OBTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENCY STATUS IN THE USA THROUGH INVESTMENT
You can invest in the United States in one of two ways:
- Invest $1,000,000 (one million US dollars) in a private investment. You must create at least 10 direct jobs.
- Invest $500,000 (five hundred thousand US dollars) through an approved Regional Center.
To encourage immigration through the EB-5 program, Congress created a separate EB-5 category that sets aside 3,000 green cards each year for foreign investors who invest in designated regional centers.
Mona Shah & Associates (MSA) is highly regarded in the EB-5 field and has assisted many investors and Regional Centers (RCs) in navigating this complex, nuanced, and constantly changing area of immigration law.
The attorneys at MSA continuously follow the frequently changing interpretations of USCIS’ EB-5 regulations and policy guidelines
EB5 Investor Petitions:
The team at MSA, spearheaded by the firm’s Principal, Mona (Mehreen) Shah, Esq. has successfully used their expertise in filing approximately 180 EB-5 investor petitions with USCIS for investors from China, Vietnam, India, Dubai, the UK and Russia for a number of Regional Center based projects, including the Time Square Hotel (TSH) Project, the Brooklyn Navy Yard project, and the Steiner Studio project.
Filing with USCIS for Regional Center Status:
MSA is well versed with filing regional centers with USCIS.
Ms. Shah is also one of the 4 original founders of the highly reputable and well-known New York City Regional Center (NYCRC).
Assisting Regional Centers and Attorneys with EB5 Issues:
The team at MSA are highly experienced and knowledgeable in assisting both regional centers and attorneys representing regional centers and Investors.
Due Diligence analysis for EB5 projects:
MSA offers comprehensive immigration assistance on all EB-5 matters, including the establishment of RCs, consular processing issues, and due diligence analysis.
What is the EB-5 program?
The EB-5 investor visa category was first introduced in 1990. The program is aimed at attracting foreign capital into the U.S. and to reward qualifying investors with permanent residency. Despite it’s many benefits, the EB-5 program had a very rocky start due to numerous violations by companies competing for foreign investments and because certain governmental requirements set before the investors were not met.
The program was placed on hold between 1999 and 2002 – however, in January 2005 United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) established an Investor and Regional Center Unit (IRCU) to improve the regulations and policies associated with the EB-5 program. Today, it is one of the most promising immigration options offered to alien investors.
To get this type of visa, a foreigner must invest from $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending on the geographic location, in a U.S. business enterprise that would create and maintain ten direct full-time jobs for the U.S. workers.
The EB-5 program is one of the most flexible immigrant investor programs in the world. The program has:
- No language requirement
- No minimum education requirement
- No business or management experience requirement
- No quota backlogs (there are multi-year backlogs for many employment and family-based green card categories, but there is no quota backlog for the EB-5 investor category)
- No sponsor needed (foreign investors use their own personal funds and do not require sponsorship from either an employer or a family member)
- Investment capital can come from a gift, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activities
Who qualifies for an EB-5 visa?
According to Section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), EB-5 immigrant visas are allocated yearly to qualified individuals seeking Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status on the basis of their capital investment in a commercial enterprise.
This definition implies that to participate in the EB-5 investor program and to obtain the green card through it, a person must make an investment in a commercial project aimed at generating employment and boosting American economy.
People of all walks of life can apply for the program, because, unlike other employment-based visas, EB-5 visa does not require you to be employed by an American company, or to have a certain educational level. The only mandatory condition you must fulfill is to invest $500,000 or $1,000,000 in the U.S. economy and to create at least ten full-time jobs for the qualifying U.S. workers.
What investment options do you have if you qualify for the EB-5 visa?
Every year 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas are set aside for foreigners who wish to immigrate to the USA by making an investment into American economy. Inclusive of the 10,000 visas, 3,000 are allotted for alien investors who choose to invest $500,000 in a Regional Center.
Please note that the stand-alone EB-5 program offers you 2 sub-options: Investing $1,000,000 in a U.S. business to create and maintain 10 full-time jobs for the qualified U.S. workers, or investing $500,000 in a commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area, known as TEA (a rural area with a population less than 20,000 or a high-unemployment area), that will create and preserve at least 10 full-time jobs in the USA within 2 years of obtaining your legal permanent resident status.
The third option is to invest $500,000 in a project of a Regional Center, in which case you do not have direct responsibility for employment creation and compliance with strict USCIS requirements.
Which option should YOU choose?
Below is a table summarizing the benefits and drawbacks of each option you should consider before making the investment.
|Category||Regional Center||Stand-Alone EB-5 Program|
|Number of visas allotted per year||3,000||10,000|
|Funds must be obtained from legal sources||Yes||Yes|
|Capital must be invested prior to filing Form I-526||Yes(Safe escrow account)||Yes|
|Employment creation requirement includes direct and indirect jobs||Yes||No(direct jobs only)|
|Direct responsibility for job creation||No||Yes|
|Direct responsibility for USCIS reporting||No||Yes|
|Business owner?||No(General Partner for the LLC)||Yes|
|Direct management of business on a daily basis||No||Yes|
|Approval of a Project by USCIS||Generally pre-approved||Determination made after the review of the economic feasibility report|
|Returns on the investment||Fixed/Lower||Flexible/Higher|
|Safety of the Investment in case of I-526 denial||Yes(full amount of $500,000 returned to the investor)||No guarantees|
|Mandatory permanent residence in a state of business investment||No||Yes|
|Professional assistance with immigration process||Yes(By the qualified team of the Regional Center)||Yes(You have to hire your own consultants)|
|Cost||One-time fee covers all expenses over next 5 years||Evolving costs at various stages|
|I-526 Petition review by USCIS(in most cases)||2-3 months||8-12 months|
|Immediate family members qualify for the same status||Yes|
|Permanent Residence Status after the removal of conditions||Yes|
|Opportunity to become a U.S. citizen||Yes|