EB-5 Program: know the timeline of the process to get the Green Card in the USA

Jul 20, 2022

The EB-5 immigration program allows foreign investors to apply and obtain a Green Card so he and his family can live and work in the United States without problems. Do you know what the stages of this process are?

The EB-5 is an immigration program for investors created by the United States Congress in 1990 and recently updated since March 2022. The objective, was stimulating the North American economy through new jobs and capital investment by investors interested.

How does this work? The foreign investment must go to a project structured especially for the EB-5 program, where compliance with standards such as job creation and the participation of relatively new companies (created after November 29, 1990) is essential.

Once these requirements are fulfilled, there are 4 steps for which the investor must be prepared. That will guide the process to finally become a permanent resident of the US.

It is important to keep in mind that those who want to apply to the EB-5 program must have a minimum investment capital of 800,000 USD. That amount will be returned once the project is completed.

First Step to Apply for EB-5: Select a Qualifying Project

The first thing that the applicant must do to apply for the EB-5 investor visa is to find a project that meets the requirements of the program. This must include the creation of –at least– 10 full-time jobs within the United States.

If the investment is considered of national interest, you can opt for the accelerated approval of the Citizenship and Immigration Services, which implies a processing of the procedure between 2 and 6 months. While if the investment project is located in a rural area, the interested party may opt for a special processing. That, can last a year or less.

Both modalities allow access to the benefit in less time than the average, which is usually 2 years in total.

Second Step to Apply for EB-5: Invest and Petition for the Program

Once the project where the investment will be made has been selected, the next step is –through an immigration attorney– to present the application to enter the program, known as Form I-526.

To make this request, the investor must demonstrate that the capital to be used in the process was legally acquired. For this, is necessary to have a source and route of legal funds.

The processing times of this form will depend on the type of project chosen to make the investment.

Third step to apply for EB-5: Permanent residence

Once the I-526 form is approved, the permanent residence process begins. For this, the foreign investor must present a new form at a US Embassy or Consulate, Form DS-260, which will allow him to become a resident of the country for a period of 2 years.

If the investor is already in the United States, they must file Form I-485 for adjustment of status.

What are the necessary documents for this procedure?

  • Birth certificate.
  • Marriage certificate and, if applicable, divorce certificate.
  • Background certificate.
  • Two photographs of the petitioner.
  • Copy of passport and copy of nonimmigrant visa showing current US status.

Generally speaking, most requests are successful. The denial of this request may occur in cases of violations of criminal or immigration-related laws.

Fourth and last step to apply for EB-5: Obtaining a Green Card

When the applicant to the EB-5 program obtains the approval of the first form presented (I-526), ​​he is already in a position to change his immigration status from “nonimmigrant” to “permanent resident”. For this, he must file a new petition – recommended – through an immigration attorney.

Then, the approval of this process results in obtaining the Green Card. Here, the applicant and his family become permanent residents of the United States.

After 5 years from the date of the initial residence was granted, the investor will have the option of becoming US citizens. With all the corresponding rights and benefits.

Financial return on investment EB-5

EB-5 investors can be assured that the capital used will be returned in full, offering increasingly attractive rates of return.

On this, it is important to plan the “exit strategy” in a good way, that is, when that investment capital is returned. It is recommended that this exit strategy coincide with the filing date of the last petition. So that at the time of the return of the capital, it is no longer under an “at risk” status.