Best EB-5 Visa Guide: Investment Amount, Requirements, and Green Card Process

What is an EB-5 Visa? 

The EB-5 Visa is a unique program offered by the United States government, aimed at attracting foreign investors to contribute to the U.S. economy. This visa provides a pathway for investors and their immediate families to gain permanent residency in the U.S. To qualify, individuals must invest a significant amount of money—either $1.05 million or a reduced $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)—in a U.S. business. This investment must lead to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers within two years. What sets the EB-5 Visa apart from other immigration options is its direct route to permanent residency based solely on investment and job creation, without the need for employment sponsorship or family connections.

The EB-5 Visa program is particularly appealing because it allows investors and their families to live, work, or study anywhere in the United States. They can also travel in and out of the country with fewer restrictions. For many, it’s a chance to pursue the American dream, with opportunities for personal and professional growth. Furthermore, after maintaining their investment for a certain period and meeting other residency requirements, EB-5 investors can apply for U.S. citizenship. This path to becoming a U.S. citizen is a significant draw for many investors, making the EB-5 Visa a highly sought-after option.

What Good Things Come from Having an EB-5 Visa?

Owning an EB-5 Visa brings several significant benefits, the foremost being the opportunity to gain permanent residency in the United States. This status allows investors and their immediate family members to live, work, and study in the U.S., enjoying the same freedoms and opportunities as other residents. The visa covers not just the investor but also their spouse and unmarried children under 21, making it a family-inclusive program.

Another major benefit is the flexibility and freedom it offers. Unlike other visas, the EB-5 doesn’t require applicants to manage day-to-day operations of a business, allowing them to pursue other professional or personal interests. Investors can choose to live anywhere in the U.S., irrespective of where their investment is, giving them a great deal of mobility and lifestyle choice.

The EB-5 Visa also serves as a potential route to U.S. citizenship. After maintaining their investment and adhering to residency requirements, investors can apply for citizenship, offering a long-term benefit beyond just residency. Additionally, there’s no requirement for a specific educational background, business experience, or language proficiency, making the EB-5 accessible to a wider range of people. This inclusivity is a significant advantage for many potential investors around the world.

What Do You Need to Get an EB-5 Visa?

To qualify for an EB-5 Visa, several key requirements must be met. Firstly, the investor must make a substantial financial investment in a U.S. business. This investment is $1.05 million, or $800,000 if the business is located in a Targeted Employment Area—a region with high unemployment or rural area. This capital must be invested in a new commercial enterprise or a pre-existing business that is restructured to qualify as new under the program’s guidelines.

The investment must lead to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission into the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident. These jobs must be direct and provide stable employment for U.S. citizens or other lawful permanent residents.

Another crucial requirement is proving the lawful source of the investment funds. Investors must demonstrate that their investment capital was obtained through legal means, which can include earnings, gifts, inheritances, or business transactions. This requirement ensures transparency and legitimacy in the EB-5 program.

Active involvement in the business is also a requirement. While investors are not required to manage the day-to-day operations, they must be involved in a managerial or policy-making capacity. This involvement can be through a corporate officer role, board member, or similar position, ensuring the investor has some degree of control or influence over the business.

What is a New Business for EB-5 Visa?

In the context of the EB-5 Visa program, a ‘new business’ refers to a commercial enterprise that was established after November 29, 1990. This business can be a completely new entity created by the investor or an existing business that has been substantially restructured or reorganized to meet the criteria of a new enterprise. The intention behind this requirement is to ensure that the investor’s capital is contributing to the creation of a new business venture or reviving an existing one in a way that significantly changes its organizational structure or business model.

For an existing business to qualify as new, the investment must result in a substantial change in the net worth or number of employees. This means that the investment should lead to at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees, thereby ensuring that the investor’s contribution has a tangible impact on the business’s growth and expansion.

The definition of a new business is crucial because it underlines the EB-5 program’s objective of stimulating economic growth and job creation. By focusing on new commercial enterprises, the program ensures that foreign investments directly contribute to the development of new business ventures or the significant expansion of existing ones, ultimately creating more job opportunities within the United States.

What Kinds of Businesses Work for EB-5 Visa? 

The EB-5 Visa program is flexible regarding the types of businesses that qualify for investment. There are no specific restrictions on the industry or sector, meaning that investments can be made in a wide array of businesses, including but not limited to technology startups, real estate development, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, and education.

The key requirement for a business to qualify for EB-5 investment is that it must be a for-profit enterprise and must operate within the United States. The business should create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the U.S. as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

This flexibility allows investors to choose industries in which they have experience or interest, thereby increasing the likelihood of the business’s success. For instance, an investor with a background in technology might choose to invest in a tech startup, while someone with experience in hospitality might opt for a hotel or restaurant project.

Moreover, the business can be a new start-up company, an existing business that is being expanded, or a troubled business that is being turned around. In each case, the investment must lead to a measurable increase in employment or economic output, thus fulfilling the primary objective of the EB-5 program: stimulating economic growth through foreign investment.

What is a Special Job Area for EB-5? 

In the EB-5 Visa program, a ‘special job area’ refers to what is officially known as a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). This designation is crucial because it lowers the investment threshold for EB-5 applicants. Typically, a TEA is either a rural area or an area experiencing high unemployment. A rural area is defined as a region outside the boundary of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more, or outside of a metropolitan statistical area. An area of high unemployment, on the other hand, is characterized as having an unemployment rate at least 150% of the national average.

Investing in a TEA is an attractive option for many EB-5 investors because the required investment amount is reduced to $800,000, compared to the standard $1.05 million. This makes the EB-5 Visa more accessible to a broader range of investors. The purpose behind this reduced investment requirement is to encourage foreign investment in areas that would benefit most from economic stimulation and job creation, aligning with the broader goals of the EB-5 program to assist in economic development, particularly in regions that are in greater need.

What is a Regional Center in EB-5? 

A Regional Center in the context of the EB-5 Visa program is an organization or agency that has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to promote economic growth in a specific area. These centers focus on developing projects that will create jobs and attract foreign investment under the EB-5 program. A Regional Center can cover a specific geographic area and may focus on a particular type of economic development, such as commercial real estate, infrastructure, manufacturing, or technology.

The primary appeal of investing through a Regional Center is that it allows investors to meet the EB-5 program’s job creation requirements more flexibly. Unlike direct investments where job creation must be direct and verifiable, Regional Centers can count indirect and induced jobs towards the required job creation count. Indirect jobs are those created in the community as a result of the investment, like suppliers or contractors, while induced jobs are those created by the spending of the new workforce.

Regional Centers are popular among EB-5 investors because they offer a more hands-off investment approach. Investors can contribute capital to a project managed by experienced professionals, reducing the burden of managing the day-to-day operations of the business while still meeting the program’s requirements.

How is Investing in a Regional Center Different from Investing Directly? 

Investing in a Regional Center under the EB-5 Visa program differs significantly from making a direct investment. When investing directly, the investor must engage in a new commercial enterprise and be responsible for creating at least 10 full-time jobs directly, meaning these jobs are within the company where the investment is made. This requires the investor to be involved in the day-to-day management or policy formation of the business.

In contrast, investing through a Regional Center offers a more passive investment option. While direct investments often involve active management of the enterprise, Regional Center investments allow for a ‘hands-off’ approach. The investor’s capital is typically pooled with funds from other investors in large projects managed by the Regional Center, such as real estate developments or infrastructure projects.

Another key difference is in job creation. Regional Center investments allow for the counting of indirect and induced jobs in addition to direct jobs. This means that job creation can include not only jobs within the actual business but also jobs created in the broader economy as a result of the investment, such as in supply chain businesses or through increased consumer spending.

This flexibility in job creation criteria and the more passive investment role makes Regional Center investments particularly attractive to many foreign investors who may prefer not to manage a business directly.

What Kinds of Money Can You Use for EB-5 Visa? 

For an EB-5 Visa, the capital invested must be lawful, which means the investor must be able to demonstrate the legal source of the funds. This requirement is critical to ensure transparency and legitimacy in the EB-5 program. The types of capital that can be used include personal savings, income from business operations, property sales, stocks and bonds, inheritance, gifts, and loans, as long as the investor can clearly trace and document the source.

Personal savings can be a straightforward source, provided the investor can show a consistent accumulation of wealth over time through employment or business activities. Income from business operations can also be used, where the investor demonstrates that the funds were earned through a legitimate business.

Property sales can contribute to the investment if the investor can provide documentation of ownership and the sale transaction. Similarly, stocks, bonds, or other investments can be liquidated, with proper records showing the acquisition and sale of these assets.

Inheritances or gifts are permissible sources, but they require documentation to prove the origin of the funds. If the capital comes from a loan, it must

Can I Use a Gift to Pay for EB-5 Visa? 

Yes, you can use a gift to finance your EB-5 Visa investment, but there are important stipulations to consider. The key factor is proving the lawful source of the gifted funds. Just like funds from personal savings or business earnings, gifted money must come from legitimate means. The donor of the gift must provide a clear paper trail, demonstrating where the money originated. This could involve financial statements, tax returns, or other documents proving the donor legally acquired the money.

Documentation should also include a gift letter, stating that the funds are a gift and not a loan, and that no repayment is expected. This is crucial, as loans are treated differently under EB-5 regulations. The letter should clearly detail the relationship between the donor and the recipient and the purpose of the gift.

Using gifted funds for EB-5 investments is a common practice, especially in cases where family members wish to support an applicant’s immigration and investment goals. However, thorough documentation and legal compliance are essential to ensure that the use of gifted funds does not impede the EB-5 application process.

Does the EB-5 Investment Have to Be Cash or Can It Be Something Else Valuable? 

The EB-5 investment does not strictly have to be in cash; it can also be in the form of other valuable assets. However, the key is that the total value of the investment meets the minimum required amount ($1.05 million or $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area). If you’re using non-cash assets, their valuation becomes critical. These assets might include property, stocks, bonds, or other forms of tangible assets.

The valuation of these assets must be based on fair market value and should be done by an independent and qualified appraiser. The investor must provide substantial evidence to prove the value of these assets and demonstrate their legality. Just like with cash investments, the source of these assets must be legal and well-documented.

This flexibility in the form of investment allows potential investors to leverage various types of assets towards their goal of obtaining an EB-5 Visa. However, due diligence in valuation and documentation is key to ensuring that the investment meets USCIS requirements.

What Does “At Risk” Mean for EB-5 Money? 

The term “at risk” in the context of EB-5 investments is crucial and is a requirement set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It means that the invested capital must be subject to both the potential for gain and the risk of loss. The investor must genuinely put their capital at risk for the purpose of generating a return on the investment. This stipulation is intended to ensure that the investor is actively contributing to the economic risk, just like any other business investment in the U.S. economy.

Simply put, the investment must not be a mere loan or a guarantee of return. It should be employed in such a way that it is directly tied to the success or failure of the business enterprise. The “at risk” requirement ensures that the investment is a true, equity investment in the business and not just a passive or guaranteed interest.

This requirement plays a critical role in fulfilling the EB-5 program’s aim of stimulating economic growth through foreign investment. It ensures that investors are contributing to the U.S. economy in a meaningful way, with both the potential for financial success and the risk of financial loss.

How Do You Get an EB-5 Visa? 

Obtaining an EB-5 Visa involves a multi-step process that requires careful planning and adherence to specific guidelines. The first step is making the required investment in a U.S. business or a Regional Center project. This involves either $1.05 million or $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), depending on the location of the business.

After making the investment, the investor must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition must include proof of the investment and evidence that it will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

Once the I-526 petition is approved, the investor and their eligible family members can apply for conditional resident status. If the investor is outside the U.S., this is done through a U.S. consulate or embassy; if already in the U.S., it’s done through a status adjustment application.

After two years of conditional residency, the investor must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, to prove that the investment has met the job creation and capital investment requirements of the EB-5 program. Upon approval of this petition, the conditional status is removed, granting the investor and their family members permanent residency in the United States.

How Long Does Getting an EB-5 Visa Take? 

The timeline for obtaining an EB-5 Visa can vary significantly based on several factors, including the individual’s circumstances, the complexity of their investment, and the current processing times of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On average, the entire process can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, but it can be longer in some cases.

The first step, making the investment and filing the I-526 petition, can take several months itself. The processing time for the I-526 petition is one of the most significant factors in the timeline. Once the I-526 is approved, the investor and their family can apply for conditional green cards, which involves additional processing time, including background checks and interviews.

After living in the U.S. for two years on a conditional green card, the investor must file the I-829 petition to remove the conditions on their residency. The processing of this petition can also contribute to the overall timeline.

It’s important to note that processing times can fluctuate due to changes in USCIS policies, the volume of applications, and other external factors. Prospective EB-5 investors should stay informed about current processing times and plan accordingly.

Will the EB-5 Visa Rules Change? 

The EB-5 Visa program, like many immigration programs, is subject to change based on legislative or administrative decisions. Changes can occur in response to a variety of factors, such as economic conditions, political shifts, or efforts to improve the program’s effectiveness and integrity.

Historically, there have been changes to investment amounts, job creation requirements, and the designation of Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs). Changes can also be made to improve the program’s oversight and to combat fraud or misuse.

It’s important for potential EB-5 investors to stay updated on the current rules and regulations and to understand that these could change. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in EB-5 visas can provide valuable insights into the current state of the program and any anticipated changes.

Prospective investors should also be aware that changes in regulations could affect their investment strategy, the processing times of their applications, and the overall feasibility of the EB-5 path for their specific situation.

How Many Jobs Must an EB-5 Visa Create? 

A core requirement of the EB-5 Visa program is job creation. Each EB-5 investment must lead to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. These jobs must be created within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident or, if the investor is already in the U.S., within two years of the investment.

The definition of “full-time” in this context is a job that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. These jobs must be for qualified U.S. workers, which include U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other authorized workers.

For direct investments, these jobs must be directly within the enterprise in which the investment is made. However, for investments made through Regional Centers, indirect and induced jobs can also be counted. Indirect jobs are those created in the community as a result of the EB-5 investment (like supply chain jobs), while induced jobs are created through the spending of the new workforce.

This job creation requirement is a critical aspect of the EB-5 program, as it ensures that the investment contributes to the U.S. economy not only in terms of capital but also in terms of employment.

If I Buy a Business with 10 Workers, Do They Count for EB-5 Visa Jobs? 

Purchasing an existing business with 10 workers can potentially meet the EB-5 program’s job creation requirement, but there are specific conditions that must be met. Simply maintaining pre-existing jobs is not sufficient for EB-5 purposes unless the business qualifies as a “troubled business.”

A troubled business is defined as one that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12 or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the investor’s I-526 petition. The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’s net worth prior to the loss.

If the business does not qualify as a troubled business, the investor must create an additional 10 full-time jobs, over and above the existing workforce. This means expanding the business or restructuring it in a way that results in a net increase in employment.

In either scenario, the investor needs to demonstrate that the investment led to the creation or preservation of jobs and that these jobs meet the EB-5 program’s requirements. This includes ensuring that the jobs are full-time and for qualified U.S. workers. Documentation and evidence of job creation or preservation are crucial components of the I-829 petition to remove conditions on the investor’s green card.

What Does It Mean to Manage a Business for EB-5? 

Managing a business for EB-5 purposes involves a certain level of engagement and responsibility in the enterprise in which you have invested. It’s not sufficient to be a passive investor; EB-5 regulations require active involvement in the business’s management or policy-making. This can be achieved in various ways, such as being a member of the board of directors, an executive manager, or in a policy-forming position.

The investor’s role should be significant enough to influence the business’s direction and operations. This requirement is in place to ensure that the investor is genuinely contributing to the success and growth of the enterprise. However, it’s important to note that daily management activities are not a necessity, especially in Regional Center investments, where a more hands-off approach is permitted.

In a Regional Center investment, management can often take the form of limited partnership or shareholder oversight. This structure allows investors to fulfill the management requirement of the EB-5 program while relying on professional managers to handle the day-to-day operations of the business.

Can I Become a U.S. Citizen with an EB-5 Visa? 

Yes, obtaining an EB-5 Visa can eventually lead to U.S. citizenship, but there are several steps and conditions involved in this process. Initially, the EB-5 Visa grants conditional permanent residency to the investor and their eligible family members. After a period of two years, if the investment has met all the requirements (including job creation), the investor can apply to remove these conditions.

Once the investor has been a permanent resident for five years (including the two years as a conditional resident), they are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process. This process involves meeting certain residency requirements, demonstrating good moral character, passing a U.S. history and government test, and proving proficiency in English.

It’s important to note that citizenship is not automatic and requires the investor to actively pursue the naturalization process. The EB-5 Visa is a pathway to permanent residency, which is a necessary step towards becoming a U.S. citizen.

What Papers Do I Need for EB-5 Visa? 

Applying for an EB-5 Visa requires a comprehensive set of documents to demonstrate eligibility and compliance with the program’s requirements. Key documents include:

  • Proof of Investment: Documentation of the invested capital, such as bank statements, wire transfer records, and evidence of asset valuation if non-cash assets are used.
  • Source of Funds: Evidence showing the lawful source of the investment funds, which might include tax returns, salary statements, business ownership documents, sale deeds for property, or gift letters.
  • Business Plan: A detailed business plan showcasing how the investment will lead to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs.
  • Legal Forms: The Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, followed by Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, after the conditional residency period.
  • Personal Identification: Copies of passports, birth certificates, and other personal identification documents for the investor and family members.
  • Immigration Records: If applicable, records of any previous U.S. visas or immigration history.

An experienced EB-5 attorney can provide a comprehensive list tailored to your specific case and guide you through the process of gathering and submitting these documents.

What Does My Lawyer Do in EB-5 Visa? 

An attorney plays a crucial role in the EB-5 Visa process, offering expertise and guidance through this complex and often intricate immigration pathway. Their responsibilities include:

  • Eligibility Assessment: Determining if the EB-5 Visa is the right fit for the client’s immigration and investment goals.
  • Source of Funds Documentation: Assisting in the preparation of the documentation needed to prove the lawful source of the investment funds.
  • Business Plan Review: Ensuring that the business plan meets USCIS requirements, particularly regarding job creation and investment.
  • Legal Compliance: Advising on compliance with all EB-5 regulations and U.S. immigration laws.
  • Petition Preparation and Filing: Assisting in preparing and filing the necessary forms, including Form I-526 and Form I-829, and ensuring that all documentation is complete and accurate.
  • Communication with USCIS: Acting as a liaison between the investor and USCIS, handling inquiries and correspondence related to the application.
  • Post-Investment Guidance: Offering advice on maintaining eligibility for permanent residency and eventually applying for U.S. citizenship.

In essence, an EB-5 attorney navigates the legal complexities of the EB-5 program, ensuring that the investor’s pathway to U.S. residency is as smooth and compliant as possible.

How Do I Find a Business for EB-5 Visa? 

Finding a suitable business for an EB-5 Visa investment requires careful consideration and often, professional guidance. The first step is to decide between a direct investment in your own business or investing through a Regional Center. If you opt for a direct investment, you’ll need to either start a new business or buy and restructure an existing one. This approach requires a solid business plan, demonstrating how the investment will create at least 10 full-time jobs.

For those less inclined to direct business management, Regional Centers offer a more hands-off investment option. These centers manage large-scale projects that qualify for EB-5 investments, such as real estate developments or infrastructure projects. To find a Regional Center project, you can consult the list of USCIS-approved Regional Centers, conduct thorough due diligence, and perhaps engage an EB-5 consultant or broker.

Regardless of the route you choose, it’s crucial to conduct comprehensive research or work with a professional to assess the project’s or business’s viability, legal compliance, and potential for fulfilling the EB-5 program’s requirements, particularly in job creation. Evaluating the risks, returns, and the project’s or business’s track record can guide you in making a sound investment decision for your EB-5 Visa.

Who Can Get an EB-5 Visa? 

The EB-5 Visa program is open to foreign nationals of any country, with no restrictions on age, country of origin, professional background, or education. The primary eligibility criteria are financial: the ability to invest either $1.05 million or $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and to prove that these funds come from a lawful source.

Applicants must also demonstrate a clear intention to generate at least 10 full-time jobs through their investment. However, there’s no requirement for investors to have a business background or experience in managing a company, especially if they choose to invest through a Regional Center.

It’s important to note that while the EB-5 program is broadly inclusive, investors must pass rigorous background checks. These checks include scrutinizing the investor’s criminal record, source of funds, and immigration history, ensuring compliance with U.S. laws and regulations.

Overall, the EB-5 Visa provides a unique opportunity for individuals with the necessary capital and who are willing to contribute to the U.S. economy to seek permanent residency in the United States.

What is “Visa Backlog” in EB-5? 

The term “Visa Backlog” in the context of the EB-5 program refers to the delay in visa processing due to the number of applicants exceeding the annual quota of visas available. The United States allocates a limited number of EB-5 visas each fiscal year, and when applications exceed this number, a backlog occurs.

This backlog primarily affects applicants from countries with a high volume of EB-5 applicants. The U.S. immigration law stipulates a per-country cap, meaning no single country can exceed a certain percentage of the total visas issued annually. When the demand from a particular country is high, applicants from that country may experience extended waiting times.

The backlog can significantly delay the process of obtaining an EB-5 Visa and, consequently, permanent residency in the U.S. For some, this can mean a wait of several years from the time of application to the issuance of a visa.

Applicants caught in the visa backlog should stay informed about their place in line and any policy changes that might affect their application. It’s also advisable to keep in touch with immigration attorneys who can provide updates and guidance throughout the waiting period.

When Should I Put Money in the EB-5 Business? 

The timing of the investment is a critical component of the EB-5 Visa process. Ideally, the capital should be invested or be in the process of being invested at the time of filing the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. This means that the funds should either already be committed to the business or held in an escrow account, earmarked for the business, demonstrating the investor’s commitment to the project.

It’s important that the investment is made before filing the petition to ensure that the application demonstrates a clear intent and action towards fulfilling the EB-5 program requirements. The investment can be a lump sum or a series of transactions, but it should meet the minimum required amount, either $1.05 million or $800,000 for investments in a Targeted Employment Area.

Furthermore, the investment should be at risk (meaning it’s not guaranteed to be returned) and should be shown to be directly contributing to the business’s ability to create the required number of jobs. Proper documentation of the transfer of funds and the terms of investment is crucial to prove that the investment meets all the EB-5 criteria.

Investors are advised to work closely with their attorneys and financial advisors to ensure that the timing and structure

Can My Family Come with Me on EB-5 Visa? 

Yes, when you obtain an EB-5 Visa, it includes the benefit of bringing your immediate family along. This includes your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. When your EB-5 application is approved, your family members can apply for their conditional permanent residency as dependents on your application. This is a significant advantage of the EB-5 program, as it allows families to immigrate together.

Each family member will receive their own conditional green card, which grants them the same rights as other permanent residents. This includes the ability to live, work, or study anywhere in the United States. After the two-year conditional period, provided that the EB-5 investment has fulfilled all its requirements, including job creation, you and your family members can apply to have the conditions removed from your green cards, solidifying your permanent residency status.

What Happens if My Child Gets Older During EB-5 Process? 

The EB-5 process can be lengthy, and it’s possible that a child listed as a dependent may turn 21 – legally becoming an adult – during this period. This situation is referred to as “aging out.” The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) can offer some protection in these cases. The CSPA allows the age of a child to be “frozen” on the date the I-526 petition is filed, potentially preventing them from aging out during the processing time.

However, the application of CSPA can be complex, and whether a child benefits from it depends on several factors, including the length of time the I-526 petition was pending. It’s important to consult with an immigration attorney who can provide guidance based on the specifics of your case to understand how the CSPA may apply to your child.

When Should I Go to the U.S. After Getting EB-5 Visa? 

Once your EB-5 Visa is approved, and you receive your conditional green card, you must enter the United States within a specific timeframe. Typically, the visa issued by the U.S. Consulate has an expiration date, usually within six months from the date of the medical examination or visa issuance. It’s important to make your first entry into the U.S. before this expiration date.

This first entry into the U.S. activates your conditional permanent resident status. It’s advisable to plan your relocation to the U.S. keeping in mind this timeframe to ensure compliance with immigration regulations. However, this initial trip doesn’t have to be for permanent relocation; you can enter the U.S., activate your status, and then return to your home country to prepare for the move.

Do I Have to Live in the U.S. with a Green Card from EB-5? 

Holding a green card through the EB-5 program does require you to establish residency in the United States. Permanent residency status implies that the U.S. is your permanent home. You are expected to live, work, and pay taxes in the U.S. and may lose your residency status if you don’t adhere to these requirements.

However, there’s some flexibility. You’re not required to stay continuously in the U.S. You can travel abroad and maintain other homes, but the U.S. should be your primary place of residence. Prolonged absences from the U.S., typically more than six months, can be problematic and may lead to questions about your residency status upon re-entry.

It’s advisable to maintain strong ties to the U.S., such as a home, job, or family, and keep records of your physical presence in the country. If you plan to be outside the U.S. for an extended period, consulting with an immigration attorney can help you understand how to preserve your residency status.

Can I Use My U.S. Business for EB-5 Visa? 

Yes, you can use your existing U.S. business for an EB-5 Visa investment, provided that the business meets the EB-5 program requirements. If your business was established after November 29, 1990, it can qualify as a new commercial enterprise. If it was established before that date, you must invest in a way that restructures or significantly expands the business, leading to a 40% increase in net worth or employee count.

Your investment should adhere to the minimum required amounts ($1.05 million, or $800,000 in a TEA) and must lead to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. These jobs should be above and beyond any pre-existing employment positions in the business.

Using an existing business can be an advantageous route as you’re already familiar with the operations and market dynamics. However, thorough documentation proving the investment, job creation, and source of funds is crucial.

Can I Change from E-2 Visa to EB-5 Visa? 

Transitioning from an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is possible, but it involves specific steps and considerations. While both visas are for investors, they have different purposes and requirements. The E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa allowing you to live and work in the U.S. based on a substantial investment, but it doesn’t provide a path to permanent residency.

To transition to an EB-5 Visa, you must make an investment that meets the EB-5 program requirements ($1.05 million or $800,000 in a TEA) and leads to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. If your E-2 business can accommodate this level of investment and job creation, it might be used for an EB-5 application.

You’ll need to file Form I-526, demonstrating your eligibility for the EB-5 program. Once approved, you can adjust your status to a conditional permanent resident if you’re already in the U.S., or apply for an immigrant visa if you’re abroad.

Switching from E-2 to EB-5 requires careful planning and compliance with both visa categories’ requirements. Professional guidance from an immigration attorney is highly recommended to navigate this process smoothly.