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Business investment-based US green card program is popular with Indian and Chinese investors to bypass the long queues for their countries in employment and family-based categories.
This article will discuss:
EB5 Investment Rules
#1 Investment Amount
- Rural Areas or targeted employment areas: Investment of $800k required.
- Urban Area: A $1+ million investment is required to be eligible for an EB5 Green card.
The Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor (Form I-526) petition form is required to file your application.
#2 Priority Date Retention (multiple EB5 petitions)
If you have multiple approved EB5 petitions, then you can use the earliest priority date, which is the date on which the petition was properly filed.
You cannot port your EB2 or EB3 PD date to the EB5 application.
Example: If you have filed a new EB5 application due to circumstances beyond your control (for instance, DHS might have terminated a regional center associated with the original petition), or might choose to do so for other reasons.
#3 Managerial Control / Money at Risk
Your investment for the EB5 Green card should be at risk, meaning that it is invested in a real-time business.
You cannot keep money in a bank account or a Robinhood stock investment account and then use it for EB5 investment.
#4 Full-time jobs for 10 workers
Your company should create 10+ full-time jobs in the USA for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (Green card holders), or other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States like H1B or L workers.
You cannot count on yourself, your spouse or your sons or daughters to satisfy this 10-employee requirement.
How to Collect EB5 Funds
You will need at least $800k to file your EB5 Green card. Realistically, you will also need an additional $50k to pay for the attorney fee, USCIS fee, and EB5 project admin fee.
Realistically, plan for at least 850k to have in hand to take the jump for EB5 investment.
There are various creative ways of collecting funds for your EB5 Investment. We share some of them which are not commonly known to people.
#1 Use 401K Money
You can use your 401k directly as the EB5 investment. The most important thing to understand here is that the project you invest in should be available as the investment in your 401k provider portfolio.
If you choose Behring’s real estate building project in San Francisco as the EB5 investment project, then this project should be available as the investment with your 401k provider.
Most employers have big names like Fidelity as their providers. If Fidelity does have Behring as one of their investment options, then you would not be able to invest your 401K money for EB5 purposes.
What’s the solution then?
The solution is to move your 401K money from Fidelity to a provider that has the specific project that you chose for EB5 as an investment option. To find this 401K provider, you can ask the EB5 project’s team as they have all the information.
As an example, the Alto IRA has the Behring’s EB5 project listed as an investment.
So, you would need to move your 401K money from Fidelity to Alto IRA to use it as an EB5 investment.
Can I move my 401K to another provider If I am currently working for the same company?
That’s a problem. You can only move the amount of money in your 401K to another provider which is not from your current employer. This is an IRS rule and has nothing to do with USCIS Fidelity or any other 401k Provider.
#2 Roth IRA
You can use the same strategy as we mentioned for 401K above for using your Roth IRA for EB5 investment.
#3 EB5 Project Unsecured Loan
Most EB5 project companies also give you an unsecured loan at the market rate. This can then be used as the EB5 investment in your name to become eligible for the Green card.
You can get a loan of up to 300k for an investment of 800k. You will have to put in your own 500k.
This loan follows the market APR rate and is usually 3-4% above the normal APR.
As of the date of writing, the APR for this loan is 11%-18%.
#4 Money from India/China or Home Country
You can get money from your home country like India or China by selling your assets there.
- Sell Home Country Property – Many people sell their homes or other property to collect money for EB5.
- Mortgage/ Loan on the property – The other way is to take a loan on the property in the Home country and then use it to fund the EB5 project in the USA.
- Borrow from Family & Friends – You can also borrow from relatives, parents, or friends but will need all their proofs of income which may be a little cumbersome to collect.
This is allowed as long as you can prove that money to buy a home was earned legitimately and no taxes are due to the respective home country government.
#5 Other Sources
Whatever sources of money you use, make sure that it is the legitimate source as you will need to submit proof of it.
EB5 Green Card Processing Time
These times can vary but we have provided an estimate based on our understanding.
- EAD & AP:
- 5-6 Months to get EAD for work, 10-12 months to get Advance parole for travel.
- Conditional Green Card:
- Consider 2-6 years based on your EB5 sub-category and the status of your visa bulletin.
- If your EB5 priority date (I526 receipt date) is current in the visa bulletin, then you are eligible for a 2-year conditional green card.
- Your i526 will not be approved until the date gets and remains current.
- Final Green Card
- Your I526 should be approved.
- You will have to apply using the I829 form and request to remove conditions from your conditional green card. This can take several months/years too based on USCIS processing time.
- Your time on a conditional green card should be counted for your Naturalization/Citizenship but you can’t apply for citizenship until your I829 is approved.
Child Age Protection Using EB5
Your child’s age will be locked when you file I485 with your I526 application. The child should stay unmarried until they get the greed card though.
If you are working on H1B in the USA and have the money to sponsor yourself for the EB5 business investor program, you can apply for an EB5 visa.
I know many people working on H1B and L visas in the USA from India and are actively thinking about investing to get a green card faster than their PERM-based employment green card.
If you have the money for investment, I strongly suggest filing it instead of relying on the bills to remove country-based Green card limits.
USCIS does not allow porting the H1B EB2 priority date to EB5 green card applications.
Unfortunately, you will have to start fresh in the EB5 queue based on your country of birth.
Yes, you can file both and have both EB3 and EB5 applications pending at the same time.
You can withdraw your EB5 I-526 if you get your Green card using any other queue.
The EB5 funds may still be locked in as per your financial deal with the EB5 project company. Note that they usually package everything together and do have a 5-year lock-in to withdraw money. You should read the documents carefully to understand how will you get your money back.
Help from Other EB5 Applicants?
I would strongly suggest connecting with fellow Indians and or Chinese who have already filed the EB5 application to understand better from their experience.
- Raja Rajavel (LinkedIn) – EB5 India
- Has been very helpful in sharing his EB5 details with the community.
- Has even created groups to help other people.
I will keep updating this list as I get to know more people who are ready to share their experiences with EB5.
Ask them in the comments and I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.