About ten thousand wealthy foreign nationals obtain U.S. visas that can lead to permanent-resident green cards each year by utilizing America’s EB-5 program.
Under the program, foreign nationals must invest at least a half-million dollars and, in some cases at least a million, in order to qualify, The L.A. Times reports:
“The EB-5 program was created in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation.
“Foreigners can qualify for permanent U.S. residency — a green card — if they invest at least $1 million in a new business venture that creates at least 10 jobs. The threshold drops to $500,000 for investments in high-unemployment or rural areas.”
EB-5 immigrants can obtain U.S. residency for their spouses and unmarried children (under 21).
Congress created the EB-5 immigrant visa category to benefit the U.S. economy by providing an incentive for foreign capital investment that creates or preserves U.S. jobs. The process begins with applicants filing an “Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” (I-526) petition.
Requirements of EB-5 Visa:
- $1,000,000 minimum investment in new business venture that creates at least 10 jobs,
- $500,000 minimum investment in high-unemployment and rural areas,
- File I-526 petition with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for approval,
- Complete proposed two-year investment project,
- Apply to State Dept. for visa,
- Obtain green card
I-526 applications dropped 14% from 2016 last fiscal year. 11,321 of the 12,165 applications were approved. The number of visas issued under the program is capped at “approximately” 10,000 annually.
According to research cited by The L.A. Times, from 2014-2015, the EB-5 visa program contributed:
- $11.2 billion in capital investment
- 207,000 U.S. jobs,
- $33 billion in gross domestic product and,
- $4 billion in tax revenues.
While there is a seven percent cap on visas granted to any single country, in 2016, more than 82% of the applications came from mainland China, followed by a mere 3% from Vietnam and 2.7% from India.
The six countries subject to the Trump administration’s travel ban are excluded from the program:
- Syria and