USCIS provides a Green card to the individual and immediate family members allowing the right to live and work in the USA. As a Green Card holder, you need to have this identity proof with you at all times. As an Indian, here are some categories through which you can apply for a Green card.
- Green card through a U.S. residing family
- Green card through work
- Green card through investments
- Green card as an extraordinary immigrant
- Green card as a refugee
EB-5 Visa Allotment Process
EB-5 Visa is an investment-based visa allotment where you need to invest in a business and generate profits to grant your Green card. A total of 10,000 visas are available for the eligible applicants, and the process is comparatively faster.
The Primary Eligibility Criteria For EB-5 Is As Follows-
- You should be either investing or in the process of investing $1,800,000 or $900,000 ($500,000) (the lower, $900,000 investment is permitted in “targeted employment areas,” or “TEA”);
- You must produce 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Your family members or relatives will not be counted for this job.
- You must produce documents that certify that the money has come from legitimate resources.
- Your entire amount must be “at-risk” in the project.
- You can either invest in an old failing business or a new enterprise.
- You should be involved in the managing duties of the projects
If you qualify for these conditions, you can apply for the Eb-5 Visa. Your application process will have the following milestones-
- Find the project you want to invest in
- Invest the required amount as your immigrant lawyer files petition I-526 on your behalf.
- Once I-526 is approved, provide information as asked by the authorities for the conditional and file either form DS-260 or Form I-485 for adjustment of your status.
- Get your conditional Green card for the next 2 years
- Now apply to get the conditions removed from your Green card by filing an I-829 petition 3 months before the expiration of your conditional visa.
The process is somewhat complex and requires you to pay a nonrefundable fee as well. Therefore, it is advised to hire a lawyer to ensure that you don’t make a mistake that can delay your Green card.
The day USCIS authorities receive your application will be the priority date you will use to check your processing time. You will have to wait for the monthly release of the visa bulletin by the Department of States, which enlists Final Action Dates for the type and the country. You will have to wait until the processing dates match your passes the final action date for your category.
The Family Status
Those who get the Green card get it for life. In addition to that, as an investor, you can also get the Green card allotted to your family members, including spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age, once you passed the mandatory 5 years completion period.
As per the U.S. immigration guidelines, parents, investors in the projects, and immediate relatives of EB5 visa holders are not considered immediate relatives and can not accompany you to the USA.
How Much Time Do You Need To Spend In USA As A US Citizen
As an LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident), you are to spend most of your time in the USA while spending less time outside the country. If you happen to spend more than 6 months outside the USA, you will be thoroughly questioned on re-entry. If you have to travel outside the U.S. for over 6 months per year, it is recommended to get your re-entry permit.
How Long Does It Take To Get An EB-5 Visa
Eb-5 Visa has a long waiting time. The average process time to get your hands on a visa is approximately 2 years. Once you have gone through the documentation right, your application will be processed in 18-24 months.
Here is the table for defining processing time for the visa allotment process
|1st month||Investors agree and invest money in the project to satisfy the “at risk” condition|
|1st month||Immigration law firm help you with I-526 application for immigration petition from USCIS review|
|18 to 24 months||The investor receives the I-526 approval and completes the process for the 2-year conditional Green card to live and work as a permanent resident|
|Two years after entering the U.S.||Investor file for the removal of conditional resident status and prove the job creation requirement has been fulfilled as per the criteria|
|After filing I-829||The investor receives the Green card post-approval of 829 within 12-24 months|
|5 years after I-829 approval||After 5 years of permanent resident status, the investor can apply for the naturalization process to claim U.S. citizenship|
How to Interpret the USCIS’s Published – NEWS
USCIS releases the estimated time range on how long it will take the USCIS to adjudicate an I-526 petition. The lower number will signify the time required for reviewing 50% of applications, and the higher number will signify the time required to review 93% of applications.
The report issued does not reflect the current application status but for the applications filed 2 months before the issuance of the report. The USCIS also reports the Historical Average Processing Time, having data from all the offices reflecting the length of time the applications have been pending.
The future of the application and the time is variable, and thus, it is advised to beware of the regional centers and representatives who are saying that they can get your application processed quickly.
Who does not need to read the visa bulletin?
- A spouse, parent, and unmarried child below 21 of a U.S. citizen do not need to follow the visa bulletin
- A spouse or unmarried child, or U.S. cardholder will have to wait for an extra 12 to 18 month for visa processing
- In other categories, wait time may differ from year to decades depending upon the availability
Category wise visa bulletin distribution
The priority categories are as follows-
F1 (first preference): Unmarried adults (age 21 and over) who are children of U.S. citizens. The cap for this category is 23,400 Green cards per year.
F2 (second preference): Spouses and unmarried children of Green cardholders. The overall cap for this category is 114,200 Green cards per year, but it’s split into two sub-categories:
- F2A: Spouses and unmarried minor children (under age 21) of Green cardholders. If you are a Green card holder who has applied for a Green card for your spouse, this is the category you’ll need to watch when you check the visa bulletin. 77% of the second category quota goes towards this F2A sub-category (that’s 87,934 Green cards per year).
- F2B: Unmarried adult children (age 21 and over) of Green cardholders. 23% of the second category quota goes towards this F2B sub-category (26,266 Green cards per year).
F3 (third preference): Married children of U.S. citizens, regardless of age. The cap for this category is 23,400 Green cards per year.
F4 (fourth preference): Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. The cap for this category is 65,000 Green cards per year.
From 31st March 2020 onwards, a new amendment was made to change the first-in, first-out basis and the processing of I-526 availability. According to this rule, countries with applications more than the visa availability having the backlogs were set aside. This threshold is usually 7% off the overall visas.
As a result, the official website now reflects different reports for the petitioners who applied at the same time. One is from mainland China and India, while others are from the rest of the countries.
Is Premium Processing Available
One can get their application processed early within 15 days by paying the relevant fee for premium services. However, the option is applicable for certain Green card categories only, and thus, premium processing is NOT applicable on an EB-5 visa.
Is Hiring A Lawyer A Good Decision?
The visa application is expensive and complex. A minor mistake can cost you your visa or long waiting lines. Therefore, it becomes essential that you hire a lawyer to help you get through this complex process at once.
Apart from the lawyer, we also suggest hiring an accountant who can help you manage the financial statements and taxes on assets and income. Both a lawyer and an accountant will work together to deal with significant tax, finances, and additional liabilities implications.
Conditions That Can Increase Your Waiting Time
- Simple errors- Simple errors like leaving a column empty can make your process long, and you also lose your money.
- Requires evidence- The USCIS might call you for missing a copy of an essential document or produce the legitimacy of the funds you have and your project’s future. Make sure that you powerfully present your case, as these small mistakes can increase your waiting time.
- Fee issues- Check with the USCIS site for the I-526 petition column to ensure that you pay the correct fee to the right people, including the biometric fee. Having an experienced attorney will make sure that no such problems arise with your application.
How To Choose An EB5 Regional Center?
Here is how you can select the regional centers-
- Research about the proposed EB5 visa projects and visit the site for inspection instead of relying on the regional center’s employees.
- Examine the previous project performance of regional centers and the project managers and team that performed successfully.
- Check if the business model proposed to you have performed well in the past or not
- Look for a sound exit strategy
- Redeployment strategy for investors from the countries with visa retrogressions
- Try to initiate a project you are familiar with, like the hotel industry, real estate development, etc