The EB5 visa is the American version of the golden visa. It allows the holder to live, work, continue education or retire in the United States without having to find an employer.
As with other types of Golden visas, if you want to obtain an EB-5 visa for the United States, you must make a very substantial investment in the United States. Thus, this visa is suitable for very wealthy international citizens who are aiming for a Green Card or American citizenship.
EB-5 Visa in Brief:
- You must invest at least $800,000 in a U.S. business and generate at least 10 jobs in the country in order to be granted this visa.
- If you are eligible for the EB-5 visa, you will receive a Green Card and can live in the United States.
- You can include your dependents in your application. This means that your spouse and children also receive the Green Card.
- The United States issues only 10,000 EB-5 investment visas per year. This also includes visas issued to family members.
- For assistance with the required documentation and procedures for obtaining a golden visa for the United States, it is advisable to hire legal representatives who specialize in residency-by-investment programs.
Businesses with years of experience with investment programs and Golden Visas include La Vida. Their team of experts can advise you on the fastest route to a US Green Card and let you know which investment program is best for you.
Visa EB-5 Investment Options:
If you choose to invest, you can obtain an EB-5 visa through two different options:
Invest at least $800,000 in a targeted employment area (TEA). Invest in a rural area or an area with high unemployment, in a government-approved program.
Direct investment of at least $1.05 million outside of a TEA. You can invest in another company/business of your choice or set up your own company in the US, but you need to make sure it meets USCIS requirements.
EB-5 Visa Investments in Regional Centers
The goal of USCIS’s numerous Regional Centers across the nation is to encourage economic development in specific US regions. The list of regional centers authorized to accept EB-5 immigrants can be found here.
If you invest in a TEA, you must demonstrate that your investment has created at least ten jobs, directly or indirectly. Indirect jobs are those that result from investment in the business enterprise, but the people hired work for other companies. These can be jobs in the commercial enterprise’s supply chain.
The vast majority of EB-5 applications are filed through regional centers, as most applicants are more concerned about the immigration aspect of their investments rather than the return of capital.
EB-5 Direct Investment Visa:
An EB-5 direct investment means you create your own company in the United States or purchase an existing company. Since the investment is outside the USCIS-approved TEA, you will have to make a larger investment, at least double the amount.
Additionally, you must demonstrate that your investment/company has directly created at least 10 new jobs and you must have a direct role in the company.
EB-5 Visa Investment Requirements:
The main requirements for an EB-5 Visa investment are:
- Must meet the minimum capital amount. Either $800,000 in a TEA or $1.05 million outside of TEAs.
- It must create at least 10 new full-time jobs for at least two years. If you cannot immediately demonstrate that the investment created the positions, you should be able to demonstrate that the need for at least 10 new full-time employees will arise.
- The money you invest must have been acquired legally.
- The investment must be approved by USCIS.
- The business you invest in must be a new “for-profit” business venture established after 1990.
- The money you invest should be considered “at risk,” meaning there is no guarantee of return on capital.
- You need to select the business you want to invest in yourself or through a regional center. Due to the investment amount, you may need to hire legal representatives to help you through the process.
- Due to the investment amount, you may need to hire legal representatives to help you through the process. If you are unsure whether your potential investment meets the EB-5 visa requirements, you can schedule a consultation appointment with La Vida. They will use their industry experience to provide you with the best options.
- Once your investment is paid off, you need to gather the necessary evidence and submit your EB-5 visa application.
How to apply for an EB-5 visa?
Once your investment is paid off, the process for applying for an EB-5 visa is as follows:
- Apply to USCIS using Form I-526, which is essentially the application form for an investment visa. USCIS may update the address you need to send the form to, so you should check their website.
- USCIS reviews your application and sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- The NVC will contact you asking you to pay the relevant fees and submit the required documents. The NVC informs you where and how to pay the fee.
Apply for an immigrant visa and interview at the US Embassy. The NVC will inform you where and when the interview will take place and what documents you will need to bring.
- If all goes well, the US Embassy will issue your immigrant investor visa (i.e. the two-year green card).
- If you are already in the United States: You must apply for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) with USCIS instead of applying at a U.S. Embassy.
Please note that the application process may differ depending on your location. So, if you are outside the United States, your first port of call should be the American embassy in your country. They will likely be the most up-to-date on the application process and requirements.
Due to the large sum of money involved, many applicants choose to hire legal representatives to help them with the EB-5 visa application process.
How long does the EB-5 visa process take?
The process for obtaining an EB-5 visa takes an average of 13 months, from the time you submit your application to USCIS. Since this is an average, actual processing time may be longer or shorter, depending on your specific situation.
Documents required for EB-5 visa application:
When you apply for an EB-5 visa, the USCIS will ask you to demonstrate that your investment meets its requirements. The documents you need to submit include:
- Documentary evidence that you have invested or are in the process of investing in a new for-profit business venture established after 1990; OR
- Purchased a new for-profit business enterprise established before 1990 but reorganized to be a new business; OR
- You invested in a new for-profit business venture founded before 1990, but your investment resulted in at least a 40% increase in net assets or the number of employees.
- Proof that you will manage or supervise the new venture.
- Proof that your investment has led to at least ten new full-time jobs, directly or indirectly. Or present a comprehensive business plan showing that at least ten new positions will be needed if they aren’t currently.
- Proof that you intend to retain new employees for at least two years.
- Proof that you have made the minimum required investment:
- Proof that the invested money was obtained legally. For example:
- Foreign business registration registers
- Corporate, partnership or personal tax returns
- Evidence of any other source of capital
- Evidence of any civil or criminal action pending against you in a court inside or outside the United States within the past 15 years (if applicable).
Your passport valid for at least six months.
- Passport size images.
- Civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates.
- Completed medical examination forms.
Benefits of the EB-5 Visa:
Receiving an EB-5 visa means you can:
- You live, work, and study in the United States, as do your family members.
- You get a Green Card, which you can continually renew.
- Apply for US citizenship in a few years. This will give you access to one of the strongest passports in the world.
- Travel in and out of the United States without having to apply for a visa.
- Travel to other countries that allow visa-free passage to Green Card holders.
- Recover your invested capital, if you have invested wisely.
- Gain access to American healthcare, known as some of the best in the world.
Travel visa-free to 9 countries.
How long can I stay in the United States on an EB-5 visa?
When you first receive a Green Card through EB-5 Investment, you will receive “conditional residency.” This means that the Green Card is valid for 2 years, during which you can live, work and study in the United States. You cannot stay outside the country for more than a year, otherwise you will lose your residency status.
After two years of “conditional residency” Green Card, you can apply for “unconditional/permanent residency”, i.e. a 10-year Green Card, which you can continuously renew.
Can I live anywhere in the United States on an EB-5 visa?
Yes, if you get an EB-5 visa, you can live and work anywhere in the United States you want. If you invested through a Regional Center, you do not need to live in the same state in which you invested.
However, if you have made a direct investment, you may need to be close to the company you invested in because you will need to demonstrate that you are active in the company.
Family members of EB-5 visa holders:
If you are approved for an EB-5 visa, family members who can join you in the United States are:
Your spouse. Your spouse is eligible for both conditional and permanent residency with you, as long as the two of you were married at the time you entered the United States as a resident or when you change your status from conditional resident to permanent resident after two years. Same-sex spouses can also benefit from the benefit. A common-law spouse is not eligible.
Your children. You can bring any children under the age of 21 with you and they will be eligible for conditional or permanent residency. This includes biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren. You must be able to demonstrate legitimate parental lineage. If your child is under 21 years old but is married, he is not eligible for a visa.
Can I obtain US citizenship with an EB-5 visa?
Yes, you can become a US citizen if you obtain an EB-5 visa. You can apply for citizenship after five years of holding “unconditional residency” status (the 10-year Green Card). In total, you must live in the United States for at least seven years before applying for citizenship.
Can I access American healthcare with an EB5 visa?
Yes, you will have access to healthcare in the United States as an EB5 visa holder, however, the costs of obtaining medical care in the United States are among the highest in the world.
Treating a broken leg or broken arm will cost you $2,500, while hospitalization in a US hospital can cost over $10,000 on average. You should choose the health insurance plan that is best for you, which is overall also affordable and covers your needs.
EB-5 Visa Cost:
The cost for the actual EB-5 visa application is $3,675 for you and all applicants. Of course, in addition to the amount you invest and any other administrative costs, such as:
DS-260 Form Processing Fee
- Expenses for medical visits
- Fees for obtaining supporting documents
- Any translation costs from the foreign language into English
- Any fees paid to acquire legal assistance during the investment process