Foreign Nationals Who Qualify under the EB-5 Visa Program are Granted a Two-year Conditional Residency
Every year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the United States government grants 10,000 visas through the EB-5 program to foreign nationals who are willing to invest $500,000 or $1 million in the U.S. for the creation of new commercial enterprises which, in turn, will either preserve or create 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers.
The EB-5 Program, also known as the employment fifth preference visa, was approved by the U.S. Congress in 1990. The purpose of its creation was to boost the growth of the nation’s economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors. Two years later, the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program, was also formed.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is the easiest and fastest way for wealthy foreign nationals (and their families) to obtain a U.S. Green Card. As explained by Russian-speaking investor immigration attorneys, however, “Becoming a part of the Immigrant Investor Program involves the investment of a considerable sum of money; as such, you need to make sure that you have a dedicated and experienced legal team supporting you as you pursue an EB-5 visa.”
For many years now, about 90% of those granted the EB-5 visa has always come from China. There is another country, however, from which the U.S. has welcomed a steady flow of immigrants – Russia.
Wealthy Russians immigrating to the U.S. began to increase in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and after realizing that their country will not be able to provide a suitable investment environment where they can protect their wealth due to the plummeting of the Russian stock market and the Russian ruble and, with the re-election of President Vladimir Putin, who is surrounded by his favored business people, more wealthy Russians see the United States as a safe place where they can invest their wealth, as well as a safe place where their families can reside.
Investing in the U.S. may be done either through Direct Investment or Regional Center Investment. In direct investment, a foreign national must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 for the creation of a new enterprise, purchase an existing business, or reorganization of a former business into a new entity.
Investing in a EB-5 Regional Center, on the other hand, requires a $500,000 investment. This is to finance an existing business in a Targeted Employment Area, an area identified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) where employment rate is very low.
Regardless which of the form of investment made, an investor’s main responsibility is to create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs – this is his/her visa commitment. At the end of his/her two-year conditional residency, the USCIS will evaluate his/her business and determine if he/she has invested the full amount of capital into the business and created the required number of jobs. If he/she has fulfilled the terms of his/her visa, then he/she may apply to have the conditions on his/her visa removed and enjoy unrestricted access to the U.S. with his/her permanent green card.