1. What is an EB-5 Visa?

The U.S. Congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category in the Immigration Act of 1990 for qualified foreigners seeking to invest in a business that will benefit the U.S. economy and create or save at least 10 full-time jobs. 5,000 of the 10,000 visas available in this category are allotted to investors who participate in an EB-5 program who focus on low employment areas, i.e programs found on the AAA Senior Center website.

2. What type of previous business experience or education is required to participate in the EB-5 Visa program?

Foreign investors who are interested in applying for a visa through the EB-5 immigration program do not need to have previous business experience in order to qualify. Foreign investors also do not have to have a minimum level of education or certain certifications. The main requirement for investors to qualify for the programs to have the minimum financial means set by the USCIS; $1 million for investment in a new or established business located in areas with a stable economy and $500,000 for investments in a USCIS approved area with a low employment rate.

3. Is the potential investor required to speak English?

No, speaking English is not a requirement for any potential foreign investor interested in applying for the EB-5 Visa Category program. Those interested in applying, however, should consult an English speaking legal counsel who specializes in immigration law before contacting USCIS. This counsel can help translate all requirements and needs of the EB-5 program. This counsel can also help translate all documentation to English, one of the EB-5 program requirements. When the investor is going through the application process, USCIS will provided translation services if the applicant does not have one available.

4. Does the potential investor have to be health?

Yes, it is important the potential investor be in good health standings. All family members of the investor who will also apply through the EB-5 program via the same investment should also be in good physical and mental health. This also means applicants and should not have diseases or disorders that may pose a potential issue to society members.

8. WHAT IS A "CONDITIONAL" GREEN CARD VERSUS A "UNCONDITIONAL" GREEN CARD?

The only difference to a "conditional" green card and an "unconditional" green card is the former is provided to investors who are approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa program. These can be reissued to the investor after two years if needed. All other factors of the two green cards are the same.

9. WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A "CONDITIONAL" GREEN CARD?

All applicants and their direct family members who are investing for a green card via the EB-5 program are subject to a "conditional" permanent residency for two years after USCIS approval. 90-days or less prior to the second anniversary of the foreigner's granting of permanent resident status, a petition to remove these "conditions" must be submitted. This business will be inspected by the INS and to assure the investment meets all necessary requirements.

10. WHY DO I HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN A CONSULATE APPLICATION AND INTERVIEW AFTER MY I-526 IS ACCEPTED BY USCIS, AND HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO GET A GREEN CARD?

The U.S. Consulate in your country of origin will contact you when your I-526 is approved requesting you start preparing documentation for the Visa interview. During this part of the process the investor and all family members applying for residency will undergo medical, police, security and immigration screenings prior to receiving the conditional resident visas. The consulate officer will discuss any topics that arise from these screenings and the I-526 application during the interview. He or she will also as for a description of the nature of the desired investment. If the foreigner and family members are in the U.S. at the time of this meeting, pending approval they can fill out a I-485 and additional supporting documentation, and apply for adjustment of status at a designated USCIS office.

13. ARE MY FAMILY MEMBERS ALLOWED TO COMPLETE THE INTERVIEW PROCES IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES?

Yes, family members are able to complete the interview process in a different country than the United States. Generally this interview takes place in the family’s native country or where the family resided at the time of the original application. Typically one or more family member, for instance a child attending a university in the United States, is in a different country. The student outside of their native country can attend the interview in the United States at the USCIS district office.

14. WHAT FAMILY MEMBERS ARE ABLE TO RECEIVE PERMANENT RESIDENCY?

Any spouse or unwed child under the age of 21 related to the investor is able to attain permanent resident status. It is plausible an adopted child could also be included in this list of possible recipients. Family members will receive a form with proof of approval and travel documentation, and temporary visas will be sent in the mail.

16. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POTENTIAL ISSUES I MIGHT ENCOUNTER WHEN APPLYING FOR AN EB-5 VISA?

Inadequate documentation for the source of the investment capital is one of the primary reasons for issues when applying for the EB-5 Visa program. Potential investors commonly provide too little information surrounding the source and are responded to with an inquiry for more information and have their EB-5 application dealyed. The best option is to provide as much possible documentation up front. Given the recent spike in terrorism and money-laundering, USCIS holds high standards in reviewing history on EB-5 investment funding.

17. WHAT LENGTH OF TIME PER YEAR ARE EB-5 PARTICIPANTS REQUIRED TO SPEND IN THE UNITED STATES?

EB-5 investors are required to enter the United States and establish residency within 180 days of acquiring a visa from their U.S. Consulate. Investors can provide proof residency within U.S. boundaries by opening bank accounts, contacting necessary agencies to attain a social security number and driver's license, spending income on state or federal taxes, leasing or purchase of a home. A foreigner with permanent residency is offered the right to work out of U.S. boundaries if the work relates to their business or career. However, the minimum amount permanent residents are required to be in the U.S. is 6 months or less a year or their immigration status will be considered abandoned.

18. HOW DO THE PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS AND A CITIZENSHIP STATUS DIFFER?

When someone attains a permanent residency status, also known as a green card or visa, they are granted nearly all rights as well as responsibilities natural-born U.S. residents possess. The only difference is foreign residents cannot vote and are not awarded certain public benefits. As far as U.S. resident responsibilities, foreign residents are required to file taxes following the standard tax rates and reductions.

22. WHAT COUNTRIES ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE EB-5 VISA PROGRAM?

There are only a few cases in which residents of a certain country are not able to participate, i.e. North Korea. Citizens of those countries are generally allowed to leave the prohibited country and apply for the program through legal counsel which can help the applicant qualify. Consult a legal counsel if you think your country is excluded from eligibility from the EB-5 Visa Category.

23. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE AN "ESCROW" ACCOUNT?

A bank account is considered an Escrow account if it is a legal, interest-bearing account at a recognized bank. Escrow accounts are frequently used for large sales, i.e. property, real estate or businesses. Your funds will be placed in an escrow account until approval by the USCIS to real ease funds to the EB-5 Regional Center.

27. WHAT DOES ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS AND CONSULAR PROCESSING MEAN?

When the EB-5 participant gets and approval on their I-526 petition, the investor and family members 21 years or older can apply for a conditional lawful permanent resident status, CLPR. Investors do not always receive their CLPR admission when their I-526 petition is approved. The I-526 permit approval merely deems the investor an alien entrepreneur so they can then apply for the EB-5 program.

28. WHAT IS CONSULAR PROCESSING?

The consular process was created for foreigners who live out of the United States and want to go through the application process with a consulate for any number of reasons. These reasons could be strategic, or it could just be out of convenience. 

29. ADMISSION TO THE UNITED STATES AFTER INVESTING, FILING THE I-526 OR DURING CONSULAR PROCESSING

The allowance of non-immigrant or foreign visitors to the United States is dependent on their ability to prove the travel has an end date. Once an EB-5 participant has paid their project funds, it may be difficult to portray a non-immigrant intent because the it now seems they are attempting to establish legal permanent resident status. Prior to filing the I-526 or applying for the consulate interview within U.S. borders, investors should consult a legal counsel to establish methods of acquiring a temporary (non-immigrant) admission to the U.S. after making the investment.

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