Immigration Law

Michael B. Dye is a former U.S. diplomat who has worked for the United States Government in various locations around the world for over 10 years. He has great experience working in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

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EB-5 Visa Consultation

Are you planning to apply for an EB-5 "Immigrant Investor" Visa? You will need all the legal help you can get. Find out how our firm offers complete assistance on the EB-5 Visa application process.

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Resources

It is important to know everything you need to know about the EB-5 Program as it is an Immigrant Visa. Here is a collection of the most important information you'll need regarding the EB-5 Visa program.

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EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa is a Visa which is given to Immigrant Investors looking to come to the United States. The visa was created as a part of the Immigration Act which was passed in 1990, and can be used as a way to obtain the right to stay in the USA and get their green card. This visa is aimed at foreign nationals that plan to invest a large amount of money in businesses and high unemployment areas of the USA.

Who Can Get The EB-5 Visa

In order to be eligible for the EB-5 visa, a person must invest one million dollars in the United States, or invest at least five hundred thousand dollars in a "Target Employment Area". For the purposes of applying for the visa, a Target Employment Area is a rural area or an area where there is high unemployment. The applicant must also be able to prove that they have created or preserved at least ten jobs which will go to U.S. workers. The applicant themselves and their immediate family do not count for the purposes of tracking the number of jobs created or preserved by the investor.

During the early days of the EB-5 program, the investor was asked to create a completely new commercial venture. This requirement was changed under the Pilot Program, and now the investor can choose to invest their money into any job-creating commercial enterprise, whether that is a new company or an existing business that is struggling and in need of investment.

After the foreign national has their investor's petition approved, they will be granted leave to remain in the USA, however this permanent residence grant is conditional on investment and job creation targets being met. This initial residence grant will be valid for two years, and extends to the foreign nationals' family. They will be required to submit evidence proving that they have fulfilled their required investment target before their permanent residence grant expires. They will also have to prove that they have created and maintained ten jobs, or that the jobs will be created within a reasonable period of time.

The EB-5 Pilot Program

As a part of the pilot program for the EB-5 visa, congress approved a system which would allow foreign nationals to invest in a regional center that has been pre-approved. The pilot scheme accepts investments into public or private economic units which are classed as being "involved with the promotion of economic growth". Investors who work with regional centers can count jobs that were created both directly and indirectly as part of their ten job requirement.

The Success Of The Program

The EB-5 visa program has been used far less than Congress expected. Following on from the pilot program, the USCIS has started to make changes to the EB-5 system in an attempt to attract more attention from foreign investors, including reducing the investment requirement for targeted employment areas. These changes have been generally successful, and there were more than four times as many EB-5 applications in 2011 than there were in 2007. Congress hopes to see that number continue to increase over the next few years.

Who Does Not Need an EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa is only required for people who wish to invest in the United States and plan to apply for permanent residency. People who wish to simply visit the United States do not need to apply for an EB-5 visa. There are non-immigrant visas available for people who wish to conduct business in the United States while on a short stay, and the Visa Waiver program is available to some foreign nationals depending on their country of residence and the activities they expect to engage in while in the United States.

If you live in a country which participates in the Visa Waiver program, you can visit the USA for tourism and many forms of business under the Visa Waiver system, as long as you have a valid ESTA. If you do not live in an a country which takes part in the Visa Waiver program, or you are a journalist or participate in business activities that are not covered by the Visa Waiver program, you should apply for a non-immigrant visa that covers the activities you plan to engage in while in the USA. If you are not sure which visa you require, contact your nearest US Embassy or the Visa helpline for detailed advice.

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