Entering the United States through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program has never been easier or more secure. Step Global’s Dubai-based specialists will walk you through the visa process from application of your initial green card (I-526 application) to removal of conditions (I-829 application).

EB 5 Visa Program – Benefits

For those wanting to become permanent residents of the USA and who may even want eventual citizenship, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers a route through investment for you, your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21.

EB 5 Visa – Requirements & Costs

The requirements for the program are that you make an investment of $800,000 USD into an approved EB-5 project within the United States. Step Global has exclusive projects in a variety of categories including infrastructure, healthcare, hospitality, residential, agriculture, and more. Some of these projects will qualify for priority processing under the new regulations as of March 2022.

EB 5 Investor Program Processing Time

Please note that visa processing time may vary but typically initial applications are approved within 60 days and can take up to six months to process. See below for the full EB-5 process and contact us today for details on costs with a free consultation with our lawyers and specialists.

Investment AmountUSD $800,000 (can be paid in parts)
Investment TypeUS EB-5 Approved Project
ChildrenYes (Under 21 years of age at time application is submitted)
ParentsNo, but can be sponsored after Citizenship
Processing Time24 to 36 months (average)

12 months (Expedite Projects)
Physical Residency RequirementsLand once every 6 months to maintain residency.
Live 2.5 out of 5 years for Citizenship
Length Of Status ReceivedNon-expiring green card/permanent residency
Permanent ResidencyImmediately
CitizenshipAfter 5 years of Permanent Residency
Specific Program RequirementsMust show the legal source of funds
Nationality DisqualificationsNo
Dual CitizenshipYes
Your Journey

EB-5 Visa Process

EB-5 Visa Dubai USA Process
There are three main steps in the EB-5 visa program process that an immigrant investor should be prepared to complete to become a U.S. permanent resident, along with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
  • Complete investor questionnaire
  • Evaluate project documents
  • Compile source of funds documentation with an attorney
  • Complete subscription documents
  • Transfer funds to the project escrow account
  • Attorney files 1-526 Petition with USCIS
  • Receive 1-526 Petition approval
  • Attend interview at U.S. Consulate
  • Immigrate to the U.S. and receive
  • two-year conditional green card
  • Reside in the U.S. as a temporary resident for two years
  • Attorney files 1-829 Petition with USCIS to remove conditional resident status
  • Receive 1-829 Petition approval & permanent green card
  • Investors return, determined and distributed pursuant to the Limited Partnership Agreement

How do I qualify for the EB-5 visa program?

  • You must invest USD 800,000 in the project which falls in any of the reserved categories of targeted employment area (TEA) / rural / infrastructure. Any project outside the said reserved categories requires an investment of USD 1,050,000.
  • Your investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.
  • Your funds must be from a lawful source of income.

Do I need to take a language test to be eligible for the EB-5 investor visa program?

No, to date there are no language requirements to apply to the EB-5 program.

Is there a minimum age to apply to the EB-5 visa program?

No, to date there are no age restrictions for the EB-5 program.

What is the EB-5 investor visa process?

EB-5 program process comprises three main stages. 

In the first stage, your initial I-526 petition for a conditional green card is filed with USCIS and you finalize the project in which you will invest. At this stage, we compile your initial case summary and prepare your I-526 and G-28 forms for filing. Simultaneously, we share with you the investment project documents for your review. Once you have reviewed the project, you sign the subscription documents as well as the I-526 & G-28 forms. The wiring instructions are provided to you for the transfer of the investment amount and administrative fee to the U.S. escrow account of the project. Upon confirmation of receipt of funds from the project, we attach this confirmation with your I-526 application and file the initial petition. 

The initial approval of your I-526 petition normally takes around 24 months. Upon approval, you enter stage 2. At this stage after receiving I-526 approval, we schedule your interview with the nearest consulate and/or embassy. The interview is mainly for the physical verification of all the applicants. After the interview, the visa is stamped for entering the U.S. Once you land in the U.S. you obtain a conditional green card for an initial two-year period. Please note that you will be entitled to the same privileges and benefits as a permanent resident even on a conditional green card. 

After holding the conditional green card for two years period, the final stage kicks in. 90 days before the expiry of the second year of the conditional green card, we apply for I-829 which is the petition for the removal of conditions on the green card. These are very general conditions, as the Government wants to verify if there is any kind of misrepresentation by the applicant in the application or if there is any criminal activity by the applicant during these two years in the U.S. The government also checks whether the applicant’s investment is still in place or not and whether 10 jobs have been created or not by that investment. Once the petition is approved, the applicant receives the final unconditional green card which is permanent in nature. By this time the investment term is also generally over so the investment is refunded to the investor as per the terms and conditions of the initial subscription agreement. 

How much does an EB-5 visa cost?

Any type of loan is allowed as long as the loan is backed by legal supporting documents like a loan agreement etc. 

Can I take a loan for the EB-5 visa?

Any type of loan is allowed as long as the loan is backed by legal supporting documents like a loan agreement etc.

What is the processing time for an EB-5 visa?

Processing times may change depending on the number of applications and the US government’s ability to review and process approvals. On average the processing time is between 24 to 36 months.

What are the benefits of an EB-5 visa?

  • Visa-free travel to the US and Canada
  • Freedom to live and/or work in the US while keeping another residence if desired in another country
  • Freedom to not live/stay in the US as minimum stay requirements are landing once every 6 months as per the regulations of the US Customs and Border Patrol
  • Children have the right to attend free public education
  • College-aged children can apply for scholarships, grants, and domestic tuition rates in public post‐secondary institutions
  • Option to acquire US Citizenship and passport after 5 years of holding the green card if 2.5 out of 5 years have been spent in the United States
  • Benefits extended to the investor’s family, including the spouse or partner, and all children under the age of 21

Do I make the investment before or after applying to EB-5?

The transfer of your USD 800,000 capital is made prior to the submission of your I-526 application to USCIS. The confirmation of your transfer will be included in your application. However, depending on the project sometimes partial funding is also allowed. This provides investors with the flexibility to enter the application queue immediately while continuing to fund the total investment in instalments over time through a payment plan.

What happens to the money I invested in the EB-5 program?

The commercial enterprise is using your funds. Withdrawal prior to the fulfilment of the two-year conditional period will result in a denial at the I-829 phase.

When do I get my money back?

Should any or all parts of your investment be returned, it can only happen after the sustainment period and/or I-829 petition is filed to ensure to the US government that your funds were invested over the series of years. Each business enterprise has different terms and thus can have a different outcome. The terms of repayment should be specified in writing within the offering documents and legal contracts signed by both the developer and investor at the time of initial investment.

What return on investment will I get?

Most developers with a good track record and years of experience in the EB-5 program will offer low returns because they have an abundance of prospective investors and are not in the need of additional marketing tools such as a higher rate of annual return to bring in investors.

Can I have my EB-5 application rejected?

Yes, your EB-5 application can be rejected. This scenario can be avoided by placing the application in the hands of reputable immigration consulting firms which have a robust track record in obtaining a US green card for their clients. Such firms understand the intricacies of immigration laws and protect the client’s investment against EB-5 rejection to the extent possible, thereby greatly mitigating any potential risks. These experts conduct thorough due diligence on the investor’s source of funds, to give EB-5 applicants the greatest chance of success.

What are the current EB-5 application approval rates?

Please check the USCIS website to find out the current approval rates.

If my EB-5 application is rejected, can I have my money back?

If your application is denied, the capital investment which was placed in the U.S. escrow account will be returned to you within a commercially reasonable period of time. The terms of return of capital investment in case of rejection should be specified in writing within the offering documents and legal contracts signed by the investor at the time of initial investment. Any Sponsorship, legal, and consultancy fees will be deemed non-refundable upon payment.

Can I bring my parents on an EB-5 visa?

No, fathers and mothers are not considered immediate family for the purpose of the EB-5 program. Only the investor’s spouse and children under the age of 21 may receive a green card based on the investor’s application. Once you become a US citizen you may then apply for the entry of your family members such as your mother, father, and siblings. Other options are feasible, and we encourage you to contact a Step Global team member to discuss them.

How many EB-5 visas are issued each year?

There is a limit on the number of green cards that can be issued. The EB-5 Program gets allotted about 10,000 visas every fiscal year (from October 1 to September 30 of the following year). On top of the limit per-visa category comes a per-country limit whereby each country can only get 7% of the visas which means that each country can get about 700 visas per year. When there are more applicants than available visas, the government establishes a cut-off date. Because of its ease and the abundant benefits provided by a green card, over the past few years, the EB-5 program has become very popular for those wishing to gain legal status in the US, creating a retrogression or backlog for some nationalities.

Will the university tuition fees be lower with EB-5 for my children?

Yes, an EB-5 student green card holder is considered a domestic student and thus pays significantly less for college and university tuition than international students. For instance, undergraduate residents at the top public university in 2022 – the University of California – Los Angeles – pay approximately $13,268 in annual tuition, compared to approximately $43,022 for international students. This means that you can save approximately $30,000 on a yearly basis per child. A student holding a U.S. green card and willing to obtain a master’s degree will save up to $150,000 within five years. This benefit is especially helpful for families who choose to send multiple children to the US for post-secondary education.

Can I travel to the US while my EB-5 application is pending?

Yes, you can travel in and out of the US while the EB-5 application is in the process if you have a valid visitor visa. Once your I-526 petition is approved and a conditional green card is issued you can live in the US while awaiting the approval of your I-829 petition for you to become a US permanent resident. 

As of March 15, 2022, the US government also introduced the concept of Adjustment of Status (AOS) Concurrent filing for EB-5 applicants. This means that those already in the US on any legal visa status can apply to adjust their status from within the US while waiting for their EB-5 application to be processed. Along with this submission, they can submit an Employment Authorization Card and Travel Document. Within months, the applicant will have the ability to legally live and work in the US without employer sponsorship while they wait for their EB-5 green card application to be processed and their visa to be obtained.

Can I apply on an EB-5 visa while on an H1-B visa?

Yes, you can apply for an EB-5 visa while on an H1-B visa or F-1 visa, or E-2 visa. Contact a Step Global lawyer to know more about the process.

Can I leave the US once I become a US permanent resident?

Yes, you can leave the US if you are a green card holder. However, you need to land in the US every 6 months to maintain your permanent residency status. If you are unable to visit the US once every 6 months, contact a Step Global team member to discuss options.

Is a permanent resident the same thing as a green card holder?

Yes, a US green card holder is a US permanent resident. The EB-5 program is an Employment-Based permanent residency U.S. visa, also known as a green card which allows the holder to live in the US permanently.

Can I get US citizenship once I have my green card?

Yes, you can become a US citizen if you get an EB-5 visa. You can apply for US citizenship after five years of being a permanent resident. As an EB-5 investor, this period begins when you receive your initial conditional green card.

How can I get US citizenship?

In order to apply for US citizenship, you must stay in the US for two and a half years out of five years as a permanent resident or a green card holder. This is easy for students who are already studying in the US.

Is my application for US citizenship guaranteed?

Generally, your application for US citizenship will be approved should you meet all requirements of the USCIS. However, under some circumstances, your application can be rejected. For instance, if you have been convicted of a high crime or did not spend two and a half years out of five years in the US.

How many years is my EB-5 green card valid?

A green card holder can live permanently in the US.

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