The EB-5 visa program is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It offers foreign investors the opportunity to get a permanent green card by investing in approved EB-5 projects in the United States. Here is what happens to EB-5 investments during each stage of the EB-5 program:
Fulfilling Investment Requirements
To qualify for the EB-5 program, you must invest the minimum amount in a new commercial enterprise. The required amount is $1,050,000, or $800,000 if made in a target employment area (TEA). You must demonstrate that the investment can create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for US workers within two years. You must also invest at risk, meaning that your investment could either make or lose money at your expense.
Choosing a Project
If you qualify to participate in the program, you can begin looking at EB-5 projects to invest in. You can decide to invest directly as a standalone investor, or you can invest with a regional center. Regional centers can offer many projects to choose between and usually manage larger-scale projects, such as real estate developments. Conducting due diligence can help you make an informed investment with sufficient job creation potential.
Receiving a Conditional Green Card
To receive your conditional green card, you must file an I-526 or I-526E petition. After the USCIS approves your petition, you and your family will receive conditional green cards. These are valid for two years and allow you to live, work, and travel in the United States. During this time, the project you invested in is using your investment to further their development. The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) removed the requirement that you have to sustain your investment through the conditional residence period. You now only need to maintain your investment for two years as long as you meet the job creation requirement in this timeframe.
Completing I-829 Petition To Remove Conditions
To remove the conditions on your green card and obtain permanent residency, you are required to file an I-829 petition three months before your conditional green card expires. You must prove that you sustained your investment for two years and met the job creation requirement. If you invested with a regional center, they can provide this proof. If you haven’t received your investment before filing the I-829 application, you can ask your regional center if you are eligible to receive your original investment at this point.
Understanding Investment Repayment
Because of the changes outlined in the RIA, you may receive your original investment if it was sustained for two years and you met the job creation requirement. No repayment is guaranteed because the investment must remain at risk while in the program. Returns may also be offered at a moderate percentage because the purpose of an EB-5 investment is to obtain a green card rather than make a high return. This does not mean that it isn’t possible to get high returns from your investment. After receiving your original investment, you can:
- Retain the investment: If you are happy with the returns you are seeing, you may be able to retain your investment.
- Liquidate the investment: This means you sell your ownership interest and receive a lump sum of cash.
- Reinvest the funds: You can also take your investment repayment and invest it into a different project or investment opportunity.
Investing in EB-5 Projects for Immigrant Visas
EB-5 investments fund USCIS-approved EB-5 projects that benefit the US economy. They must remain at risk and create 10 full-time jobs to meet the EB-5 requirements. After sustaining your investment for two years, you may be eligible for investment repayment. You can choose to liquidate your investment, retain the investment, or invest the money into a different project. Invest in a qualified EB-5 project that meets your goals and begin working towards US permanent resident status today.