Investment Green Cards – Made Easy
At the present time, for a US Permanent Residence application through investment, we are still looking at the $1 Million dollar investment or the $500,000 exception for Targeted Employment Areas designated by the government, known as TEAs, which are generally in rural areas or economically depressed areas. There are ways to invest lower amounts into businesses in the US, however, they relate to obtaining non-immigrant visas and do not automatically lead to green cards. A detailed discussion with an immigration attorney is necessary to determine all legal avenues available to you and to develop a correct plan of action for you.
In relation to the Investment based Immigration Visa, leading to the Green Card in an expeditious way, the process is as follows:
- Choosing an Investment:
The Foreign investor needs to evaluate whether the investment will be in a private business or in a Regional Center Project. The difference between these two types of investment is mainly in control over the investment. In a private business investment, the foreign investor will be directly involved in the management and control of the business whereas in the Regional Center projects, the foreign investor’s funds are merged with many other investors’ funds and they are invested in a project and managed by a completely separate entity.
Both investments must be “new” business formations under the immigration laws and must create 10 jobs within 2 years of the investment for each investor involved. There is also a scenario of purchasing a “troubled business”, a bit more complex, where the focus will be on the development and growth of the failing business and the growth of jobs beyond the existing jobs.
It is to be noted that in all scenarios, the law requires that the funds invested be “at risk”. The US government’s goal is for the funds to be invested into a business enterprise to generate business and help improve the economy. As such, purchasing a real estate rental property which generates income is not considered an “at risk” investment and in addition, it will be hard to prove it will create 10 jobs.
Our office can provide assistance in hiring independent migration business agencies as well as auditing securities and investment professionals for investors to locate investment opportunities and perform due diligence prior to making their final decision regarding the investment. Many specialized professionals have developed an expertise of reviewing Regional Center projects. They can provide a report to the prospective Investor so that the Investor can make an informed decision regarding which project may be “viable” and most appropriate for them.
- Making the Investment:[margin20]A. In case of a Regional Center Project:
- Foreign Investor reviews the offering material provided by the Regional Center and if approves, executes agreements
- Foreign Investor’s funds are placed into an escrow account
- Immigration attorney prepares and files the I-526 Petition with all documentation
- If Approved, Funds are release to the project[margin20]B. In case of a private business investment:
- Set up of new business is implemented including start-up of entities, leases, contracts
- Business model, business plan and corporate structure is formulated with assistance of professionals
- Economic forecasting and business marketing plans are prepared
- Purchases of necessary materials, hiring of necessary staff are started
- Immigration attorney prepares and files the I-526 petition with all documentation
- If approved, Foreign investor continues to oversee operations and growth of business
- Approval and Conditional Green Card:
As of the time of the writing of this article, USCIS is taking approximately 12-18 months to process the I-526 petition (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur). The processing time, unfortunately has become longer for these petitions in the past year. Although we do hope that once the new exclusive EB-5 processing center is well established in DC, the processing times will be shortened.
Once an approval is received, the Foreign Investor applies for a temporary 2 year Green Card at a consulate, if residing outside the US at the time, or if in the US, through an adjustment of status application. Upon approval, Investor receives a conditional permanent residence status (a 2 year green card).
- Permanent Green Card:
Within 21-24 months of receiving the conditional Green Card, Investor will file a form I-829, to remove the conditions from his temporary Green Card status. At this venture, Investor needs to prove that in fact the investment was made and maintained in the amount required and the minimum 10 qualifying jobs were created and maintained. The business financial documents and personnel records are reviewed by USCIS along with the I-829, and if approved, the Investor receives the Permanent Green Card/ Residence.
Note: There are many other details and intricacies of the law that must be checked and addressed for each individual case. The above is an overview of the EB-5 Investment process and meant as an Introduction. For a detailed discussion or for a review of your individual case, please call or email us for a free initial consultation.