EB-5 Visa: What Is It and How Might It Change?

The EB 5 visa which also happens to be known as the immigration investor program is a visa which is mostly utilized by entrepreneurs. In this visa, the investors along with their spouses and unmarried children are invited to apply for the permanent residence if they meet certain criteria. It has been stipulated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that people who are apply for the EB 5 visa must make the investment in a commercial enterprise.

Immigration is everything involved in this program, however, there are additional requirements involved too.

The EB 5 visa is a small program which falls under the legal residence program and according to the USCIS data, out of 1,000,000 new legal permanent residents 10,000 became permanent residents under the EB 5 visa. There are speculations that now there are certain changes which would be incurring to the EB 5 program in the future.

However, the official wants to restrict the option for this visa from being used in the regions which aren’t urban centers, by increasing the investment amount from $500,000 which was the minimum amount back in 1990 when it was introduced.

The changes that are speculated to be occur haven’t been confirmed as of yet, and it can be seen in the near future only.

At the time when it is getting tougher to get permanent residence in the US, this visa might be the surest way, at least for the riches.

Any foreigner can qualify for the program and a green card, if they are to invest at least $ 1 million in a new business which is creating at least 10 jobs. However, the amount has dropped to $500,000 for investments in the high employment areas.

In order to apply for the visa, the investor needs to file a petition known as I-526 to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The investor can apply to the State Department if they petition is approved which will eventually allow permanent residence on conditional basis. After the investment project meets its requirements, the investor gets the green card. The entire process can take up to two years.

The numbers of green cards issued are capped by the government and usually stay at 10,000 each year. Not more than 7% of the total can come from any country.

In the year 2017, the immigration received 12,165 petitions which is down 14 per cent from 2016. Around 11,321 petitions were approved.

The visa is available for people from all the countries except for the six countries due to the travel ban by Trump administration, which are Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

More than 82 per cent of the applications came from China in the year 2016. In fact, the 7% cap caused the backlog of many of the Chinese applications.

The next big applicant pool came from Vietnam at 3% and then from India at 2.7%.

It has been said till now that the visa program is only for the rich but some say that Trump administration will take a move and would increase this program’s popularity to other countries too.

India has a rather big share of the H-1B visa which have become fairly harder to renew now after the US government has launched a vetting process for the computer programmers.

The officials have said to be seeing an increase of 60% in the interest for the US investor visa program among the applicants who are living in Arab countries.

The chances of getting to be the permanent residence in US are short so people aren’t going to wait till next year before they start applying for the investor program.

The world is looking for a “safe heaven” even if that costs them $500,000.

The visa program alone has generated around $11.2 billion in the capital investment between the time period 2014 and 2015 for certain development projects in the US.

It has also said to have created 207,000 US jobs and there is 4% growth in the private job sector between 2014 and 2015. It added $33 billion to the GDP and $4 billion in the tax revenues.

The program has received many criticisms over the years and many have said that it has been duping foreign investors and not spending the cash correctly that was to go to the job creating projects.

There have been proposals made to add more protections and there should be an oversight program which would be more secure for the investors.

Many people have also questioned that some of the projects which comes under the USA EB 5 program would have happened anyway with the domestic investment.

Certain advices have given to increase the investment amount to $1.25 million or $925,000 in rather distressed areas or rural ones.

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