The EB-5 Visa Program, also known as an “EB-5 Visa”, enables the right of permanent residence in the USA (Green Card) and facilitates the process of obtaining American citizenship. The Program is considered by immigration specialists to be one of the fastest, most practical and profitable for those looking to live, work and invest lawfully in the USA.
EB-5 Visa requirements
This type of visa is aimed at foreigners and their direct family members (spouse and dependent children under 21).
To apply, the foreigner must make a minimum investment in a business in the USA that generates 10 or more jobs, in addition to other requirements established by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The minimum investment established by the Program for Brazilians is US $ 900 thousand. The amount must remain applied to the chosen business for up to 5 years, after which it can be redeemed.
To guarantee the minimum investment (US $ 900 thousand) it is necessary to respect some. One of the requirements of the EB-5 Program is that the amounts are directed to the so-called TEAs (Target Employment Areas). TEAs are areas where the US government prioritizes investment in an attempt to accelerate economic growth (usually areas with high unemployment).
The minimum amount was not always US $ 900 thousand. When the program was created in 1990, it established a minimum value of US $ 500 thousand. Only recently has it been updated (2019). The increase was aimed at adjusting the value to the reality of other similar visas in the world (the USA was the country where this type of visa was one of the cheapest compared to the major economies in the world). The update also took inflation since 1990 into account.
The investment can be made passively, that is, through already established Regional Centers. Regional Centers are private, for-profit entities created to carry out the EB-5 Visa Program projects. They use the investment to generate jobs in certain areas of the USA. There are several regional centers in the USA and the choice must be careful. An important precaution is to make sure that the Regional Center is, in fact, certified by the government.
There is great misunderstand about the EB-5 Visa Program and investment in real estate in the USA. Some foreigners believe that, just because they invest the minimum amount required by the program in the purchase of luxury Real Estate in Miami or in any other place in the US, they would already be entitled to the Green Card. This information does not proceed.
The purchase of a property itself does not bring any immigration benefit (or harm).
The fact of investing a certain amount does not meet all the requirements of the EB-5 Program. As mentioned, the investment must be made in a business, generate jobs, the chosen activity must be eligible for the program, among other requirements.
However, there are businesses in the real estate sector that meet the requirements of the Program. Some real estate new constructions in Florida allow the foreigner to participate in the venture as an investor. In this case, the foreigner is not buying a property, but investing in the real estate business, within the profile required by the EB-5 Program. That is the case of Legacy Hotel & Residences in Downtown Miami.
How long does it take to get Green Card through EB-5 Program?
The first step is to find a good office, specialized in the EB-5 Program, to guide you through the entire process. It is not enough to hire a generic immigration lawyer. The EB-5 Program is considerably judicious and specific.
In conjunction with your lawyer or EB-5 Visa Program consultant, you must file petition I-526 and wait for approval, which can take 12 to 18 months. Once the petition is approved, it is possible to ask the National Visa Center for an interview at the American Consulate to obtain permanent residence visas. This process can take another 6 months. At this stage you have already obtained the right of residence, but you have not yet completed your project in the EB-5 Program, which will last for about 2 more years, a period in which all requirements must be met. After all the steps have been completed, you can reside in the USA and even apply for citizenship after 5 years of residence.
How may I apply for the Program
AMG International Realty works in partnership with the best US law firms, specializing in the EB-5 Program. If you want to learn more, contact us today: +1 308 318 6968 (Heloisa Arazi).