Immigration through Investment - The EB-5 Program

Most people are aware that one can obtain permanent residency and immigrate to the United States through family or employment sponsorship. But an exciting yet lesser known way to obtain the U.S. green card is through investment of at least US$500,000 in a business enterprise that creates a least 10 new jobs. This program is known as the EB-5 Immigration through Investment Program.
The Immigration through Investment program grants non-Americans and their immediate family members (spouse and children under the age of 21) permanent residency in the United States and the path to U.S. citizenship in a very timely manner. To apply, an immigrant investor must invest at least $1 million in a commercial enterprise and create a minimum of 10 direct U.S. jobs in the process. But if the investment is made in a specially designated "targeted employment area" (TEA) suffering from high unemployment or economic crisis, then the immigrant investor is required to invest only $500,000 and create 10 direct jobs. The immigrant investor and his/her family are then issued a "conditional green card" to immigrate to the United States. After two years, the conditional status is removed upon a showing that the investment created at least ten full-time permanent jobs for U.S. workers and "unconditional" or permanent green cards are issued.

Regional Centers:

To simplify the program for foreign investors and allow for more efficient investment, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has designated certain areas throughout the country as "Regional Centers." Regional Centers are operated by independent investment companies that generally pool individual investments into real estate and business opportunities to diversify their investment risk. An immigrant who invests in a USCIS designated Regional Center must still invest $500,000 and demonstrate the creation of at least 10 direct or indirect jobs after 2 years. However, the immigrant is not required to live in the Regional Center, but can choose to reside anywhere in the United States, and moreover, is not required to "run" a business. Often for a fee, the independent investment companies at the various Regional Centers maintain the investments, and provide the information needed to demonstrate the creation of at least 10 direct/indirect jobs when the investor immigrant seeks to remove the conditional status on his/her green card.

There are three stages to obtaining permanent residency through investment:

  1. The investor must submit a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
  2. Once the investor's I-526 Petition is approved, he or she will be given a U.S. Consular Interview appointment for biographical and medical review, or if in the U.S., receives an adjustment of status, and the immigrant visa will be stamped in the investor's passport and issued a conditional green card.
  3. Two (2) years from the date that the investor is granted a conditional green card and enters the U.S., he or she must submit Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, to demonstrate that the investment has satisfied all the requirements of the U.S. immigrant investor program in order to receive his or her permanent green card.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting program, contact us to set up an appointment and come in to discuss.

Relief from Delayed FBI Name Checks:

Have you had your naturalization interview, but been told that a decision on your application for naturalization cannot be made because your FBI name check has not been completed?  Have you been waiting months, even years for Immigration Services to give you a decision? If so, you don't have to continue to wait in vain.  There is a way to compel the U.S. government to complete your security clearance and adjudicate your immigration or naturalization application.

Under the federal law, the government must make a decision on your naturalization application within 120 days after conducting your naturalization interview.  However, backlogs in FBI name checks have meant that for many naturalization applicants, the 120 days has long since past without a decision being made. In these instances, we have successfully filed many actions on behalf of our clients in U.S. Federal Court to compel the government to adjudicate applications that have been pending far too long  -  that is, to compel the government to do what they are required to do under the law.

If you are one of these people, contact us to set up an appointment and come in to discuss and to see whether you might benefit from filing such an action. We are experienced litigators, and are ready to help.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

Attempts to pass immigration reform legislation have failed, and debate on the issue will likely will not be re-revived until after the
2008 Presidential elections. In recent months, President Bush and Congress had taken on the task of reforming the current U.S.
immigration laws. At issue were the millions of illegal and undocumented aliens currently living and working in the U.S., as well as overwhelming back logs in applications and concerns about border security. In May 2007, the U.S. Senate passed a bill, entitled the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611), that in part, provided a path to permanent status for 1.5 million seasonal agricultural workers, hundreds of thousands of eligible undocumented high school graduates; and a path to legalization for at least 9 million currently undocumented workers and their families. The bill also expanded the mandatory detention regime; and placed significant restrictions on the voluntary departure program and on naturalization.

This bill, however, collapsed under debate, and it appeared that passage of any bill on immigration would not happen this year. After lobbying by the President, a bipartisan group of senators "revived" the bill and put it back on the floor of the Senate for further consideration. However, after further debate, the bill once again collapsed, and effectively ended any possibility of passing immigration reform legislation this year.
 

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