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Are You Eligible for an EB-5 Investor Visa?

11th February 2011
By Stanley Hermosillo in Immigration Law
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EB5 investor visa eligibility is based on the amount of legal funds available for foreign investors to invest in the United States. It is a fast-track process to becoming a permanent U.S. resident. This article will outline some steps you can take if you are considering applying for the EB5 program.

An Eb-5 Investor Visa is a United States visa green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. These individuals should have at least a million dollars to invest and have a company that will employ at least ten people. The amount needed is reduced to $500,000 for businesses that are located in a rural location, or an area with a high level of unemployment. This is done to help stimulate economic growth and job creation through capital investment.
Creating a Business Plan
The first step in getting an Eb-5 Green Card is to create a viable business plan. The business model should include at least ten full-time employees, and should be formulated to be profitable and sustainable. A failed business may result in a revocation of a work visa prior to earning an EB5 investor visa. Consult a professional to help create your business plan if you are unfamiliar with writing them. An immigration attorney can also help determine if the money that will be used can legally be invested.

An Immigration Investor Program
For those individuals who do not want to run a business, investors can also take part in the Immigrant Investor Visa by giving at least $500,000 to a group that runs an existing project or business (known as regional centers). These regional centers provide money to a targeted employment area that has a high rate of unemployment. An immigration attorney can determine which option is better, start the application process, and help to submit all proper documentation to the U.S. Consulate and other authorities.
Which Forms to Fill Out
Form I-526 is used to provide proof of a new business venture through legal investment funds. This form shows that at least ten jobs will be formed (excluding you or your family members). It can also be used when purchasing an existing business that will maintain at least 10 jobs. Another form, I-485, will be used to adjust the residency status to conditional U.S. resident while participating in the program. This form requires proof that the required amount has been invested. After this form is successfully completed, applicants will receive a conditional green card. Finally, form I-829 removes conditions from the green card after the program has been completed.

Tax Considerations
In the United States all income is taxed, and all but four states charge a state income tax. Because of this, any investment may be liable for taxation. Most risk of double taxation is eliminated with treaties and exemptions. However, it is still wise to consider the tax implications of becoming a U.S. citizen first. It may be helpful to consult a tax advisor before making any significant investments. This is particularly true if you will still be working or investing in your original country after becoming a U.S. permanent resident.
With the Immigration and Nationality Act, there are 10,000 immigration investor visas available each year. This visa allows a foreign national, his or her spouse, and unmarried children under 21, the ability to become permanent United States residents. Instead of taking several years, the EB5 investor visa process can take as little as nine to fifteen months, making this one of the fastest routes for immigrants to obtain legal Unites States residency status. In addition, there are a small number of structured programs to assist potential investors, helping to make this process even easier.
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