Does the EB-5 Visa Program Have a Legal Basis?

The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990 under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The program allows for qualified non-US citizens to seek permanent resident status on the basis of an investment in the American economy.


How Many EB-5 Visas May Be Issued Per Year?

There are 10,000 EB-5 visas available to qualified aliens each year. 3,000 of these visas are designated for foreigners who invest through a program at an USCIS designated Regional Center.


How Does EB-5 Visa Differ from L-1 visa (Manager Transfer)?

With an EB-5 visa, the investor will obtain a green card for permanent residence in the United States. After 5 years, the investors and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements. But L-1 visa may never result in permanent residence, because it has time limits and must be renewed including additional filings with the USCIS or Department of State.


What is the Minimum Investment Required?

An investment of at least $1,000,000.00 is required for an EB-5 visa. If however, the investment is made in an area that has been designated a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the investment is a minimum of $500,000.00.


How Long Does It Take For An EB-5 Application To Be Approved And A Green Card Issued?

It typically takes investors about two months to make the investment, gather the necessary documents, and file the petition. Most petitions are approved in about 14 months. One can then apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. or an immigrant visa overseas. Adjustment of status for EB-5 cases can be processed in about 6 months, but can sometimes take longer. The immigrant visa at the American consulate requires about 8-12 months. After being granted, it usually only takes few weeks or months for mailing the conditional green card.

What is A Conditional Green Card?

A conditional green card is a temporary green card valid for two years. One year and nine months after it is issued, a three-month window opens up during which an individual must file another application with the USCIS to verify that all of the funds have been invested and maintained and employment created. When the conditional resident status has been lifted, full permanent resident status is granted and a permanent green card is issued.

If I Change My Mind Prior to the Application Being Filed Will I Lose My Money?

During the application process, the investor’s capital is held in an escrow account until approval. If an investor changes his/her mind during this process, he/she may request that money be returned. Consultancy and legal fees for services already rendered will not be returned.

If I Invest in the New Empire EB-5 Program, Can my Mother and Father also Obtain A Green Card?

No, fathers and mothers are not considered immediate family for the purposes of the EB-5 Program. Only spouse and children under the age of 21 may receive a green card based on the investor’s application and investment. Once an investor becomes a legal permanent resident, they may then petition for the entry of other family members such as their mother, father, or children over the age of 21. There are other options and strategies available. For more information please speak with a New Empire EB-5 consultant.


Can I Use the Money Gifted by a Parent or Other Relative for an EB-5 Investment?

Yes, provided that you have paid applicable gift taxes. It must be demonstrated that the gift is an actual transaction and the gifted funds will not be given back after the green card is granted.


What are the US Tax Issues?

Although we do not provide consulting services for tax related matters, we advise EB-5 clients to consult with US tax specialists before obtaining green cards. If you have a US green card, you are a lawful permanent resident of the US even if you live abroad. This means you are treated as a US resident for US income tax purposes, unless:

Your permanent resident status has been revoked or abandoned your gross income from worldwide sources is less than the amount that require a tax return to be filed, others is a bilateral tax treaty between your country of origin or residence and the US which addresses your tax status. Under these treaties, residents of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate, or are exempted from US income taxes on certain items of income. These reduced rates and exemptions vary among countries and specific items of income. Within SE Asia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are among the several countries which have negotiated a bilateral tax treaty with the US.


What is the difference Between "Conditional" and "Unconditional" Permanent Residency?

Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa receives "conditional" permanent residency, which is valid for a two year period. An "unconditional" permanent residency status is issued once USCIS receives documentary evidence just prior to the expiry of the conditional permanent residency that the investor has created 10 jobs through their investment in the project. Once unconditional permanent residency status is issued, the investor will no longer have to provide any further documentary evidence whatsoever when they need to renew their permanent residency status every 10 years. The renewal process of an unconditional permanent residency status is similar to renewing a passport. Outside of these differences, conditional and unconditional permanent residency status offers the same rights and privileges.