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What is the EB-5 Investment Visa Program?

The Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) visa is a type of immigrant visa category (USA Visa for Investor) issued by the government permanent residency/green card program intended to encourage the flow of foreign capital into the U.S. economy and to promote the employment of workers in the United States. Foreign nationals and their families are eligible to become permanent residents and citizens of the United States in exchange for investing in a business that creates jobs for the people of the U.S. In simple terms, the EB-5 visa program mandates that an individual or family looking to obtain U.S. permanent residency/green card must together invest a passive (refundable) investment of $800,000 USD for a limited time into an approved project or business enterprise. This investment must create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens. A spouse and minor children under the age of 21 can be included on one application with an investment of $800,000 USD, and each member of the family will earn their own Green Card. Commonly, the investor invests in a bonafide business (a new commercial enterprise) which will work to create the required jobs in the geographical area where the business is located. The investor is not simply investing in physical real estate. Such business/project is generally administered by a regional center. Even when investing in a construction project, the investor is providing funds for use by the developer (or business) and the funds are not going towards owning a piece of the real estate.

How do you qualify for EB-5 Visa Program?

It is a very liberal program with no restrictions based on nationality for the EB-5 visa Program. Any foreign national may apply. In the past, approvals have been witnessed for different nationalities including those within the recent Executive Orders and Travel Bans. The EB-5 program doesn’t have any upper age restrictions for the applicants and no language test is required for applying under the program. To qualify for the EB-5 program, the investment must be in a new commercial enterprise/project. The investment is at least $1,050,000 USD unless the enterprise/project is located in a targeted employment area (TEA) or rural area (RA), where the investment must be at least $800,000 USD. The principal requirement under the EB-5 program is that the funds for the investment must be accrued from a lawful source of income. Any unaccounted or unexplained funds are not accepted under the EB-5 visa program. Evidence must support the legal acquisition of investment funds. Essentially, it is shown that the investor’s funds are from clean, legal, and transparent sources of income.

What is the EB-5 process and how long will it take to Obtain EB-5 visa?

The initial application is called Form I-526 for the conditional green card. This application outlines both the investor’s source of funds documentation and information on the project in which they have invested their $800,000 USD investment. After holding the conditional green card for around two years, investors must file Form I-829 for the unconditional/permanent green card. This application is essentially a check-up to ensure that the investor has invested $800,000 without withdrawing the funds, and their funds were invested into a legitimate business that was able to hire the required 10 full-time jobs for U.S. persons. The transfer of the required investment of $800,000 USD and sponsorship fee is made before submission of the I-526 application to USCIS. Confirmation of the investment transfer is included with the I-526 application. Technically, the investment must remain in the business enterprise for a minimum of two years period. After which as per the latest program regulations, the applicant is allowed to withdraw the investment amount. However, generally, the projects have a specified time during which they will require the investor to keep the investment in the project. Generally, this is for 5 years. The required timeline is clearly stated in the project documents, which the applicant/investor signs with the host Parent Company/Regional Center before investing in the EB-5 visa program.

Minimum residency requirement for Permanent Residency in the USA:

One must land in the U.S. at least once every six months to keep the permanent residency/green card status active and the U.S. must be the intended place of permanent residency and citizenship. After five years of holding the green card, an application for U.S. Citizenship can be filed. To apply for U.S. Citizenship after five years, one must stay in the U.S. for a minimum of 2.5 out of 5 years. This period begins when one receives their initial conditional green card.

Timeline and Fast-track processing:

The usual processing time for I-526 application approval is 24 to 36 months for approval, although the US government is making this more efficient. However, there are limited opportunities to invest in projects that are eligible for fast–track or “expedited” processing. Once USCIS approves a request for expedited processing it shortens the processing time for initial conditional green card approval by more than half with an average of less than twelve (12) months. There are only certain projects which are eligible for fast-track processing. These are projects that the government considers relevant and important from a national and state point of view, or these projects fall under any of the reserved categories. Therefore, the investments in these projects are highly valued and the government may agree to process these investor applications faster. Usually, these projects fall under sectors like agriculture, government infrastructure, and healthcare. The government will also be giving priority to investors in rural projects.

Apply for the EB-5 Visa with trusted experts:

As the leading EB-5 visa consulting firm in the UAE, in addition to the fast-track project, Step Global also has residential, hotel, and infrastructure projects from the industry’s best Regional Centers which have a 100% track record of green card approvals and a full refund of funds to their past investors over the years. We currently have projects available in all categories to suit every individual investor. Our vast legal and EB-5 network allows us to provide not only expert service but exclusive projects, including those where we have successfully received approvals on expedited processing requests for many clients. Our lawyers are happy to sit down with you to properly put a plan in place for your U.S. EB-5 journey. Under the aegis of our Managing Director, Ms. Preeya Malik who herself is a U.S. lawyer specializing in the U.S. immigration statutory framework, we have a 100% track record of approvals and over 12+ years of experience in the EB-5 industry, making us well–positioned to provide clients with the expertise necessary for success.

Why choose Step Global Group?

  • 100% track record of approvals
  • Owned and operated by a US Licensed Lawyer
  • 12+ years of experience in investment immigration
  • 9+ years here in the GCC servicing the Middle East, India, and Africa

For more information on immigration services provided by Step Global visit

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