The Basics Of The U.S. Investment Visa

Law Blog

Like many developed countries, the U.S. offers visas that are intended to drive investment in the nation. These are fundamentally considered to be employment visas, and the most common ones have the designation EB-5, which refers to fifth-level preference that's employment-based. In that regard, the government expects people who immigrate using these visas to be actively involved in development on the ground. Here are some basic things every investor visa attorney will want their clients to know.

How Much Must You Invest?

Recent changes in the program to keep up with inflation have been implemented. The minimum for standard investments is $1.8 million as of 2019, and investments in regions that are considered targeted employment areas (TEAs) is $900,000. Likewise, the government plans to make inflation adjustments to the program every 5 years.

What Is a TEA?

Targeted employment areas are distressed regions in the United States where unemployment is higher than in significant portions of the rest of the nation. The goal of creating TEAs is to direct immigrants to invest in those specific communities. Notably, a TEA must be defined by the federal government, and the Department of Homeland Security does not take into consideration similar designations by state or local governments.

Employing People

As previously stated, the goal of the program is to drive employment. The investment must be sufficient enough to provide at least 10 full-time jobs for workers in the U.S.

Permanent Resident Status

You can use your investment visa to apply for a green card. This will provide you with a path to permanent residency if you so desire. Individuals who wish to obtain permanent resident status may file with the government for consideration. Under modifications to the program, family members of investors will now have to file their requests for permanent resident status separately.

Nonimmigrant Visas

In addition to the EB-5 program, there is an alternative system for those not seeking green card status. This is called the E-2 visa. The EB-5 visa does not require regular renewal, but the E-2 does. If you use an E-2 visa, you must leave the country once the venture you've invested in has reached the stage of completion.

You may, however, petition for an EB-5 visa or pursue a different type of visa. In some cases, nonimmigrants seeking new visas may be asked to leave the country before starting the reapplication process. An investor visa lawyer will generally encourage clients to go the EB-5 route, if possible.


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