Houston EB-5 Investor Visa Attorneys
Put 60 Years of Combined Experience to Work for You
Are you interested in obtaining a green card by investing in a U.S. enterprise? Our business immigration attorneys at Davis & Associates can walk you through every aspect of the EB-5 investor visa process. We can help you understand the filing requirements and ensure that your EB-5 application is completed and submitted correctly.
What Is The EB-5 Visa Program?
The EB-5 Visa program, which is technically called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, allows entrepreneurs and their spouses (as well as unmarried kids who are under 21) to apply for permanent residence in the U.S. In order to use this program, you must:
- Invest in a commercial enterprise here in the U.S.
- Plan to create (or preserve) at least ten permanent, full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
Obtaining permanent residence in the United States is the first step toward naturalization – and that’s exactly why many entrepreneurs and investors choose to take advantage of this program.
How To Apply As An EB-5 Investor
Applying as an investor requires you to fill out quite a bit of paperwork, including the USCIS Form I-526. If that petition is approved, you’ll have to file either Form I-485 or DS-260. You can remove conditions attached to your visa by filing Form I-829 within the 90-day period of your visa’s expiration. At each stage of the process, you’ll have to file supporting documentation (like invoices, receipts, bank statements, payroll records, and tax documents).
EB-5 Investor Visa Requirements
One of the ways that an investor can qualify for a U.S. immigration visa is through the EB-5 investor visa. The process involves a high-net-worth individual investing in a new commercial enterprise.
A commercial enterprise involves any for-profit activity formed to conduct an ongoing lawful business.
A commercial enterprise can be a:
- Sole proprietorship
- Joint venture
- Holding company
- Business trust
- Publicly or privately owned entities
Job Creation Requirements For EB-5 Investors
This program requires you to create jobs for Americans and to do that, you’ll have to invest enough money in the enterprise to create at least ten full-time positions. You can create jobs directly or indirectly:
- Direct jobs establish an employer-employee relationship
- Indirect jobs are created as a result of the enterprise but are outside the enterprise (like contracting jobs)
In some cases, you can simply rely on job maintenance. That means you don’t always have to create ten new jobs; it may be enough to create circumstances that prevent American workers from being laid off or fired for at least 2 years.
Capital Investment Requirements
Generally, the minimum investment required is $1 million. This minimum requirement is reduced to $500,000 for businesses in rural areas or areas that have an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average. Once the business is established, the investor is also required to create and maintain at least 10 full-time positions for qualified employees. To be considered full-time, the position must be at least 35 hours a week. Qualified employees include U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.
A qualified employee may also be any other immigrant who is authorized to work in the U.S., including but not limited to:
- A refugee
- An asylee
- A temporary resident
- A conditional resident
- An individual residing in the U.S. under suspension of deportation
EB-5 Visa Program’s Most Common Terms
If you’re investing in this program to obtain a visa, there are a few terms you should know. Some of the most important include:
- Troubled business: The term troubled business refers to a company that’s at least 2 years old and has operated at a net loss during the 12-month or 24-month period prior to your application. The loss must be at least 20 percent of the business’s net worth.
- Qualifying employee: A qualifying employee is someone who’s legally allowed to work in the U.S., including a citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or another type of immigrant who’s authorized to work here. The investor doesn’t count as a qualifying employee. Spouses and children don’t count, either, which means you’ll have to create or maintain a total of ten jobs without counting your immediate family members.
- Full-time employment: Full-time employment, in this case, is at least 35 working hours per week. This standard applies to both direct jobs and indirect jobs that you create.
- Job-sharing arrangement: The term job-sharing arrangement means that you have two or more qualifying employees who share a full-time position. You can’t count two separate part-time positions, though – only full-time positions where the 35-hour-per-week requirement is met.
- Targeted Employment Area: A Targeted Employment Area is a place that has an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
- Rural area: A rural area is an area that’s not within a metropolitan statistical area or the boundaries of a city or town that has a population of more than 20,000 people.
Call Today for Reliable Legal Counsel
Regardless of what type of commercial enterprise you are looking to invest in, you should consult with our Houston EB-5 investor visa attorneys before filing your application. We are eager to assist you. We provide personalized immigration guidance from our Houston and Dallas offices.