With the long delay in the processing of family-based and 3rd preference employment-based visas, a viable option for investors who want to immigrate to the U.S. fast is the EB-5 category.
Under this category, the investor can invest $500,000 and he and his family may obtain their conditional green cards in less than a year. The money must have been obtained through lawful means such as gift, loan, investment, sale of property or inheritance.
The EB-5 category was created in 1990 for those who could invest $1 million (or $500,000 under certain circumstances) in a new commercial enterprise that create at least 10 full-time jobs. 10,000 visas are allotted annually.
Initially, only a few availed of the benefit because of the restrictive requirements. In 1993, a pilot program was established which allowed more flexibility in complying with the requirements. This attracted more applicants.
The pilot program designated “regional centers” that could participate in the immigrant investor visa program. These regional centers are allotted 5,000 of the 10,000 EB-5 visas available. This program expires on September 30, 2008.
The regional centers currently approved by the USCIS to participate in the program are located in Pennsylvania, California, South Dakota, Washington, Louisiana, Vermont, Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa and Alabama.
“Regional centers” can satisfy the job creation requirement by counting not only the direct jobs created as a result of the investor’s investment but also indirect jobs created in related industries. This means that the investor does not have to hire 10 persons himself.
The investor is not required to manage his investment on a daily basis as he can be just a limited partner. As a limited partner, he will only be required to get involved in policy activities. There is also no requirement as to business training and experience or language skills.
To obtain the green card, the investor has to file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur and once it is approved, he is interviewed by a U.S. Consul abroad. If he is in the U.S. he may file for adjustment of status.
Upon passing the consular interview or the adjustment of status interview, the investor is granted a conditional green card for 2 years. To remove the condition, he must submit Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Condition about 3 months prior to the expiration of his green card. He will have to demonstrate that he has satisfied all the requirements of the investor program.
Editor’s Note: REUBEN S. SEGURITAN has been practicing law for over 30 years. For further information, you may call him at 212 695 5281 or log on to his website at http://www.seguritan.com/.