There are standard steps that investors must complete to become U.S. permanent residents through the EB-5 visa program. Once these steps have been completed, EB-5 investors, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 become U.S. permanent residents. They will even have the option to apply for U.S. Citizenship 5 years after obtaining their permanent residency.
Step 1: Locating an EB-5 Project
The preliminary step is for the EB-5 applicant to find a suitable business project to receive their investment. EB-5 business projects generally take the form of either an individual commercial enterprise or Regional Center projects. Overseas migration agents often help EB-5 investors locate the project that best suits their needs. Applicants must also ensure that they meet accredited investor income requirements in order to move forward with the EB-5 process.
Step 2: Capital Investment and I-526 Petition
The second step of the EB-5 visa process is for the applicant to make the required capital investment amount in the project that they have chosen and verify the source of funds. This typically involves the assistance of an accountant to ensure that the $500,000 or $1,000,000 amount has either been invested or is in the process of being invested in their EB-5 project. These investments are often made into an investor holdings account. Then an immigration attorney provides proof of this investment by filing an I-526 petition with the USCIS. The USCIS typically informs applicants whether or not their I-526 petition has been accepted after 12 to 16 months.
Step 3: Two-year conditional permanent residency
The third step of the EB-5 application process is for the applicant to become a two year conditional resident of the United States so they can put their EB-5 project investment to work. EB-5 investors are eligible to become U.S. conditional residents once their I-526 petition has been approved by the USCIS. Residency can be attained in one of two ways. If the EB-5 investor already has lawful status in the U.S., then they must file form I-485 to adjust their status to conditional permanent resident. If the investor does not already have U.S. status, then they must file for an immigrant visa by submitting form DS-260 to the National Visa Center and must process through the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. Both of these steps typically require the help of an immigration attorney and the immigrant visa is issued on average in 6 to 12 months.
Step 4: Unconditional permanent residency and the I-829 Petition
The last step in the EB-5 visa process is for the applicants to become unconditional permanent residents by removing their two year conditional status. The I-829 petition is submitted to the USCIS 90 days prior to the anniversary of the date that the applicant first received their conditional residency. This application proves that the investor has met all requirements of the EB-5 visa program. The USCIS most often issues a green card 6 to 8 months after the I-829 has been submitted. The investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 can then permanently live and work in the United States and have the option to apply for U.S. citizenship after a 5 year period from the date they received their initial conditional residency.