What is an Immigration Investor Program?

Daphne Mallory

The immigration investor program is a phrase commonly used to refer to the EB-5 Investment Green Card Immigration Visa. Applicants for this visa in the United States can obtain permanent residency status and green cards as long as they invest at least $1 million US Dollars (USD) in qualified employment areas and create at least 10 new jobs. Once the visa is granted, the immigrant is often able to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants the visa if it approves the Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, Form I-526, which the visa applicant must submit. Up to 10,000 visas can be awarded each year to qualified immigrants who want to take advantage of the immigration investor program.

An EB-5 visa is a path to obtaining a US green card, which grants him or her permanent resident status in the US.
An EB-5 visa is a path to obtaining a US green card, which grants him or her permanent resident status in the US.

Immigrants who are seeking an EB-5 visa are often referred to as alien investors. They utilize the immigration investor program to engage in a new business enterprise, which is often seen as a benefit to the United States because new jobs are created. The EB-5 visa differs from other employment-based visas, in which the applicant wants a visa to work in the United States based on special skills and abilities or an advanced degree. The applicant must often show the ability to create and the capital investment necessary for qualified employment areas. The USCIS can deny a petition if the jobs that the investor wants to create do not meet eligibility requirements.

The USCIS also approves EB-5 visas if the investor agrees to create jobs based on a geographical region. The investor must often work with an approved regional center, which is an entity approved by the USCIS that focuses on the economic growth and job creation of a specific region within the United States. The applicant must often show that his or her investment will result in increased exports as well as new jobs in the area. The investor can show that some of the jobs would be created indirectly as a result of his or her investment. The $1 million USD capital investment requirement is often lowered if the region targeted is a rural area, such as to $500,000 USD.

Once the USCIS grants an applicant a visa for the immigration investor program, it will often assign an immigration visa number. If it denies a petition, then no number is assigned and a denial letter is sent explaining the reasons why the application was denied. The applicant can file an appeal with the appropriate appellate jurisdiction, which is stated in the denial letter with instructions for an appeal.

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