Investor Visa, How to Obtain U.S. Permanent Residency Through Investments

Investor Visa

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Last updated: April 1, 2024.

What is a U.S. investor visa?

  • One of the U.S. visas that can lead to permanent residency (“green card”) is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
  • The EB-5 program is designed for foreign investors who are willing to invest a significant amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers.

Here are the key features of the EB-5 program:

  • Minimum Investment: The investor is required to make a minimum qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise:
    • The standard minimum investment is $1,050,000
    • If the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), which is an area with high unemployment or a rural area, the minimum investment is reduced to $800,000
  • Job Creation: The investment must lead to the creation or preservation of at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the U.S. as a Conditional Permanent Resident
  • Conditional Permanent Residency: Initially, EB-5 applicants receive conditional permanent residency status for a two-year period
  • Removal of Conditions: After two years, the investor must submit evidence that the required jobs have been created or maintained, and other program requirements have been met. If the conditions are met, the investor and their immediate family members can become unconditional permanent residents and obtain 10-year green cards
  • Regional Centers: Many EB-5 investors choose to invest through designated Regional Centers, which are organizations that facilitate economic development projects. Investing through a Regional Center allows for a more indirect job creation 

How much money do I have to invest in the USA to get permanent residency?

  • The minimum investment amounts for the EB-5 program is $1,050,000 for a standard investment, or 
  • $800,000 for investments in targeted employment areas (TEAs), which are areas with high unemployment or rural areas

Who qualifies for a U.S. investor visa?

EB-5 investor visa requirements include:

  • Investment Amount: The investor must make a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise:
    • The minimum investment amount is typically $1,050,000, but it can be reduced to $800,000 if the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), which is an area with high unemployment or a rural area.
  • Job Creation: The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the U.S.
  • Source of Funds: The investor must demonstrate that the investment funds were obtained legally. Documentation proving the lawful source of the funds is a crucial part of the application process

Can I get a US visa if I buy a property?

Simply purchasing property in the U.S. does not automatically grant you a U.S. visa. 

How to apply for an investor visa in the U.S.

The EB-5 investor visa program is designed for foreign investors who wish to obtain U.S. permanent residency by making a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves jobs for U.S. workers. 

How to apply for an EB-5 investor visa:

Step 1. Understand Eligibility Criteria:

  • You must invest in a new commercial enterprise
  • The minimum investment amount varies depending on the location of the commercial enterprise:
    • It’s generally $1,050,000, but in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), where unemployment is high or rural areas, the minimum investment is $800,000
  • Your investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of your admission to the U.S. as permanent resident

Step 2. Choose a Regional Center or Direct Investment:

  • Decide whether you want to invest directly in a new commercial enterprise or through an approved Regional Center
  • Regional Centers are organizations that facilitate EB-5 investments and are often involved in larger projects

Step 3. Make the Investment:

  • If investing directly, establish a new commercial enterprise and invest the required capital
  • If investing through a Regional Center, work with them to make the investment

Step 4. Submit Form I-526 or Form I-526E:

  • If investing directly, file Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor) with USCIS
  • If investing through a regional center, file Form I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor) with USCIS

Step 5. Wait for USCIS Decision:

  • USCIS will review your petition and notify you of their decision
  • If approved, you and your family members can proceed with the immigrant visa application process or green card application

Step 6. Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status:

  • If you are outside the U.S., you will undergo consular processing at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country
  • If you are already in the U.S., you can file Form I-485 to adjust your status to that of a U.S. permanent resident

Step 7. Receive Conditional Green Card:

  • If approved, you and your dependents will receive a conditional green card valid for two years

Step 8. File Form I-829:

  • Within the 90-day period before your conditional green card expires, file Form I-829 (Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status)  to remove the conditions on your permanent residency
  • This form demonstrates that you have fulfilled the job creation and investment requirements and eligible for 10-year green card

Step 9. Receive Permanent Green Card:

  • If USCIS approves your Form I-829, you and your family members will receive a 10-year unconditional green card, granting you permanent residency in the U.S
  • You may apply for US citizenship 4 years and 9 months after obtaining your first green card, learn more

Learn More:

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa, How to Apply