Definition of an EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa, can enable you, your spouse and children under 21 to obtain permanent U.S. residency. Citizenship may be obtained after five years.
You have the option to take almost any job, run a business or retire and live anywhere in the USA. As an EB-5 visa green card holder you will have access to many benefits enjoyed by US citizens such as education and in certain states, you will enjoy savings in property tax.
Your children may attend schools or apply to universities with the same rights as a U.S. citizen and unlike some other visa options they do not have to leave at 21. Each member of the family may apply for U.S. citizenship after holding their green card for five years.
A Regional Center is an area designated by the USCIS as eligible to offer EB-5 visa qualifying job creation projects. Some Regional Centers give the impression that, because they are Government designated, they have a Government’s stamp of approval. They do not. All Regional Centers are Government designated for purposes of immigration. However, this does not guarantee the success of otherwise of their projects.
There are basically three types of Regional Centers. If you decide that the EB-5 visa is your choice, the next key decision is to select a Regional Center which −
• Protects your capital
• Has an established record of success with visa applications
• Does not tie up your capital for longer than necessary
• Is focused on your requirements as an immigrant rather than simply seeing you as a source of easy capital
Loan Based - A few Regional Centers offer fixed term loan based programs, where your funds are lent to another organization. Sometimes these are government agencies such as development corporations for infrastructure projects where a municipality or associated development agency usually becomes responsible for repaying your capital. The implications of these options vary.
Equity - active trading businesses - are asset based and can be either property or actively trading businesses some are managed directly by the company operating the Regional Center. They may be vulnerable to market forces thus their value and prospects can be difficult to determine.
Equity - property based -A number of regional centers offering commercial property have suggested that they have advantages. The basis of such an argument is that when compared to a trading enterprise or a loan, property is a physical entity. However, during periods of economic downturn property values may decline substantially. The key to property performance may lie in how much was paid for the property in the first place and who it was bought from.
Return of Capital - Which EB-5 Regional Centers have paid back capital? Despite claims being made by a number of the regional centers, at the time of writing in 2012, we are aware of three centers that have repaid funds.
Source of funds - Funds for use in an EB-5 visa application may come from certain legal foreign or US sources; including gifts, loans, trusts are settlements. Borrowed funds may qualify.
Regional Centers are required to be certified as high unemployment areas to keep the minimum required EB-5 capital to $500,000. The USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) refers to this category as an Employment-based (EB-5) Green Card since it is based on a US business which will create at least ten US jobs.
• In addition to the minimum capital contribution of $500,000, regional center administration fees vary from $25,000 to over $60,000.
• Legal fees vary according to the work involved and your choice of attorney; they vary between $12-25,000 with $18,000 being typical.
• The EB-5 visa filing fee, payable to the USCIS, is around $1,500 per applicant family.
• The fee to the NVC (National Visa Center) is around $400 per family member.
• Medical examinations are around $150 for each adult and $130 for children under 15.
After you have completed your application paperwork and your attorney has submitted your EB-5 visa application your green card processing takes approximately 6 to 9 months. For planning issues, such as schooling, allow 9-12 months between visa application and the issue of your green card. This green card is 'conditional'.
Once you have emigrated, you must apply to have ‘conditions’ removed from your green card after 1 year and 9 months in the USA. ‘Conditions’ removal (if successful) means that all family members have permanent residency.