How to Get the EB-5 Visa in 2024: Step-by-Step Process Explained

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining the EB-5 Visa in 2024

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the EB-5 visa process. The EB-5 program, though complex, offers a unique opportunity to obtain a green card without a sponsor for the applicant, their spouse, and unmarried children under 21. Success in this process requires making a significant investment in a U.S. business and creating jobs for American workers. Follow these steps to navigate the process smoothly.

-Step 1: Consult an EB-5 Attorney to Explore Other Immigration Options

The first and most important step is to consult with an experienced EB-5 attorney to discuss other possible routes to obtaining a green card in the United States. These options might include family sponsorship, employer sponsorship, and more. By having this discussion, you can determine whether the EB-5 program is the best fit for your situation. Given the complexity of the EB-5 process, exploring alternative options first is essential.

-Step 2: Choose Your Business or Project

Once you have decided to pursue the EB-5 visa, the next step is selecting a business or project to invest in. The EB-5 program offers various investment opportunities, including starting a new business, investing in an existing business, or participating in a regional center project. Regional centers are entities approved by USCIS to sponsor EB-5 projects. It’s crucial to choose a business or project that aligns with your interests and goals.

-Step 3: Make Your Investment

A fundamental requirement of the EB-5 process is that the investment funds must be “at risk,” meaning they must be invested in a way that exposes them to potential gains and losses. Once your funds are verified to be at risk, you can begin preparing the necessary documentation.

-Step 4: Submit Form I-526 to USCIS

Form I-526 is a critical component of the EB-5 application process. This petition is submitted to USCIS to demonstrate that you meet all EB-5 requirements. Preparing this application can be time-consuming and requires detailed documentation, including a business plan and proof of the source of your investment funds. Once filed, processing Form I-526 can take several months to over a year.

-Step 5: Apply for a Green Card through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

It’s important to note that Form I-526 approval alone does not grant immigration benefits. To live and work in the U.S., you must either apply for adjustment of status (if already in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa) or go through consular processing if you are outside the U.S. These steps are essential to obtain lawful permanent resident status.

Recent changes allow some individuals to file Form I-526 and their adjustment of status application concurrently, without waiting for I-526 approval. This enables applicants to obtain benefits like an employment authorization document (EAD) and advance parole around six to eight months after submission, even if Form I-526 is still pending.

-Step 6: Obtain Two-Year Conditional Permanent Residence

Upon approval of adjustment of status or consular processing, you will enter a two-year period of conditional permanent residence. During this time, you must maintain your investment and create ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Not all ten jobs need to be created before filing Form I-526 or during the adjustment of status process; you have the two-year period to fulfill this requirement.

-Step 7: Submit Form I-829

Ninety days before the end of the two-year conditional residence period, you must file Form I-829. This petition is crucial for removing conditions from your green card, transitioning from conditional to unconditional permanent resident status. Form I-829 must demonstrate that you have met the job creation and investment requirements.

-Step 8: Consider Naturalization

After successfully completing the EB-5 process and obtaining permanent resident status, you may become eligible to apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen. This step is optional but highly beneficial.

We hope this guide helps clarify the EB-5 visa process. This information is general and not legal advice. Please share this guide with anyone who might benefit from it. Should you need any further assistance, please contact us at info@schaffertlaw.com.

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