- The EB 5 Visa (USA investor visa) Program popularity is increasing amongst Indians
- To be eligible the applicant must make a minimum investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in an American new commercial enterprise and create 10 jobs
- The applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years are also eligible for the visa
How to apply for EB 5 investor visa? Who can apply for it? And why more and more Indians are turning to this visa? Find out answers to all your question below:
With the H1B visa becoming more and more difficult to acquire, Indians looking at migrating to the USA have turned to alternative visa programs. The EB 5 visa program is one such visa. This visa allows migrant investors and their families to obtain permanent resident status in the USA by investing a certain amount of capital in the US economy so as to benefit the economy and create jobs for Americans.
This includes the investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years. This is one of the fastest ways to obtain a Green Card. So one of the common questions being asked today is how to apply for an EB-5 visa?
How to apply for EB 5 visa – Requirements
The EB 5 Visa Program was created in 1990 to stimulate the Us Economy. Hence an investment and job creation are the basic prerequisites for this visa. The first requirement to be fulfilled for an EB 5 visa is an investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise based in the USA.
This enterprise must be a company that works for profit. It may take the form of a sole proprietorship, limited or general partnership, holding company, joint venture, business trust, corporation, etc.
How to apply for EB 5 visa – How much to invest
The amount to be invested depends on where the enterprise is located. For new companies based in targeted employment areas; the minimum investment required is $500,000.
If you choose to invest in a new company anywhere outside this area, you will need to invest at least $1,000,000. This investment can be made directly or through a regional center. It may take the form of cash, inventory, equipment, tangible property or secured indebtedness.
How to apply for EB 5 visa – How many jobs should you create
In addition, the investor also needs to ensure that the company creates full-time jobs for a minimum of 10 American citizens. In the case of direct investments, all employees need to be employed directly by the commercial enterprise.
In the case of investments made through a regional center, this can include direct and indirect jobs. Indirect jobs are jobs where a person is not directly employed by the company but is employed in a job created as a result of the functioning of the company. These jobs need to be maintained for a minimum of 2 years.
When looking at how to apply for an EB 5 visa it is important to note that there are no minimum educational requirements or English speaking requirements that need to be met for this visa program.
Applying for EB 5 Investor Visa -Direct Investment vs Investment through Regional Centers
As the name suggests, in the case of a direct investment the investor chooses the company to be invested in and is involved in running the enterprise. On the other hand, if the investment is made in a regional center the center will decide the company that is to be invested in. In such cases, the investor is akin to a limited partner in the company. He or she is not expected to be involved in the running of the company but may participate as a board member.
In the case of a direct investment, the company needs to make enough profit to support 10 direct jobs and the investor. Depending on the structure of the company, he or she may be subject to business liabilities. In the case of investments made through a regional center, the investor’s liability is capped at the initial investment.
When it comes to fulfilling the job creation criteria, it is easier to do so if an investment is made via regional centers. This is because both direct and indirect jobs are included in this case.
How to apply for EB 5 visa – A Step by Step Guide
The applicant can apply for Green Card status for himself or herself, their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 through the EB-5 visa program. The process is fairly simple and there is no waitlist for Indians on this program. It is best to hire the service of an immigration lawyer to help you understand how to apply for an EB-5 visa.
Step 1: Determine where and how the investment is to be made
The first step to applying for an EB-5 visa is to find a for-profit company you want to invest in. Alternatively, you may choose to invest in a regional center. In some cases, the amount to be invested may need to be placed in an escrow account.
Step 2: File the I-526 petition
This is the initial petition for a Green Card. It is best to ask an immigration lawyer to help complete this form. The application will then need to be filed with the USCIS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On doing so, a Receipt Number will be allocated to track the application. Processing the application can take as much as 18 months.
Step 3: Apply for Lawful Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status
When the petition is accepted, the investor and his immediate family can apply for Lawful Permanent Residence if they reside outside the USA or an Adjustment of Status if they have non-immigrant status in the USA. This is valid for a period of two years.
In the case of an application for Lawful Permanent Residence status, the I-526 form will need to be submitted to the National Visa Center. An interview and medical examination may also be needed. If the investor’s status is to be adjusted, the I-485 form will need to be submitted with the USCIS.
Step 4: Apply for Unconditional Permanent Residency
Once the investor has condition resident status, he or she has two years to make the necessary investment and fulfill the job creation criteria. Once all the conditions for the BE-5 visa program are met, the investor may apply for an unconditional Permanent Residency. To apply for this, the I-829 form will need to be completed and submitted.
This should be done at least 90 days before the conditional resident status expires. Once approved the investor his or her spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years will be granted a Green Card. This approval process can take between 6 to 8 months.
Step 5: Citizenship
After living in the USA for a minimum period of 5 years as a permanent resident, the investor and his or her family can apply for US citizenship.
Investor Visas to the USA – An Expensive Affair
Immigrating to the United States of America through the investor visa route is set to become more expensive from April 1, 2020 onwards. This is the result of an increase in taxes payable over the initial investment amount.
The US government has increased the taxes on remittances for all visas categories. However, it will be felt most by people investing in the investor visa or EB-5 visa program. Immigrants applying for this visa will not have to pay an additional $50,000 per applicant.
Impact of Additional Tax
The additional tax will make applying for US citizenship even more expensive. It is important to note that the additional tax is not the only influencing factor at play here.
In 2019 the minimum investment required for the Eb-5 visa was increased for the first time since its inception. Where earlier, immigrants needed to invest only $500,000 for targeted employment areas, they will now have to invest a minimum of $900,000.
Similarly, in a non-targeted employment area, immigrants will now have to invest $1.8 million instead of the $1million they needed to invest earlier. The additional tax introduced is payable when investors move their money to escrow accounts.
The result; Indians moving to the USA through this route will now have to carefully plan their tax position before applying for the EB-5 visa. Many people wanting to emigrate do not want to pay this tax at the source. Most applicants would rather move their investment money before the new rule comes into effect.
Alternative to EB-5 visa
There are a number of alternative routes to attaining US citizenship. For example, applicants may re-route his application through Grenada citizenship.
Investing an amount of $220,000 in a government-approved real estate project in Grenada makes applicants eligible for Grenada citizenship after which they can apply for US citizenship through the E2 visa.
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