An immigrant investor must go through a four-step process to be successful in the EB-5 program.
1. Choosing an investment
The first step requires an investor to select an EB-5 investment that meets program requirements, and, will hopefully result in both a Green Card and the full return of investment capital. Two major requirements are job creation and being “at risk.” Investors will want to have full due diligence conducted on their chosen investment.
2. Investing the capital and filing an I-526 petition
Following the selection of an investment, the petitioner must invest their capital, or be actively in the process of investing that capital. The investment amount is currently $900,000 for Targeted Employment Area (TEA), or $1.8 million for standard (non-TEA) project. The investor’s immigration lawyer will then file an I-526 application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The filing is a complex process that requires proof of lawful source of funds as well as many other program requirements.
3. Adjustment of status & conditional permanent residency
If an applicant’s I-526 is approved by USCIS, that person, and any derivative family members, may then receive conditional Green Cards. This requires and Adjustment of Status. If an applicant already has lawful status in the U.S. by means of another visa, they will file a form I-485 to adjust their status. If the applicant is not in the U.S. they will adjust their status by filing a form DS-260 with a U.S. consulate or U.S. embassy in their home country. Once status is adjusted, and investor and derivative family members become conditional U.S. permanent residents for two years. During that period they must fulfil “physical presence requirements” and cannot live outside the U.S. for a a more than one year.
4. Filing the I-829 petition & unconditional permanent residency
The last step in the process for an EB-5 investor is to remove the conditions on their permanent residency. To do so, the investor must file an I-829 petition within 90 days of the expiration of their two-year conditional permanent residency period. This application provides proof of meeting all the requirements of the EB-5 program including evidence that the the investment was made and sustained throughout the conditional permanent residency period, as well as evidence of job creation. Upon I-829 approval, the EB-5 investor and his or her family become unconditional permanent residents of the U.S.
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EB-5 immigration process
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