Some of the benefits of a U.S. Green Card include:
- All legal permanent residents enjoy the same rights and benefits as every other lawful resident of the United States.
- The U.S. is a safe harbor for your family as well as for your personal and business assets. Any member of your family with a Green Card can enter the United States at any time and stay as long as he or she wishes.
- Green Card holders have complete access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes.
- Green Card holders may travel to the U.S. without the need of a visa.
- Green Card holders may work, live, or own their own businesses anywhere in the United States.
- The U.S. has internationally recognized colleges and universities for both undergraduate education and graduate study. As a permanent resident, Green Card holders can benefit from lower tuition costs associated with U.S. residency.
- The cost of living in the U.S. is less than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services, and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and goods in most other countries.
- Green Card holders may work in the U.S. while they attend college and then continue to work afterwards, enabling the student to pay for part of his education and to work while attending graduate and postgraduate studies.
- The U.S. provides many financial, social and education entitlements – public schools, health and medical attention, social security, and education.
- Green Card holders have the ability to bring other family members to the U.S. after proper application, and can obtain U.S. citizenship by investment after 5 years of residing in the U.S.
- A Green Card requires no renewal or re-application. Other U.S. non-immigrant visas, such as E-2 and H may never result in permanent residency, have time limits, and require additional filings with USCIS or the Department of State.
Once you obtain a permanent Green Card, you have most of the rights and obligations of U.S. citizens, except that you cannot vote and are not entitled to some public benefits.
You are subject to the same tax filing requirements and entitled to the same tax rates and deductions as U. S. citizens. To migrate from Green Card to citizenship through Naturalization, you must be a Permanent Resident for at least five years and have been physically present in the United States for thirty months during the five years prior to the naturalization application.
All permanent residents should remain in the U.S. for more than 6 months out of the year, or they may be deemed to have abandoned their permanent residency status and lose their Green Card.
Once a Green Card is received, there are only two conditions under which it can be taken away. First, if you become “removable or inadmissible.” The most common way of doing this is to be convicted of a serious crime. The second requirement is based on the amount of time/months you spend in the USA vs. somewhere else. As long as you are not planning to make your home somewhere else, then legally you are still a resident of the United States.
As a general rule, if you have a Green Card and leave the United States for more than one year, you may have a difficult time re-entering the country. To avoid a full-scale inspection, you should return within six months. It is a common misconception that to keep your Green Card all you need to do is enter the United States at least once a year. The fact is that if you ever leave with the intention of making some other country your permanent home, you give up your United States residency when you go. The USCIS will look to your behavior for signals.
Yes. Green Card holders and those who are physically present in the U.S. for at least one-half of each calendar year are considered to be residents of the U.S. for tax purposes. U.S. tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income. However, assets are not taxed until they are sold and generate capital gains. The U.S. and India have a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. We recommend that EB-5 visa investors seek professional tax advice to address their individual tax situations and enable proper tax planning.
Green Cards should only be obtained by people who are planning to live in the U.S. If you live and work in the U.S., you will not be taxed as a resident in India, therefore avoiding potential double taxation. In a situation where a family is availing of EB-5 green card, if the main earner wishes to stay in India, he should avoid getting an EB-5 Green Card or using the U.S. investor visa program for India. For example, in a family of four in which the father is the main wage earner, only the mother and the children could avail of EB-5 green cards, thereby avoiding the potential of U.S. taxation on the father.
EB-5 stands for Employment Based Immigration 5th Preference. It was introduced in 1990 under the Immigration Act for the purposes of granting EB-5 Green Cards by investment in the U.S.A. to non-American citizens across the world. The U.S. grants approximately 10,000 EB-5 visas every year under this program with a quota of 700 EB-5 investor visas reserved for each country.
The EB-5 program is the fastest and easiest way to obtain a Green Card.
A single EB-5 investment can provide Green Cards for your entire family, including spouse and children below age 21.
EB-5 visa investors holding U.S. Green Cards by investment have complete access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes.
EB-5 visa investors may work, live, or own their own businesses anywhere in the United States.
The EB-5 visa Investor has the ability to bring other family members to the U.S. after proper application, and can obtain U.S. citizenship by investment after 5 years of residing in the U.S.
The EB-5 Green Card requires no renewal or re-application. Other U.S. non-immigrant visas, such as E-2 and H may never result in permanent residency, have time limits, and require additional filings with USCIS or the Department of State.
The program is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, aka USCIS.
The statute and regulations can be accessed via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov.
Yes. You do not need to have any prior business or educational experience in order to qualify for the EB-5 Investor Visa Program. You do not need to speak or read or write English. But you must be able to invest a minimum of $900,000 of “white money” into a qualified EB-5 regional center project, be able to prove the lawful source of funds for this capital, and that project must create 10 jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The investor, spouse and all unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive U.S. Green Cards by investment through a single $900,000 EB-5 investor visa U.S.A. investment.
Any child over the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 visa petition is considered to be an adult and is therefore not allowed to accompany the principal EB-5 visa investor as a dependent child. If the EB-5 visa investor files the I-526 before the child turns 21, and if there is no waiting list for EB-5 visas, then it may be possible for the child to remain with his parent’s EB-5 investor’s visa U.S.A. process. One should consult a U.S.-based EB-5 immigration attorney for more clarity on this issue.
A parent who obtained an EB-5 U.S. Green Card by investment could file an immigrant visa petition for family reunification for a child who is over 21 and unmarried. However, this process involves a wait of at least 7 years for children born in India. Alternatively, if the adult child marries a Green Card holder or U.S. citizen, he or she would be eligible for a marriage-based Green Card. The fastest way for adult children to get a Green Card is for them to file their own separate EB-5 investor visa U.S.A. petitions, if funds are available.
Rejection per se in the past does not disqualify the applicant, unless the reasons are related to immigration fraud.
There are two main ways —
- i) The Direct Investment Route – The Direct Investment Route is appropriate only for aspiring immigrants who wish to set up their own businesses in the U.S., which will create at least 10 direct jobs.
ii) The EB-5 Regional Center program – The EB-5 Regional Center program is safer, faster and far more hassle free. Job creation is easier, as the EB-5 regional center project can count indirect as well as direct job created. It requires a minimum investment of $900,000, as well as payment of an Administrative Fee of up to $70,000 and legal fees of up to $30,000. Under this route you need only invest in an EB-5 regional center project approved for the purpose by USCIS. Nothing else is required. As a qualified EB-5 visa consultant in India, USettle can advise you on the EB-5 Regional Center program and recommend qualified EB-5 immigration attorneys.
An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization, designated and regulated by USCIS, which facilitates investment in job-creating economic development projects by pooling capital raised under the EB-5 green card by investment in U.S.A. program. EB-5 visa projects must affiliate with a Regional Center.
EB-5 Green Card investments that are affiliated with EB-5 Regional Centers are made through private placements – the sale of securities to a small number of investors. A private placement memorandum written by an EB-5 immigration attorney is developed that details the investment offering, including detailed explanations of the EB-5 Regional Center project that will be funded along with disclosures of risk and material information consistent with all applicable federal and state laws. The economics of the EB-5 Regional Center project related to EB-5 visas specifically – the expected job creation – are also detailed in the memorandum. In some cases, the issuer of the private placement memorandum is an EB-5 Regional Center itself. In other situations, the issuer is a business entity that will be receiving the investment funds and is affiliated with an EB-5 Regional Center.
Yes. EB-5 investor visa U.S.A. funding is a lower cost form of capital than domestically available alternatives, which is the main reason that Regional Centers and EB-5 investor visa U.S.A. project developers go to the effort and expense of raising money from large numbers of foreigners.
As of 21 November 2019, when investing through an EB-5 Regional Center, the minimum capital investment requirement for an EB-5 visa will be $900,000 when you select a project in a designated rural area or Targeted Employment Area (TEA). For other projects not meeting these criteria, the capital investment requirement for an EB-5 visa will be $1.8 million. For obvious reasons, virtually all EB-5 Regional Center projects are located in TEA’s and require only a $900,000 investment.
No. USCIS only vets EB-5 Regional Centers and EB-5 visa projects for their job creation capabilities. EB-5 visa investments must be “at-risk” just like any other types of investments and any sort of guarantee is prohibited. Therefore, an EB-5 Regional Center that guarantees the return of the investment capital risks disqualification by USCIS and must be avoided.
It depends on the EB-5 Regional Center and project, but it should take between 5 to 7 years. Your funds must remain “at risk” until your I-829 petition for a “permanent Green Card” is approved. If the EB-5 Green Card project that you have invested in has completed before this event, the EB-5 Regional Center will reinvest your funds somewhere else so that they do remain at risk, which can prolong the potential repayment period.
It typically takes EB-5 Green Card investors at least two months to go through the source of funds process, make the investment, gather the necessary documents, and file the I-526 petition. Most petitions are approved in about 24 months. One can then apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. or an immigrant visa overseas. Adjustment of status for EB-5 visa cases can be processed in about 6 months but can sometimes take longer. The immigrant visa at the American consulate requires up to 6 months. Overall, the EB-5 visa processing time takes about two to three years.
Yes, it is recommended that you seek advice and guidance from a qualified U.S. EB-5 immigration attorney. They are required to document your source of funds, and to assist you in filing your petitions with USCIS. If you file on your own, you may risk a higher chance of being denied, or you may be swamped with requests for additional evidence. This can be time consuming and costly. There are many experienced U.S.-based EB-5 immigration attorneys who specialize in the EB-5 visa process.
In order to complete the EB-5 immigration process and receive your U.S. Green Card by investment, investors must go through three steps:
Step 1 of EB-5 Program Requirements:
USCIS Form I-526 – Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. This is your first official step in the EB-5 investor visa U.S.A. process, after completing your Accredited Investor Questionnaire, choosing a Project, signing all of the proper documents to subscribe to an EB-5 Regional Center Project, and placing your funds in escrow with the project. The I-526 Application is submitted to the USCIS by your EB-5 immigration attorney along with supporting documentation that clearly demonstrates that your investment meets all EB-5 investor visa program requirements.
Step 2 of EB-5 Program Requirements:
USCIS Form I-485/Consular Review. After receiving approval of the I-526 Application, EB-5 visa investors already residing in the U.S. may submit a completed Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) to the USCIS. For EB-5 visa investors residing outside of the U.S. – the process is similar but requires the EB-5 green card investor to apply for an immigrant visa at the US Consulate in their country of residence.
Step 3 of EB-5 Program Requirements:
USCIS Form I-829 – Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. One year and nine months after initial I-526 approval, green card by investment in U.S.A. investors can file a completed Form I-829 with the USCIS to have conditions removed from their Green Card and establish permanent residency. With this petition, the EB-5 visa investor must demonstrate that the investment was sustained throughout the two-year conditional period and that job creation requirements were met by the EB-5 Regional Center project. During this process, the EB-5 visa investor is aided by their chosen EB-5 Regional Center in providing the requisite documentation. Upon approval of the I-829 application, full permanent resident status is given to the EB-5 green card investor and his or her spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age.
The purpose of these EB-5 program requirements is to ensure that the EB-5 green card investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional EB-5 Green Card is issued. At the interview, the consulate officer may address these issues as well as ask about information printed on the I-526 application. For example, he may ask about the EB-5 regional center project the applicant has invested in.
EB-5 green card investors must be “accredited investors.” The term “accredited investor” means any investor meeting at least one of the following conditions:
any person who can demonstrate an annual income of $200,000, or $300,000 for joint income, for the last two years with expectation of earning the same or higher income. An individual must have earned income above the thresholds either alone or with a spouse over the last three years.
any person who has a net worth exceeding $1 million, either individually or jointly with his spouse.
any person who is a general partner, executive officer, director or a related combination thereof for the issuer of unregistered securities.
any person who can demonstrate sufficient education or job experience showing his or her professional knowledge of unregistered securities.
There is no single source of funds that is required for an EB-5 visa investment. USCIS finds various sources of funds acceptable including savings from accumulated income, gifts and real estate secured loans – as long as the source of funds is lawful and the path of funds well documented. The USCIS’ standards for source of funds are strict and working with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney is essential in preparing an approvable source of funds report.
Yes, an EB-5 green card investor can use funds earned and deposited in the U.S. but will still be required to prove the lawful source of funds. If the EB-5 visa investor was in the U.S. while on work visa status, he or she must demonstrate that the salary was earned while holding valid work visa status.
Yes, but you must also demonstrate that the gift is an actual transaction and that the gifted funds will not be given back after you obtain an EB-5 green card. The source of the gifted funds used for the EB-5 U.S. Green Card by investment must also be extensively documented.
An escrow bank account is a holding account established in a reputable bank. EB-5 green card investors must transfer $900,000 (plus the amount of their administrative fee) into the EB-5 regional center Project Escrow Account before filing the I-526 petition for an EB-5 visa. This process requires the EB-5 visa investor to prove that the funds have been invested in the U.S. Typically, proof of invested capital consists of wire transfer receipts and confirmation of funds letters issued by the bank.
You must prepare complete biographical information and must prove the source of the EB-5 visa investment funds. To prove the source of EB-5 green card investment funds, USCIS requires five years of personal and business, if any, tax returns; proof of ownership in any businesses; and business licenses. You must present a track record of an honest course of dealing. If your capital used for the EB-5 immigration process came from a specific transaction, such as sale of a house, inheritance or gift, you must prove the transaction occurred by providing an official document, such as a closing statement or contract or other official documents. This is not an exhaustive list. Other documents may be required for U.S. citizenship by investment and vary on a case-by-case basis.
The most common problem area has been insufficient documentation of the source of funds used for U.S. citizenship through investment. Many people try to disclose the least possible information only to have the file returned with a request for further information. It is better to provide too much information rather than too little information. In this era of terror alerts, and suspicions about money laundering, USCIS case examiners require a well-documented source of funds for your EB-5 Green Card.
A conditional EB-5 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 an I-829 petition with the USCIS to verify that all of the funds used for your U.S. Green Card by investment have been invested and maintained and employment created. When the EB-5 conditional resident status has been lifted, full permanent resident status is granted, and a permanent green card is issued.
A “conditional green card” is also called a “provisional green card.” Either way called, it offers the same rights and privileges as that of a “permanent green card”. One year and nine months after it is issued, a three-month window opens up during which an individual must file an I-829 petition with the USCIS. The I-829 verifies that all of the required funds have been invested throughout the stated conditional residency period and the requirement of creating ten new American jobs has been met. Once the I-829 petition is approved, the applicant’s EB-5 Green Card status becomes permanent, and the EB-5 immigration process is complete.
The EB-5 green card investor is free to travel in and out of the United States subject to the rules applicable to permanent residents. Specifically, the EB-5 visa investor must actually have a residence in the United States and must not be outside the United States for a continuous period of one year or more.
Yes, the EB-5 green card investor and his or her family enjoy the benefits of public schools and resident tuition at State universities once the conditional EB-5 green card is issued.