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EB5 Immigrant Investor and B1 Visas Compared

07th July 2010
By Tim Kennedy in Immigration Law
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The fifth preference employment based visa (EB5) was created in 1990 as a way for foreign investors to gain United States permanent residency (and eventual citizenship if desired), through an investment in a new or pre-existing American business that sees the creation of at least 10 new full-time jobs for American workers. The B-1Visa allows a foreign citizen to enter the United States if they will be "participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States". In this article we will take a closer look at the B-1 and Eb5 Green Card visas to see how their paths to a Green Card Visa compare and contrast.

B-1Temporary Business Visitor Visa - As per the government's website, the B-1 Visa allows a foreign citizen to enter the country if they will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
1) Consulting with business associates
2) Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates

3) Settling an estate
4) Negotiating a contract
5) Participating in short-term training
6) Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
7) Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa
Eligibility Criteria - You must demonstrate the following in order to be eligible to obtain a B-1 visa:
1) The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature

2) You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time

3) You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States

4) You have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit

5) You are otherwise admissible to the United States

EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa - In stark contrast to the B-1 Visa, lays the Immigrant Investor Visa. According to the government's web page, to qualify for the EB5 Visa Program you must:

1) Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (A Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as "a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
2) Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.

3) Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
4) Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy - for example as a Limited Partner, corporate officer or board member.

We see in this comparison that the B-1 and Eb5 Visa Program are very different in nature and offer disparate paths to a Green Card Visa. While the B-1 allows a foreign citizen to enter the country in order to temporarily participate in business activities, the EB5 visa relies on an immigrant's investment to create new full-time jobs for the American workforce.

This article was written by Terry Martin. For information on earning a Green Card Visa through the Immigrant Investor Visa, also known as the Eb5 Visa Program, he recommends you visit
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