For foreigners in a position to come to the United States with a significant sum of money, investor visas are one option for entry into the country. However, the EB-5 investor visa can be costly. Those able to invest at least $500,000 in rural areas, or upwards of $1 million in a business opportunity likely to create at least 10 jobs in other parts of the U.S. can file an I-526 petition for an investor visa. If the investment project proves to be a success, the applicant generally receives their green card.
The EB-5 Application Process
The EB-5 program was launched in 1990 with the goal of stimulating the economy and creating jobs. Foreign-born investors seeking to invest in American business opportunities can file an I-526 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, the applicant can then apply for a visa with the State Department.
This visa offers the investor permanent residence, on the condition they meet EB-5 program requirements. After the investment takes off, the investor may receive his or her green card.
This entire process takes around two years on average. Typically, the investor’s spouse and unmarried children are also eligible for residency under the EB-5 program.
EB-5 Program Statistics
The United States government offers no more than 10,000 EB-5 green cards per fiscal year. No more than seven percent of these can come from a single country. Residents of countries included in the current administration’s travel ban, including Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, are not permitted to apply.
In fiscal year 2016, the largest portion of petitions came from mainland China, with Vietnam and India coming in next. Because of the seven percent cap on applications from a single country, China is currently experiencing an enormous backlog of petitions.
The EB-5 program has grown in popularity in response to increasingly stringent immigration policies under the current administration. More residents of India, especially computer programmers, are opting to go the EB-5 route, because the process to obtain a green card through employee sponsorship can take upwards of a decade.
For men and women with the financial means, the EB-5 is a much faster route to citizenship. Immigration experts have seen a 60 percent increase in interest in the EB-5 program, as the approval rates for this visa are much higher than alternative options.
Economic Impact of the EB-5 Program
The EB-5 program has a significant impact on the United States economy. Between 2014 and 2015 it generated more than $11.2 billion in capital investment in projects across the nation. During that time, four percent of private sector job growth – more than 207,000 jobs – was created by the investment visa program.
Opponents of the program say lax protections open the door to fraud. They point to several lawsuits involving multi-million-dollar investments accepted on behalf of foreigners that were misspent or outright stolen.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Represent Clients Seeking Investor Visas
If you believe you may be a suitable candidate for an investor visa, contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. We ensure your petition is complete and accurate to improve your chances of approval.
To discuss investor visas and other paths to citizenship, schedule a consultation today. Call 215-925-4435 or submit an online contact form to get started. Based in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including those in Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, Prospect Park, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County.