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For many number of people, American citizenship is an attractive prospect. Given that it is highly sought-after, there are stringent criteria surrounding US immigration. The EB-5 visa was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 and provides a method whereby eligible immigrant investors may become lawful permanent residents of the United States, informally referred to as green card holders.
There are many benefits of acquiring and holding a green card:
You can become a permanent resident of the United States in several ways. The most common is to be sponsored by either a relative or employer within the US. EB-5 visas are also granted to Diversity Immigrants, selected through the Department of State’s diversity visa lottery.
You may also be eligible for a green card if you are categorized as a Special Immigrant, of which there are several subcategories:
Green cards may also be granted to victims of abuse, crime and human trafficking. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also list a number of other less common eligibility criteria, which may nevertheless be exceedingly important to you and your own personal situation.
The EB-5 visa is the fastest, and indeed most common, method of green card application. The entire process takes 12–18 months from application to the applicant’s receipt of the conditional green card.
The process begins by selecting an investment program, and then filing an I-526 Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur in order to demonstrate that one is in the process of investing $USD 500,000–$1 million into a new commercial enterprise. The specific amount is contingent on whether the investment is made in an economically depressed location, referred to as a target employment area (TEA). The petition is ordinarily prepared on behalf of the applicant by an immigration attorney and must demonstrate that the applicant’s capital investment is derived from a lawful source of funds.
Petitioners already residing in the US should then expect to wait another 6 months for approval of their adjustment of status applications. Those living abroad should apply for an immigration visa through a US consular office, a process which also takes 6 months. Once the status application adjustment has been approved or the immigrant visa has been received through consular processing, the investor and their family receive conditional green cards within a few weeks at their US address.
In just a few months’ time, however, things are set to change.
On November 21st 2019, the minimum investment for ordinary EB-5 immigrants will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million. There will also be an increase in the minimum investment amount required in TEAs, from $500,000 to $900,000.
There will also be a change in the regulations for the transition from a temporary green card, stipulating that family members must submit their own temporary green card. The USCIS will also allow EB-5 investors to use the priority date of previously approved visa applications in subsequent applications, unless the Department of Immigration has cancelled the approval of the previous immigration application because of fraud or error.
Fantastic opportunities await skilled and enthusiastic Hong Kong jobseekers in the US — and Simard & Associates can help. We are a Hong Kong-based professional immigration intermediary for clients in Canada, North America and other popular and desirable immigrant countries. Get in touch today and see how we can accelerate your brand-new life in the US!