Consular Processing,” which will lead to the visa applicant being scheduled for an immigrant visa interview at the United States Embassy or Consulate in the country where the petitioner is a citizen or has currently established residency.
Upon the successful completion of the visa interview, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will issue an immigrant visa to the applicant. The visa will be valid for 180 days, for travel to the United States, for the purpose of being admitted into the United States as a U.S. Permanent Resident.
The investor’s U.S. Permanent Residency will first be conditional, for an initial period of two years. At the end of that two-year period, the investor will file an I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. The I-829 Petition will be filed with the USCIS and provide evidence that the project that has been invested in is a viable, ongoing business that has created at least 10 new jobs for U.S. workers. When the USCIS approves the I-829 Petition, it will issue a new Permanent Resident Card to the foreign national, which will be valid for 10 years and renewable on an ongoing basis every 10 years.
An immigrant investor may file an N-400 Application for U.S. citizenship with the USCIS as early as 90 days before the five-year anniversary of having first become a U.S. Permanent Resident, although he or she may not be sworn in as a U.S. citizen before the date of the five-year anniversary.
Please contact us for additional information on the criteria for U.S. EB-5 visas and how our firm can help you with the process.
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