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EB-5 Investor Visa FAQs

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on October 11, 2013

The EB-5 investor visa is a business-based immigration option for foreign nationals with significant investments in the United States. Get the answers to some FAQs regarding the EB-5 investor visa from Chicago immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group.

What is the EB-5 Investor Program?

The EB-5 visa was created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, and is available for investors who invest a minimum amount of capital in a U.S. business.

Who qualifies for the EB-5 visa?

In order to qualify for the EB-5 investor visa, the following requirements must be met:

  • The foreign national applicant must invest at least $ 1 million in a new commercial enterprise (or $500,000 if investing in a regional center in a targeted area in a United States).
  • The commercial enterprise receiving the investment funds must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission into the United States.
  • The commercial enterprise receiving the investment funds must have been established after November 29, 1990.  If the commercial enterprise was established on or before November 29, 1990, it may still qualify as a “new commercial enterprise” if (i) it was purchased and the existing business was restructured or reorganized so that a new commercial enterprise results, or (ii) it expanded through the investment such that a 40% increase in net worth or number of employees resulted.

What are Regional Centers?

Some foreign investors may be eligible for an EB-5 visa with a $500,000 investment, instead of the standard $1 million investment, if the money is invested in one of the Regional Centers designated by the United States Customs and Immigration Services as an area in need. Regional Centers are determined based on policy proposals for promoting economic growth by creating 10 or more jobs directly or indirectly.

The following Regional Centers are located in Illinois:

  • Blue Ribbon Regional Center, LLC
  • Chicago Healthcare Fund Regional Center
  • Chicago Metro Regional Center, LLC
  • Chicago Regional Center
  • Chicagoland Foreign Investment Group (CFIG) Regional Center
  • Green Card Gateway Regional Center
  • Intercontinental Regional Center Trust of Chicago
  • LaSalle County Business Development Center (LCBDC)
  • Local Government Regional Center of Illinois
  • New Fortune Global LLC
  • Northern Illinois Regional Center
  • US HITEC Regional Center

How long can an EB-5 investor remain in the United States?

The EB-5 investor green card is conditional and expires in two years, after which the EB-5 investor will need to apply to renew it and make it permanent. In order to obtain permanent resident status, the EB-5 investor must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, 90 days prior to the expiration of the EB-5 conditional green card.  The investor will need to provide evidence that the investment was made and sustained, and that the requisite jobs were created in a timely manner.

Can family members of the EB-5 visa applicant enter the United States?

Spouses and dependent, unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow an EB-5 investor, with some conditions.

How can an immigration lawyer help with an EB-5 investor visa?

Because of the specific and stringent requirements of the EB-5 investor visa, it is highly recommended that applicants consult with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. The Chicago immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group focus on helping businesses, investors, and families with all of their immigration and visa needs, including EB-5 visas and green cards.

Contact our office at (847)564-0712 to speak with an experienced Illinois employment immigration attorney about the EB-5 investor visa.