Investor Visa Options

On December 1, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Investor Visa Options under EB-5

The EB-5 visa is a federal program aimed at immigrant investors.  Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the visa provides immigrants the opportunity to obtain a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States.  Individuals who can invest $1,000,000 or at least $500,000 in a targeted employment area while creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers may be granted the EB-5 visa.

A foreign national whose petition is approved will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years.  The investor must provide evidence documenting the full investment and or jobs created and must be submitted in a timely fashion.

In 1992, Congress created a temporary pilot program designed to stimulate economic activity and job growth, while allowing eligible aliens the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents. Under this program, foreign nationals may invest in a pre-approved regional center, or “economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment.” Investments within a regional center provide foreign nationals the added benefit of allowing them to count jobs created both directly and indirectly for purposes of meeting the 10 job creation requirement.

The Startup Visa Act (projected EB-6 visa), introduced in Congress in 2010 and subsequently in 2011, is planning to use unallocated numbers from the EB-5 visa.

The program is limited to 10,000 visas annually. Potential Immigrant Investors are trading a preferred immigration status for a $500,000 investment and job creation in a rural area or a community with high unemployment.

The foreigner must invest the money in a United States enterprise that has received preliminary approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After a background check, the immigrant makes the investment and applies for a conditional green card, good for two years. If the investment meets program guidelines, the temporary green card is replaced by a permanent one.

The program’s beneficiaries not only include the Immigrant Investor but also economically depressed areas of the United States where there is desperate need of job creation.  The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC can assist with the EB-5 visa as well as all other immigration needs.

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