The United States (US) is one of the most sought-after destinations for those looking to establish a private residence and/or a business. It provides individuals and their families with a broad range of lifestyle, education, culture, geographical and climate choices.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme enables high-net-worth foreign nationals and their qualifying family members to obtain a US ‘Green Card’, known officially as a ‘Permanent Resident Card’, which entitles its holder to permanently live and work in the US.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). By investing a minimum of USD800,000 in an EB-5 qualifying project that creates jobs for US workers, eligible foreign nationals and their families will first receive conditional Green Cards. After an additional two years, conditional Green Cards holders are eligible for Permanent Residency.
The Benefits of the EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 Visa Program provides successful applicants with the freedom to study, work and live in the US, one of the most desirable lifestyle and business destinations worldwide. They also benefit from the following:
- Minimal application requirements, with no business experience or language proficiency tests
- Applicants can include their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21
- Access to, and reduced tuition fees for top-tier schools and Ivy League universities
- A cost-efficient route to gain permanent residence in the US
- No sponsorship requirements for employers or schools
- Flexible physical presence requirements
- The EB-5 visa can lead to US citizenship. The principal investor and family members may be eligible for US citizenship five years after their initial entry into the US.
EB-5 Visa Qualification Requirements
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme requires a foreign individual to invest into a new commercial enterprise that is associated with government-approved regional centres that are based upon proposals for promoting economic growth.
An approved regional centre is an economic unit, public or private, in the US, that is involved with promoting economic growth. USCIS designates regional centres for participation in the Immigrant Investor Programme. As of 4 April 2023, there were 640 approved regional centres.
To qualify applicants must show that they have met one of the following investment criteria:
- Invested USD800,000 into a targeted employment area project established within a rural area or an area with high unemployment.
- Invested USD1,050,000 into a non-targeted employment area project.
Investors are also required to provide evidence that their investment funds have been legally sourced and that, after two years, their chosen investment project has created and maintained 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. They must also hold their investment for the full investment timeframe of approximately five years plus.
EB-5 Visa Initial and Overall Costs
In additional to their chosen minimum qualifying investment amount, applicants must also budget for an administration fee ranging from approximately USD65,000 to USD80,000, legal fees totalling USD20,000 to USD25,000 and a USCIS filing fee of USD3,675.
Successful EB 5 qualifying projects will return investors funds after roughly five to six years, usually once the investor has completed their 2-year conditional residency period in US. In such cases, the subsequent overall cost of the EB-5 programme will be the legal and administrative fees.
The EB-5 Visa Program Process and Approximate Timeline
Applicants must first determine whether they have the financial resources, appropriate risk tolerance, investment liquidity and time frame (five years plus) to meet and hold the minimum investment requirements.
The EB-5 is a multi-step process administered by USCIS. The process and timeline can be divided into three approximate stages:
Renewal of a permanent Green Card
Permanent Green Card holders are required to renew their Green Card every 10 years.
US Citizenship by Naturalisation
Whilst the EB- 5 programme does not lead directly to US citizenship, permanent Green Card holders are eligible to apply for US citizenship by naturalisation.
An applicant for citizenship by naturalisation must have resided continuously in the US, after his or her lawful permanent resident (LPR) admission, for at least five years prior to filing the naturalisation application and up to the time of naturalisation.
Contact us to learn more
For further information, to discuss your requirements or to determine whether you qualify for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme or any other residency or citizenship programmes, please contact Sovereign’s Residency and Citizenship Planning team.