International Business Law and U.S. Immigration
The United States, like most countries, welcomes people whose presence in the country contributes to a vibrant economy. One such category includes immigrant investors, who qualify for an EB-5 immigrant investor visa. Individuals who qualify for an EB-5 visa may be granted U.S. lawful permanent resident (LPR) status if they meet two primary criteria: the investment of a specified amount of legally obtained capital into a new commercial enterprise in the U.S., and the creation of at least ten jobs for U.S. workers.
The standard capital investment requirement for an EB-5 immigrant investor visa is $1,000,000. However, if the investor chooses to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), only $500,000 is required. Most TEAs are high-unemployment or rural areas.
The job creation requirement for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa mandates that the investor create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers, usually within two years of the investor's admission to the U.S. Jobs may be either direct (actual identifiable positions within the commercial enterprise) or, under limited circumstances, indirect (jobs created collaterally as a result of investment). Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs that existed within a troubled business. Qualifying employees do not include the investor, his or her spouse, or their children, or non-immigrant workers.
The first step in securing an EB-5 visa is to file an Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (Form 1-526) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Approved petitions are sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing, and the applicant investor receives instructions regarding the submission of fees and additional forms and documents in order to complete his or her file. When the file is complete, an interview is scheduled with a consular officer. If the officer finds the investor eligible for a visa, the visa is issued and the investor receives conditional LPR status upon admission to the United States. The investor must file a Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (Form I-829) within 90 days before his or her second anniversary of admission into the U.S. If this petition is improved, the investor's LPR status in the country is no longer conditional.
There is a limit of 10,000 immigrant investor visa numbers for qualified applicants per fiscal year. Three thousand of these are reserved for immigrant investors in targeted employment areas. While there is an annual per-country limit for these visas in order to prevent a few countries monopolizing them, additional immigrant investor visas which would be otherwise unused may be made available to immigrants from countries that have reached their limit of EB-5 visas for the year.
There are a number of advantages of EB-5 immigrant investor visas compared to other employment- or achievement-based visas such as the EB-2 employment based visa or the L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager Visa. The EB-5 visa does not require a demonstration of extraordinary ability, just the ability and willingness to invest in a U.S. business. Further, there is no requirement that the investor maintain a business in the home country. Immigrants who qualify for this visa do not need to show that there is a shortage of U.S workers qualified to perform their job, nor are they required to have a permanent job offer in the United States.
The EB-5 visa does carry some disadvantages, however. Chief among them is that it requires a significant amount of available capital, and the risk that some or all of the invested capital will be lost. In addition, the conditional nature of the visa for the first two years removes any nonimmigrant status the investor may have previously had, making it essential that the petition is ultimately successful and that conditions on LPR status are removed.
Spartan International Law Group's primary office is located in Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest Arab community in the United States. The firm has a satellite office in Cairo, Egypt, and has cultivated working relationships with law firms throughout the Middle East for our clients' benefit. In addition to our U.S. immigration practice, we have an active International Business practice to serve our clients' needs.
Experience speaks for itself; so do our results. We invite you to contact Spartan International Law Group to learn more about our practice areas, including EB-5 investor visas, and our attorneys or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.
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