- What are the requirements to apply for EB-5 immigrant visa?
There are no special requirements placed upon investors, such as having a business background, age, level of education or language abilities. However, the most important requirement for the applicants is to be able to demonstrate their investment funds were obtained legally.
- What items or documents are needed to apply for an EB-5 immigrant visa?
All applicants need to prepare basic biographical information, identification documents, and recent tax returns and financial statements showing the origin of investment funds.
- Besides the $500,000 investment itself, what are the costs to file an EB-5 application?
In addition to $500,000 principle investment, the North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center charges a Service Fee. The Service Fee covers the cost to administrate the investment. These activities include, but are not limited to, investment document preparation to meet U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements, monitoring, reporting, and payment to other service providers. EB-5 investors must also pay for an immigration attorney, to insure the source of investment funds are well documented and petitions to the USCIS goes smoothly. Cost will vary depending on the legal counsels and time required to verify the source of investment funds.
- How long does it take an EB-5 immigrant visa applicant to obtain their conditional green card?
In most cases individuals will receive notification of their green card approval, 12 to 18 months after submitting their I-526. The USCIS is working to reduce the petition processing times to better serve EB-5 investors.
- How long do investors and immediate family members have to wait before they can become naturalized United States citizens and obtain U.S. passports?
Five years, starting from the date of initial entry with the EB-5 investor immigrant visa. Time spent with a conditional green card is credited towards the five-year lawful permanent residency requirement for U.S. citizenship, as long as the holders of conditional green cards meet U.S. citizenship residency requirements.
- What happens if the EB-5 application is rejected by the U.S. government?
The return of the principal investment, if an I-526 is denied, is dependent on each project structure and the related documents. Typically, you would be refunded your entire subscription amount and any interest attributed to your capital account while the funds were invested.
Green Card Common Questions
- What is a conditional green card?
A conditional green card is a temporary green card valid for two years. One year and nine months after it is issued, a three-month window opens up, during which an individual must file another application (I-829) with the USCIS to verify that all of the funds have been invested and employment has been created. When the conditional resident status has been lifted, full resident status is granted and a permanent green card is issued.
- What is the difference between conditional and unconditional green cards?
Under the regulations an investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa receives a conditional green card, which must be reissued after two years and is subject to removal of conditions. Otherwise, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.
- What are the benefits of the green card?
- Right to live anywhere in the U.S
- Ability to travel in and out of the U.S with respect to residency requirements.
- Ability to sponsor their spouse and unmarried children under 21 to obtain U.S. residency.
- Family members are able to retain the green card even if the sponsor dies.
- The U.S. has internationally-recognized schools and universities for primary, secondary, and higher education studies. As a U.S. resident, the green card holder can benefit from lower tuition costs.
- Students may work in the U.S. while they attend college, graduate, and postgraduate school. Upon graduating the individual is able to continue working in the U.S.
- Ability to work in any company located in the U.S. without the need of an employer sponsor or requirements such as job function or hours.
- Ability to start a business in the U.S.
- The cost of living in the U.S. is less than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and goods in most other countries.
- The U.S. provides many financial, social, and education entitlements such as public schools, health and medical attention, social security, and education.
- Green card holders have the ability to apply for U.S. citizenship.
- The unrestricted permanent residency requires no renewal or re-application. Other U.S. non- immigrant visas, such as E-2 and H, may never result in permanent residency, have time limits and require additional filings.
- What is the purpose of the Consulate application and interview?
Upon approval of I-526 petition, you must wait for notification from the U.S. consulate in your home country to prepare documents for the visa interview. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that the investor and his/her family undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visa is issued. At the interview, the consular officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 application, including asking the investor to summarize the nature of his/her immigrant investment. If the investor and his/her family are in the United States, then you may apply for adjustment of status by filing form I-485 and supporting documents, the application may be filed at the appropriate office of the USCIS.
- What is considered establishing U.S. residency?
After an investor receives the conditional green card from the U.S. overseas consular office, the first requirement is to enter into the U.S. within 180 days of the visa issuance from the consulate. There are a few exceptions to the 180 day rule such as students studying abroad, medical circumstances, or emergency business circumstances. The investor must then establish U.S. residency. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home.
- Who receives the green card?
The investors, their spouse, and any unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive permanent green cards. It is possible for adopted children to be included in the family. Upon approval, you will receive a form evidencing approval and a travel document. You should also receive a temporary green card in the mail. Once, your green card arrives, look at it carefully to insure the information is correct. Your green card is your most important identification and travel document.
- How long is a green card valid for?
There are several answers to this question. If you received your green card through investment (EB-5), you should have a conditional green card for two years. You must apply for removal of the conditional status within 90 days before the two years are up. Once that is approved, you have a regular unconditional, or permanent, green card. If you apply either too early or too late, you will have a problem and should consult with an immigration attorney for advice. If you do not have the conditions removed, the green card will become invalid at the end of two years and your permanent resident status will be terminated. Unconditional green cards are valid for ten years. This does not mean that after ten years, you stop being a legal permanent resident – only the card itself becomes invalid. You must apply for a new one using form I-90. Without a current green card, you cannot use the green card to travel out of the U.S. or evidence that you are permitted to work.
- Can my green card be taken away?
Once you receive a green card, there are two conditions required to keep it. First, you must not become removable or inadmissible. The most common way of doing this is to be convicted of a serious crime. The second requirement is that you must not abandon the U.S. as your place of permanent residence.
- What is considered abandonment of permanent residency?
Abandonment of permanent residency can occur for many various reasons for example when you move to another country intending to live there permanently, failure to file income tax returns while living outside of the U.S, and declaring yourself as a ‘nonimmigrant’ on your tax returns.
Most commonly issues with abandonment of permanent residency are a result of remaining outside of the U.S. for too long. The U.S. resident may work overseas if required based upon the nature of the business or profession. However, is a common misconception that in order to keep your green card all you need to do is enter the U.S once a year. The law provides that you are free to travel abroad, provided that your trip is temporary. The USCIS will look at your behavior for signs that your real place of residence is somewhere other than the U.S. The more common criterion is time based. There are numerous important time limits to consider:
- If you are absent for less than six months, you will rarely have a problem. It is up to USCIS to prove that you abandoned your residency.
- If you are absent for more than six months but less than a year, the burden of proof reverses. It becomes your job to prove that you are still a permanent resident. This is based on the concept that after an absence of more than six months, the various criteria for admissibility apply again. For instance, if in the meantime you had become inadmissible, say through an HIV infection, you might have a problem.
- If you are absent from the U.S. for more than a year, without obtaining a reentry permit or returning resident visa you will most likely forgo your green card.
- If you are absent from the U.S for more than two years after issuance to a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa you will forgo your green card.
- I need to travel out of the U.S. for more than a year. Is there anything I can do?
Remaining outside the U.S. for more than one year does not mean you have automatically given up your green card. If your absence was intended from the start to be only temporary, you may still keep your permanent resident status. However, you may no longer use your green card as a U.S. entry document. You must either apply at a U.S. consulate for a reentry permit or returning resident visa.d
You can apply for a re-entry permit (on form I-131) before you leave the U.S. The waiting time may be six months or longer for issuance; however, you may be able to depart before the permit is approved. Reentry permits are issued for two years. You cannot renew a reentry permit, but you can return to the U.S. for a short time and apply for a new one. The second such reentry permit will be granted for two years, but subsequent ones may only be approved for one year at a time.
- What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?
Once you obtain a green card and become a legal permanent resident, you have most of the rights and obligations of U.S. citizens, except that you cannot vote, and you are not entitled to some public benefits. You are subject to the same tax filing requirements and entitled to the same tax rates and deductions as U.S. citizens. One of the most important rights legal permanent residents possess is the right to obtain U.S. citizenship after five years.
There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen. One is by being born in the U.S. The other way is by naturalization. The first step in becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being a LPR for five years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is being physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the five years prior to the naturalization application. Once becoming a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits including the right to vote and hold public office.