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Houston Investment Immigration

eb-5 program

immigrant permanent residents

Houston Investor Visa Lawyer

Investors and entrepreneurs seeking entry into the United States, whether long-term or short-term, face unique challenges in the immigration process. The process of investing is complicated, involving tremendous time commitment, especially if you are not familiar with it. Further, without experience, you risk making errors that could lead to the denial of your visa request. Make sure you hire with an experienced team of lawyers to help you through the process.

We love helping investors get their business ideas in the United States. The US regulatory scheme for investors makes sense in facilitating investment in the United States and creating jobs.

Useful resources:

  • EB-5 Job Creation Individual Investment

  • EB-5 Job Creation Regional Center Investment

The Investment Scenario

Most investors start with an immigration attorney as they want to start a business or purchase an existing business in the United States. Investors recognize that running a business involves job in the United States and requires a visa.

Preliminary Steps: Does the Investor Need a Visa?

An investor will usually need to come to the United States to either investigate potential businesses to buy, or to review conditions firsthand for starting the business. Investors from other countries could utilize the Visa Waiver Program or the B-1 business visa. Both these programs specifically allow visiting the United States for the purpose of negotiating contracts and reviewing business opportunities. We would normally recommend the B-1 business visa as the better option because it allows for change of status, which will be explained later.

What Is the Appropriate Investment Visa?

Once an investor has reviewed the opportunities for investing, we can give you suggestions on the appropriate visa. For investments of $500,000 or less, the only appropriate one is the e2 visa program, provided that the investor is from a treaty country. For those who would like to invest more capital, or for investors from non-treaty countries, the the main alternative is the EB-5 Green Card program.

E-2: Visa or and adjustment of status

When the investor has negotiated all the details and is in the position to sign a contract, an immigration lawyer is now essential. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) both have regulations that govern the required terms for your contract to be successful in the investor status category or visa process of investing. There are two ways to file it. Firstly, an investor can file for an investors visa with the US consulate in his home country. On the other hand, if the investor is in the United States on the visa, they can apply for an adjustment of status to become card holders by investing.

Stages of the Process for Investor Visa

Filing for an adjustment of status is often a good idea if the investment is close to the USCIS or DOS minimums for investments. In principle, the standard for evaluating investors status is the same. In practice, it frequently appears that the USCIS is more willing to give investors a chance than the DOS. It is frequently a deliberately better choice to obtain an investor status, and build up the business for a half year to a year. With the business working well, we can then re-apply the submission to the USCIS or the DOS with the updated financials. In this way, the investor can have the benefit of the investor visa and the ability to travel.

E-2 Investor Status: Functional Lawful Permanent Residence

Accomplished this way, an e2 investor status can be practically equal to being a lawful permanent resident. As long as the investor owns the business and operates it profitably, and has US employees, the USCIS or DOS will renew the investor status or investor visa program. The investor’s spouse may also receive work authorization from the USCIS, and their children may attend schools in the United States as well.

True Lawful Permanent Residency through Investment

Congress designed the eb5 immigration visa program to provide an immigrant visa for the investor and their family in reward for a significant investment in the United States that provides full-time employment to US workers. The program has two tiers. Investors invest in areas where the US unemployment rate is high are offered an incentive of a lower investment threshold, presently $500,000. Otherwise, investors must make an investment of $1 million. In both cases, it must result in the creation of 10 full-time jobs for a period of two years for US workers.

Regional Center EB-5 Investment

While it is possible to obtain an EB-5 through direct investment, such as purchasing or creating a business that meets the employment goals, the vast majority of investors choose to make investments through regional centers. USCIS approves regional centers to develop projects that meet EB-5 job creation requirements in areas of high unemployment. A regional center can package the eb5 program investor’s capital with other EB-5 investors to finance larger projects, such as commercial real estate development of a hotel or office building.

There are more than 800 companies that have filed with the USCIS for regional center designation. Some companies have national projects, while other companies restrict their projects to a single state.

Evaluating Regional Center EB-5 Investments

As an immigration law office, we find the following questions helpful in assessing a regional center in terms of its ability to deliver an EB-5 Green Card to the investor. These include:

  • What number of USCIS approvals of the initial EB-5 petition?
  • After two years, does the USCIS agree with the regional center that it created the necessary jobs through the removal of conditions process?
  • Has a regional center returned any investment funds to the investor after he or she received their Green Card?

Division of Labor in the EB-5 Investment Visa Application

Understanding this perspective provides a simple division of labor in helping the EB-5 investor program that is interested in qualifying through regional center investments. We can provide you with a definitive shortlist of regional centers that have successful immigration track records. The investor can then use their sophisticated financial skills to analyze the proposed investments in a regional center. Once the investor has identified the most promising investment from the shortlist, we guide the investor through the eb-5 visa program process to its conclusion successfully. After its approval, we can then help you with consular processing or adjustment of status.