Second Citizenship

January 15, 2024

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EB‑5 Visa: requirements, costs and obtaining process

The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program is the way to acquire permanent residency with a minimum capital of $800,000. If meeting EB‑5 visa requirements, investors and their immediate family members can get a US Green Card quickly.

What are the benefits of an EB‑5 visa, and how to manage the risks of denial while applying for it? Read along to find out.

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Explained the popularity of EB‑5 visa and how to get it

EB5 visa requirements

EB-5 Visa: requirements, costs and obtaining process

What is EB‑5 Investment Visa?

The EB-5 Investor Visa Program was created in 1990 to allow foreign investors to become legal permanent residents of the US. Simply put, investing in a US business can secure your Green Card. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, runs the EB-5 Visa Program.

Investors can either make an EB‑5 direct investment in a specific business that creates 10 local jobs or work with an approved Regional Center. This licensed body pools funds from EB‑5 participants to invest and create jobs on their behalf.

Once you file the EB‑5 visa application, the immigration process runs alongside the investment one. The Regional Сentre approves applications if investors fulfil investments and create jobs. The project’s success does not influence issuing of the Green Card but still matters in case of investment return.

How to get a US immigrant visa as an investor and move a step closer to a Green Card

Benefits and pitfalls of the EB‑5 Investor Visa to the US

Benefits. The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program leads to permanent residency status — a Green Card allowing investors and their family members to live, work, and study in the US.

An investor who meets all the EB‑5 visa requirements successfully has a clear pathway to becoming a US citizen.

Other benefits of an EB‑5 investment visa are the following:

  • participation of individuals from any country;

  • the USA is one of the most desirable business and lifestyle destinations worldwide;

  • an efficient route to gaining a Green Card — permanent residency;

  • ability to include a spouse and unmarried children under 21;

  • no requirements of experience or specific language proficiency;

  • citizenship is possible after five years of residence with a Green Card.

Pitfalls are connected with the risks of denial and losing money if the project fails. But these two parts are separated. You can receive a visa even if you don’t get back the money from the investment project and vice versa.

Disadvantages of participation in the EB‑5 Program:

  • the EB‑5 investment amount is significant and requires either an $800,000 or $1,050,000 investment, depending on the region;

  • tricky or impossible participation of individuals under US sanctions;

  • difficulties with researching business and projects in the US when faced with possible cultural and legal differences.

Who can participate in the EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program

Any person over 18 without criminal records and having legal income can apply for the EB‑5 investment visa, regardless of nationality. The US immigration law does not contain any specific country as an exemption.

At the same time, the USCIS office can exercise complete discretion in processing immigration papers. It may influence EB‑5 processing time for individuals from certain countries considering US sanctions.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can participate in the EB‑5 Program together with investors.

The EB‑5 visa investor must meet physical presence requirements during the 2-year conditional residency period and is not permitted to spend more than one year outside the US.

EB‑5 visa requirements: the minimum investment amount and expenses

To meet the EB‑5 eligibility criteria, the applicants must make a qualifying investment in a US business and create employment for US workers.

There are two investment options to choose from to meet the EB‑5 visa requirements:

  • $800,000 into a rural area or an area with high unemployment — target employment area project;

  • $1,050,000 into a non-targeted employment area project.

The money must stay invested for the next 5—7 years after the successful candidates have been issued a conditional Green Card.

The main source of EB‑5 funding could be home and company equity, property sales, profit distribution, accumulation of income, salary and bonuses.

Further contributions in case of joining the family members are not required. The administrative fee and immigration stamp duty are also the same for single investors or applying with a family.

EB‑5 visa costs for the family are the following:

  • $800,000+ or $1,050,000+ — the minimum investment amount;

  • $70,000 — an administrative fee;

  • $1,000 — a registration fee;

  • $3,675 — a legal fee for submitting an I‑526E petition for the EB‑5 visa, per family;

  • $1,225 — an application fee for a Conditional Green Card per person over 14;

  • $750 or $1,140 — an application fee for a Conditional Green Card per person under 14;

  • $3,750 — a legal fee for submitting an I‑829, per family;

  • $560+ — health insurance per person.

Investors pay immigration lawyer legal fees, depending on the individual case.

Individual cost calculation of the US EB-5 visa

Individual cost calculation of the US EB-5 visa

Documents required to apply for an EB‑5 visa

In addition to the usual personal and financial papers, the requisite documentation includes medical reports, vaccination records, certified police clearance certificates, and any court records the applicant may have.

The project documentation for regional centres must include the following:

  1. Evidence that the participant has invested in a designated regional centre according to the approved regional centre business plan.

  2. Evidence, if applicable, that the business has been established in a targeted employment area.

  3. Evidence that investors’ investment in the regional centre will create at least 10 direct or indirect full-time jobs.

Personal and financial documentation is accepted if it contains the following records:

  1. Copy of passports of investors and family members.

  2. Birth, marriage and divorce certificates.

  3. Evidence that the investor has invested or is in the process of investing $1,050,000 or $800,000.

  4. Certified copies of any judgement, pending governmental civil or criminal actions, or private civil actions against the petitioner from any court in or outside the U.S. within the past 15 years.

  5. Proof of Business Ownership.

  6. Copy of any business licences.

  7. Business and personal tax returns for the last 7 years.

  8. Bank statements for the last 7 years.

  9. Evidence of other sources of capital.

  10. Financial Statements for each business.

  11. Evidence that the investment funds were obtained through lawful means.

EB‑5 Visa timeline

Applications for the EB‑5 Program must be made through the prescribed forms and be accompanied by the appropriate fees and documents. On average, applicants receive their initial Conditional Green Cards in 3—4 years.

The filing for the Conditional Green Card to be converted into a regular Green Card is done two years later.

Vladlena Baranova

Vladlena Baranova,

Lawyer, AML Compliance officer, certified CAMS specialist

The first step toward the EB-5 visa timeline is to file a petition form I-526 for direct investors or I-526E for Regional Centers investors. The process duration varies from one country to another due to the applicant’s country of birth. The total term for obtaining the conditional Green Card is about 5—6 years.

To reduce the EB‑5 processing time, our lawyers ensure applicants follow regulations and submit documents correctly. The Immigrant Invest lawyers provide you with valuable advice during this process and assist in making sure everything is up to standard.

Furthermore, when you complete 21 months after receiving the Green Card, you become eligible to file the I‑829 form. It is a petition to remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, which takes about 2—3 years to complete. If the petition is approved, you will get your permanent Green Card.

EB5 waiting time

While the petition I-526E is being considered, an investor can file for a Green Card on the basis of their valid non-immigrant status, like a work or student visa. Then the applicant can stay in the US based on the pending Green Card application

How to obtain an EB-5 Visa

Investors are allowed to make their applications without the assistance of a lawyer. Significant documentation, processing, and a large amount of capital are required. An Immigrant Invest lawyer will help you navigate the obtaining process and reduce the risk of denial.

1

1 day

Immigrant Invest’s Due Diligence

Before concluding an agreement with an immigration lawyer, the Anti Money Laundering Officer conducts its own Preliminary Due Diligence to identify risks of failure and find a solution.

2

2 weeks

Choosing the investment project

There are specialised EB‑5 businesses that allow applicants to invest in approved projects. The investor must complete the transaction through an EB‑5 Regional Center.

3

2 weeks

Collection of documents

Any documents containing a foreign language submitted to USCIS must be accompanied by a full English translation certified as complete and accurate by the translator.

4

1 week

Fulfilment investment conditions

  • $800,000 into a rural area or an area with high unemployment — target employment area project;

  • $1,050,000 into a non-targeted employment area project.

5

Submission of documents for an EB-5 visa

To obtain a visa, the investor submits a petition on Form I‑526E. It is an application for participation in the EB‑5 program, and supporting documents must be applied.

The investor will submit documents to the US consulate in the country of citizenship or the USCIS migration service in the US.

$70,000 is an administrative fee, and $3,675 + $1,000 for a family is a stamp duty.


6

3—4 years

Application approval

The US Migration Service reviews the applicant’s documents for an EB‑5 visa from three to four years. At this time, the investor and his family can move to the US and wait for the approval of the application.

7

6 months

Filing an DS-260 or I-485 application for a Conditional Green Card

Investors go to the US Embassy for interviews (Form DS‑260) if they are outside the US. The NVC will notify you of the location and time of the interview and the documents you should bring.

$345 per person to start the filing, and $325 per person for production of Green Card.

If you are already in the US, instead of applying at a US Embassy, you must petition for adjustment of status (Form I‑485) with the USCIS.

$1,225 is a Green Card application per person over 14.

$750 or $1,140 per person under 14.

8

3—4 years

Obtaining a permanent Green Card

After 21 months after the petition’s approval under the EB‑5 program, the investor is eligible to receive a US Green Card or permanent residence. They file an I‑829 petition to the USCIS to remove restrictions on obtaining permanent resident status.

$3,750 and $85 for submitting biometrics per person.

Alternative investment routes to travel to and work in the US

Some countries in the Middle East, Europe and the Caribbean have citizenship investment routes with the opportunity to travel, live and work in the US. For example, investors with Turkey passports get B‑1/B‑2 Visitor Visas and E‑2 Business Visas to the US.

Malta citizens travel to the US without a visa. Foreigners get Malta passports by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. First, investors apply for Malta residency and maintain their status for 1 or 3 years. Only after that they submit documents for a passport.

Foreigners couldn’t choose among investment options. Each investor followed the same participation rules and fulfilled three mandatory investment conditions:

  1. Contribute to The National Development and Social Fund — €600,000 or 750,000.

  2. Donate to a non-governmental organisation — €10,000.

  3. Buy or rent residential real estate for 5 years — €700,000 for purchase, or €16,000 per year if renting a property.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Grenada citizens qualify for an E‑2 visa to the USA, allowing them to live and work there. Applicants establish or buy a business in the United States.

The minimum investment amount isn’t set, but at least $100,000 is usually required. Most foreigners can apply only for an EB‑5 visa, which requires at least $800,000 of business investment.

To acquire Grenada citizenship, investors choose one of two available investment options:

  1. Non-refundable contribution to the National Transformation Fund — $150,000+ for a single applicant or $200,000+ for a family.

  2. Government-approved real estate purchase — $220,000. The investment can be returned in 5 years.

Under the Grenada Citizenship Program, requirements for investors don’t include language proficiency tests, history exams or visiting the country. The procedure of obtaining a passport is entirely remote and takes quite a short time.

Individual cost calculation of the Grenada citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Grenada citizenship

Summary

  1. The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program allows qualified investors to obtain permanent residency in the US by investing in projects that create at least 10 full-time jobs.

  2. Investors can apply through EB‑5 direct investment or approved regional centres.

  3. The EB‑5 Program doesn’t contain a direct pass to US citizenship but gives a real opportunity to apply for an American passport in 5 years with permanent residency status.

  4. EB‑5 applicants can include a spouse and unmarried children under 21.

  5. The EB‑5 investment can be returned in 5—7 years. But there is no guarantee that the project will be successful and that investors will get the money back.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

Will you obtain a EB-5 visa to the USA?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a EB-5 visa to the USA?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the EB-5 Visa Program?

    The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program leads to permanent residency status — Green Card allowing investors and their family members to live, work, and study in the US.

    There are two investment options to choose from to meet the EB‑5 visa requirements:

    • $800,000 into a rural area or an area with high unemployment — target employment area project;

    • $1,050,000 into a non-targeted employment area project.

    Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can participate in the EB‑5 Program together with investors.

  • How much does EB-5 cost?

    In addition to the main investment of $800,000 or $1,050,000, there are other additional EB‑5 visa costs. The add-ons include administration fees of $70,000, petitions filing fees of $3,675 and $1,000 for family, legal fees, relocation expenses, and document translation charges.

  • What are the requirements for EB-5?

    There are two investment options to choose from to meet the EB‑5 visa requirements:

    • $800,000 into a rural area or an area with high unemployment — target employment area project;

    • $1,050,000 into a non-targeted employment area project.

    In addition to the usual personal and financial papers, the requisite documentation includes medical reports, vaccination records, certified police clearance certificates, and any court records the applicant may have.

  • How many jobs need to be created according to the EB-5 Visa?

  • Is EB-5 risky?

    The money invested in an EB‑5 enterprise must be at risk under US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations. A project that offers a guaranteed return on investment does not adhere to this rule. There is no guarantee that the project will be successful and that the applicant will receive income.

    Working with an established EB‑5 company with a mutual interest is one of the best methods to reduce the risk of loss.

  • How many EB-5 visas can the US government issue each year?

    The EB‑5 visa is granted on a quota basis. The US government allocates 10,000 places per year to investors and their families. Not everyone is able to meet the quota: investors can wait several years for their turn for a place on the quota.

  • How long is an EB-5 visa valid?

    Two years. The investor and their family members can live and work in the US. During the 2-year conditional residency period, the EB‑5 visa investor will be required to fulfil physical presence requirements and cannot remain outside the US for more than one year.

  • Can an EB-5 investor immigrate to the US with their family?

    Yes. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can participate in the EB‑5 Program together with investors. Further contributions in case of joining the family members are not required. The administrative fee and immigration stamp duty are also the same for single investors or applying with a family.