EB 5 Immigration Attorney
Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.
Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: January 6 2020, Last Updated on: January 27 2020.
An Attorney can assist you if you are pursuing a visa via the immigrant investor program. Here, the experienced attorneys at Manji Law explain everything you need to know about the EB 5 program.
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Foreign nationals requiring the assistance of an EB5 Investor Lawyer fall into a very specific niche. Although many people wish to relocate to the U.S. in the hopes of a better life, to join family, or pursue an education, some are looking for entrepreneurial and investment opportunities. The EB 5 program offers a great opportunity for such individuals while simultaneously creating jobs for U.S. workers.
The EB-5 visa program, also known as the Employment-Based Fifth Preference Category, was produced to draw in foreign capital to create job opportunities and further benefit the United States economy. There are two very specific routes for immigrant financers to earn the status of lawful permanent residence: the Basic Program and the Regional Centers Pilot Program.
With years of experience in immigration law, the skilled and sympathetic attorneys at Manji Law, P.C., can help you effectively navigate the complexities of EB-5 immigration and obtain an investor visa.
What Is the EB-5 Investor Program?
The EB-5 program provides visas for those individuals, and their families, who want to invest in the United States. Both the Basic Program and the Regional Center Pilot Program require the immigrant to make a financial investment, the size of which depends upon whether the financial investment is in a Targeted Employment Area [TEA]. TEA is defined as a rural area or one that has unemployment of 150 percent of the national average or higher.
According to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): “EB-5 requirements for an investor under the Pilot Program are essentially the same as in the basic EB-5 investor program, except the Pilot Program provides for investments that are affiliated with economic units known as a “Regional Centers.” Regional centers are designated by USCIS for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program. These investments allow for a less restrictive job creation requirement based upon the creation of “indirect” and “direct” jobs.”
To qualify for the EB-5 investor visa program, investors must prove that their financial involvement will benefit the U.S. economy in some way. Additionally, they must either:
- Invest $900,000 in an existing or new commercial enterprise or business in the U.S. or a TEA
- Invest $1.8 million in either an existing or new commercial enterprise or business in the U.S. designed to create at least ten full-time jobs
- Invest in any of the Regional Centers designated by the U.S. government
Additionally, because job creation is a major aim of the EB 5 visa program, ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers must be created or preserved for qualified workers by the investment in the new business or commercial enterprise. This must be done within the two year period following your admission as a Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR).
In order to have the conditions of your residence removed and become a lawful permanent resident, you must fulfill certain “physical presence” requirements. This means that you cannot spend more than a certain portion of the two years preceding your application for full lawful permanent residence outside of the United States. If you are absent from the United States for long periods of time, USCIS may find that you do not have the intent of establishing permanent residency in the United States. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can help you prove that you have met the requirement that your investment must create jobs in the U.S.
Because of the U.S. government’s concerns about money-laundering, you can expect United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the source of funds you plan to invest. A skillful attorney can help you compile the necessary documentation to show that your source of funds is legitimate.
If you have an H1B nonimmigrant visa, you can apply for an EB-5 investor visa, and further status adjustments in the U.S. Speak with a lawyer to determine whether your situation meets the criteria to become an EB 5 immigrant investor and receive further consultation and advice he can provide.
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EB 5 Investor Process: How to Apply for a Green Card
The multi-step EB 5 process you must follow depends on whether you are currently in the U.S. Those outside the country must complete a couple of additional legal steps.
If you are currently within the U.S., you can submit a Form I-526, which is the Immigrant Petition for Alien Investor, and a Form I-485 (the application to become a lawful permanent resident) at the same time. If you are outside the U.S., you must go through consular processing in order to complete the EB 5 process. This involves traveling to a designated U.S. embassy or consulate between submitting your I-526 and I-485 forms.
Once there, you will complete an online DS-260 immigrant visa application and interview with a consular officer who will ask questions about your background, your plans, and your investment. This process is used to determine whether you have a legitimate case.
A qualified EB-5 immigration lawyer can provide invaluable assistance when you are intending to get a green card (also known as “permanent residence”) using this method. U.S. immigration law is complex, so having a knowledgeable attorney to help you understand the requirements and guide you through the process is vital.
Understanding the EB5 Process
The EB5 process can be a complicated one, and it is best to consult with an expert immigration attorney to ensure your paperwork and supporting documentation is in order. Your I-485 (application for a green card or “permanent residence”) and I-526 forms can only be filed at the same time if your priority date (which is the date the USCIS receives your petition) is current. A monthly bulletin regarding the final action dates of each category of the green card is released every month by the Department of State.
After two years, you can submit an I-829 Form, which is a Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. This needs to be done within 90 days of the expiration. Discuss your options with an EB 5 investors legal counsel to improve your likelihood of being approved for a green card/permanent residence based on your EB 5 visa.
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Why You Need an EB5 Lawyer
An EB5 lawyer will provide you the edge you need to improve your chances of being allowed to immigrate to the U.S. There are only 10,000 EB5 visas available for investors and their family members each immigration fiscal year. This period ranges from October 1 to September 30. Since each investor typically has two family members apply, the number of EB 5 investment visas allotted for investors around the world is 3,300. This makes the field fairly competitive for foreign nationals interested in obtaining a visa using this method.
To ensure you have all possible aspects of your immigration process covered, you would be wise to hire a law office with a range of experience dealing with immigration issues, including Atlanta deportation and Georgia immigration detention centers.
How to Apply for a Visa EB 5
In order to successfully complete the Visa EB-5 process, there are several steps that every prospective immigrant must follow, regardless of where he/she is located. These include:
- File the I-526 petition
- Await I-526 approval
- Submit I-829 petition
Applicants and Investors who are not within the United States must obtain their visas through consular processing. They need to complete two additional steps:
- Become documentarily qualified
- Wait for visa numbers
Hiring an experienced EB 5 immigration legal counsel can smooth the EB 5 process for investors when you decide to immigrate to the U.S.
EB 5 Visa News: Late 2019 Update
On November 21, 2019, there was EB 5 Visa news. As with all sections of immigration, the laws and how they are interpreted are continually being updated and changed. The Immigrant Investor Program was altered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to include:
- Previously-approved petitions of certain investors retain their priority date when they file a new petition
- Minimum investment requirements have increased to account for inflation and will increase every five years
- Changes made to TEA designations to direct investments to areas that need them most
- Clarifying rules regarding family members and their permanent residence removal conditions
There are a few additional changes, and an EB 5 investors lawyer is the best person to explain if and how the changes may affect your application.
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Outlining the EB5 Timeline
When you are in the process of navigating immigration, one of your primary concerns is likely the EB5 visa timeline. Generally, this includes the processing time for the I-526 and I-829 forms. The wait time on the I-526 is 16 months or more, and the I-829 is at least 18 months. Retaining a skilled lawyer can improve your chances of submitting the correct documentation for the first time, and thereby ensuring that you do not lengthen the process.
To choose an EB-5 immigration lawyer who is the right representative for your particular case, check out a few websites to determine who you feel will provide you with the best guidance. You can learn more about Manji Law on our About Us page, including our legal specialties and why we practice immigration law.
What Affects the EB5 Waiting Time?
A major applicant concern is the EB5 investment visa waiting time. There are several variables included in the calculation of the wait times for visas, and most of them fluctuate. This makes predicting your wait time an approximation, at best. They include:
- Volume of qualified I-526 applicants
- Volume of family members joining the process
- Denial, death, or withdrawal of applicants
- Order in which petitions are received, earlier applications receive shorter wait times
Keep in mind that the wait time predictions are estimates. They do not guarantee that your application will be processed by a certain date. With so many potential delays, EB 5 investors will want to make sure your application is completed and filed correctly the first time. The assistance a qualified legal representative can provide is crucial to the process.
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Retain EB 5 Attorneys to Make the Difference
There are many reasons for hiring law firms with knowledgeable EB 5 visa attorneys. A lawyer will help you complete the application, collect your documents, file your petition, and make all the necessary payments to complete the EB 5 process. He will also oversee unforeseen issues like a Request for Evidence (RFE). When you are making a million-dollar investment, hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference.
In the event that you receive an unfavorable decision, EB 5 investors law firm can help outline your options. If you discover new documents or evidence that may affect the decision on your EB 5, you can file a motion to reconsider. If you believe the evaluating officer was biased or incorrect in the decision to deny your petition, you can also file to reopen your EB 5 case.
Since the decision to reopen a case (EB 5 or otherwise) must be made from a proven legal standpoint, it should only be attempted with an attorney’s assistance. Contact the office of Manji Law, P.C. for more information on how you can obtain an EB 5 visa and qualify for permanent residency in the United States.
Atlanta Immigration Resources
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