Practical Guide to Getting Started
- U.S. Permanent Residency (Green Card) Through Investment EB-5. There are essentially two options. The most direct and assured route to permanent residency is through a qualified investment, under what is commonly referred to as the EB-5 program.
EB-5 is the fifth employment-based preference visa. This category was created by Congress in 1990 in the hopes that the foreign investment would benefit the U.S. economy.
EB-5 program has no requirements as to age (except that you must be at least 21 years of age), language skills, level of education, or business experience.
Investors through the EB-5 program need not to be continuously physically present in the U.S. They are permitted to travel and maintain their business and professional relations in their country of origin.
- The Benefits of a “Green Card” Are Obvious
The opportunity to live and work anywhere in the U.S.
2. The ability to travel outside of the U.S. and return without a visa.
3. Education benefits such as admission to state universities at lower resident tuition rates.
4. The opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after 5 years.
5. Conferral of all of the above benefits, and many others, to one’s spouse and children.
- EB-5 Application Process The investor engages our law firm, and wire transfers a $35,000 retainer to our office. This money is placed in an attorney trust account, from which all application fees and related expenses are paid.
We prepare and file an I-526 application form.
We apply for an OFAC license, which is necessary to enable investors from certain countries to transfer investment money into the United States. In order to get an OFAC license, an investor must declare the source of his/her money, showing that it was legally obtained (earned from legitimate businesses and investments).
An individual is considered to be an accredited investor if he/she has a net worth of at least one million dollars, or has made at least $200,000 USD annually ($300,000 with spouse and children) for the past two years.
There are two options for EB-5 investors.
Option 1: The investor can invest a minimum of 1 million dollars in a U.S. commercial business. The investment can be in a new business or an existing business. If the latter, that existing business must have been established after 1990. The investor can invest and live in any state of his/her choice. Investor can choose whether or not to work in the business of his investment, but the investment must create jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, directly or indirectly, for at least 2 years. Family members cannot be counted among the qualifying employees.
Option 2: The investor can invest a minimum of $500,000 in a government-approved investment project. These investment projects are referred to as Regional Center Investment Projects. In this case the investor is a passive investor, merely buying shares in the project approved by the Department of Homeland Security.
Regardless of which option you choose, your investment is not free of risk. The second option, however, does come with the security of knowing that The Department of Homeland Security conducts an investigation into both the viability and management of every Regional Center project before approval, in order to minimize the risk of failure. Furthermore, most Regional Centers are owned by large fund companies and, in the event that one Regional Center business fails, an investor’s funds can likely be transferred to another investment project (subject to USCIS approval) at no cost to the investor.
There are also provisions in the regulations permitting an investor to obtain unconditional permanent residency, even if the business fails or ten jobs are not created, as long as the investor can demonstrate good faith.
To date, no Regional Center EB-5 businesses have failed.
The investor chooses his/her investment, whether it be one of the Regional Center Investment Projects, or an independent investment. Regardless, our office strongly recommends that the investor consult with an independent business advisor before committing funds to any venture.
After the I-526 petition has been approved, the investor will receive a notification of immigrant visa availability from a U.S. embassy/consulate. A visa is normally approved and issued at the interview. Immigrant visas are valid for 180 days. The investor and family must enter the U.S. within this time period. Upon arrival, the investor and his/her family become conditional U.S. permanent resident aliens.
- Our Professional Fees for EB-5 Processing Our office offers potential clients three options:
- All legal work is performed at the rate of $300 per hour. 2. We charge a fixed fee in the amount of $75,000. This amount includes the $35,000 retainer. It also includes all attorneys’ traveling expenses in and outside the U.S. 3. We charge a fixed fee in the amount of $95,000, which includes the $35,000 retainer and all traveling expenses in and outside the U.S. For this fee, the investor is guaranteed to obtain his permanent residency (absent some wrongdoing on the part of the investor), or all professional fees will be refunded within 45 days of the denial of the petition.
You may contact the office representative, Mr. Firouz Soltani, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-554-7720. You may also directly contact our immigration attorney with any questions or concerns. However, a $2,000 deposit is required prior to the initial consultation. This consultation fee would be credited to your fee if you engage our firm to process your EB-5 case.
- E-2 Investor Visa The E-2 investor visa is a non-immigrant visa which permits foreign investors to live and work in the United States. The investor is required to travel to the U.S. to develop and manage the operations of an enterprise in which the investor has invested. The investor must own more than 50% of the enterprise. There is no statutory minimum amount of investment, but $250,000 would be a realistic threshold.
The E-2 investor visa has strict requirements. Before investing your money, you should consult an experienced investor visa lawyer to ensure your potential business investment qualifies for the investor visa.
The visa must be renewed every other year, but there is no limit to how many times one can renew. Investor visas are available only to treaty nations. Iran is a treaty nation.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may receive an E-2 visa.
Spouses many seek employment in the U.S. Children under 21 cannot apply for work.
- Our Professional Fees for E-2 Visa Processing Our office charges $300 per hour.