PERMANENT RESIDENCY (GREEN CARD) AND CITIZENSHIP – EB-5
WHAT IS EB-5?
EB-5 is usually often described as the most certain way to obtain green card and citizenship in the U.S. The underlying principle of this program is very straight forward: a foreign investor invests in the economy of the U.S. certain amount (min. $500,000), creates the required number of jobs (min. 10 jobs), and in return, the U.S. government grants a green card to the investor. While the principle of the program is very clear, a potential investor needs to be aware of the hidden rocks.
STAGE 1: LOCATING AN INVESTMENT PROJECT
Applicant is required to invest in an investment project.
It can be a project located in the Targeted Economic Area (TEA). In this case, the minimum investment amount is $500,000. If you invest outside of the TEA, the minimum investment is $1mln.
You can invest in your own investment project, or you can invest in one of the approved by USCIS regional investment centers (RIC). Regional investment centers pull the investors funds together and invest in one of the projects, manage and control the investors’ funds. If the project is successful, then the required number of jobs is created, and this enables the investor to obtain a permanent residency. Only RIC with the clear history record are recommended to be used by ALTAVIAM office. The right choice of the RIC is very important. There are many factors to be reviewed and evaluated by you and your attorney while choosing the RIC. RIC option is a good choice for the investor who does not want to be involved in day-to-day management of the project and be worried about creation of jobs and profitability of the project.
- Most regional investment centers work with the TEAs, and usually you can invest as minimum as $500,000 through a RIC.
- While investing in RIC you do not manage or control your investment.
- Return percent on your investment amount is very low or zero.
- The principal investment amount is usually returned to the investor within 5-6 years from the start of the project.
If you do not have your own investment project, we will be happy to locate investment projects for you with the approved regional centers. We only work with the regional centers who have a high success rate.
STAGE 2 – PETITION I-526 (IMMIGRANT PETITION BY ALIEN ENTREPRENEUR) SUBMISSION
After an investment project is located, a subscription agreement with the Regional Investment Center needs to be executed, if the investor chooses to use one of them.
I-526 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur) can be submitted and approved when the required investment amount has been actually transferred and made available for the investment (USCIS explained that a bank guarantee is not sufficient).
The funds availability condition is usually satisfied by using an escrow account. The escrow account will be usually opened by the RIC or attorney. The escrow account is opened in a U.S. bank. It is very important to negotiate the escrow agreement very carefully in order to ensure the return of the investment amount, in case if I-526 (Immigration Petition for Alien Entrepreneur) is denied by USCIS. ALTAVIAM Law Firm will provide a comprehensive legal support and negotiate the escrow account agreement to ensure that you get a maximum return in case if your petition I-526 petition is not approved.
Petition I-526 will be submitted through ALTAVIAM office in the U.S.
USCIS should send you a notice in the mail confirming a receipt of your petition within a few weeks. This is not a decision on Petition I-526 yet.
The current processing time for I-526 petitions is around 14 months. USCIS makes a decision whether to approve, deny petition or request additional evidence after that time. USCIS notifies the investor about its decision in the mail.
If I-526 is approved by USCIS, our office will notify RIC (if applicable) and you.
If I-526 is denied, the principal investment amount is returned to the investor minus administrative fees. The amount of administrative fees is different in each case. This aspect needs to be carefully negotiated if an investor is using RIC.
STAGE 3 – CONDITIONAL GREEN CARD.
If your I-526 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur) is approved this is a basis to receive a conditional green card. If you are in the U.S. – I-485 (Adjustment of Status Petition) can be submitted. If you are outside of the U.S., you would need to submit DS-230 to the local U.S. Consulate. Please consult an attorney before making a decision on how to apply for green card once I-526 is approved.
STAGE 4 – PERMANENT GREEN CARD AND CITIZENSHIP
90 days before the 2-year anniversary of receiving the conditional green card, you and your family can apply to remove the condition from your green card and obtain a permanent green card. I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status) is filed for this purpose. USCIS will approve I-829 only if the requirements to the investment are satisfied: minimum 10 jobs are created and the investment project is running and successful.
90 days before the expiration of the 5-year anniversary from the date when you obtained your first conditional green card, you can apply for the U.S. citizenship.