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How Foreign Investors Can Use the EB-5 Visa to Emigrate to the USA

The EB-5 visa program allows foreign investors to become permanent residents in the USA. The scheme began in 1990. It was created to promote economic growth and encourage foreign investment in the economy. At present, there is an annual cap of 10,000 EB-5 visas issued each year. This means getting approval can be competitive. With that in mind, here is a brief guide to settling in the United States as a foreign investor.

What is the EB-5 Visa Program?

Foreign investors looking to devote between $500,000 and $1 million to a business in the USA can apply for an EB-5 visa. If you are an investor but are concerned that you cannot meet this threshold, this visa isn’t for you. However, you may still apply for other visa programs aimed at foreign investors. 

Those who apply for the EB-5 visa can work as individual investors. Otherwise, they may be part of a larger pool of people approved as a third-party intermediary. The program’s primary goal is to provide capital investment. Typically investments in rural environments with higher than average unemployment rates are favored. Investors can be categorized into different EB-5 visa tiers depending on their goals and capital.

Requirements for Applicants

As with other immigration visas in the United States, applicants need to meet conditions to be eligible. Firstly, applicants must be ready and willing to invest in a new commercial enterprise. This means that the investment opportunity must have been established after the 29th of November 1990. 

It is possible to qualify for the EB-5 visa if you plan on investing in an older organization. In this case, the contribution must lead to a significant increase in the entity’s net worth. Typically, the investment is characterized by an “at-risk” contribution of $1 million. This figure can be lowered to $500,000 if the investment is in a targeted employment area (where unemployment is at least 150% of the national average). 

How Long Does it Take to Get an EB-5 Visa?

The processing time for applications can vary significantly depending on your country of origin. The application can take anywhere from a couple of months to several years. 

This is similar to most visa application processes in the United States. However, applying for this visa is different from others in a few crucial areas. For example, you will not need to be sponsored by someone else as other immigrants to the US require. This is because you are investing your own capital already. However, there are few options to expedite the process. You will still need to wait until your priority date to proceed with the application.

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