Immigration & Naturalization Law

Investor Visas

The United States offers a lot of investment opportunities for people in other countries. To encourage investments in U.S. businesses, immigrant investors can apply for employment-based EB-5 immigrant investor visas. Investor visas allow people from other countries to get permanent residency to work and live in the U.S.

There are specific requirements for investor visa eligibility and processing times can take years. If you want to know more about investor visas, how to apply, and how you can get a green card as an investor, you should talk to an experienced immigration lawyer for advice.

What Is an Investor Visa?

An investor visa is an employment-based (EB) visa that allows immigrant investors to come to the U.S. to start a new business that brings jobs and capital to the U.S. economy. Generally, to qualify for an investor visa, applicants must invest a minimum amount of money into a “qualifying commercial enterprise.” As of November 21, 2019, the minimum investment is $1 million or $500,000 in “targeted employment areas,” which are rural areas or areas with high unemployment.

The business has to create at least 10 full-time jobs within two years for U.S. workers, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or other authorized immigrants. Creating a job for yourself, your spouse, or your children does not count.

What Are the Types of EB-5 Investor Visas?

There are four categories of immigrant investor EB-5 visas. The type of visa is based on the type of enterprise or employment creation:

  • C5 visa: Jobs created in a non-targeted area
  • T5 visa: Jobs created in a targeted area
  • R5 visa: Pilot program in a non-targeted area
  • I5 visa: Pilot program in a targeted area

How Can I Apply for an Investor Visa?

To apply for an investor visa based on job creation or investor pilot programs, you have to file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After approval, your petition will receive a priority date.

When the priority date comes, you have to pay any necessary fees and submit the required documents. After approval, you can get an interview appointment with a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas. You will also need to schedule a medical examination and get any necessary vaccinations. At the interview, a consular officer will determine whether to grant an investor visa to allow you to come to the U.S.

Is There a Limit for Investor Visas?

There is an annual limit on the number of approved investor visas in each category. Visas are issued based on the order the applications are filed. Depending on the visa category and your nationality, it can take years to get approval. You can check the U.S. State Department’s Visa Bulletin for current timelines for investor visas.

Can I Bring My Family After Getting an Investor Visa?

If you are approved for an investor visa, you may be able to apply for visas for certain family members. Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can apply for visas to enter and remain in the U.S.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get an Investor Visa?

Some individuals can get approved for an investor visa without going through a lawyer. However, U.S. immigration law is complicated, and making a simple mistake could mean the difference between qualifying and getting denied.

U.S. immigration attorney with experience in investor visas for foreign nationals can explain your options, file the visa application, and represent you in any immigration matters. For further information, talk to an investor visa attorney.

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