The last of the employment based green card categories is the Fifth Preference Employment Based (EB5) category. While it is referred to as an employment category in actuality it is an investment based classification. This category, commonly referred to as the “Million Dollar Green Card”, offers the only option to aliens who wish to petition for a green card based on an investment made in the United States. A maximum of 10,000 EB5 green cards may be issued annually to alien investors. A petition for classification as an EB5 “alien entrepreneur” may only be filed by the alien on the alien’s own behalf.
In order to qualify for an EB5 visa the applicant must establish and engage in a new commercial enterprise by investing $1,000,000 in that enterprise, and create ten new full-time jobs for United States workers witih 2 years. In certain circumstances the required investment may be increased to as much as $3,000,000, or decreased to as little as $500,000, depending on the economic climate of the area in which the new business will operate.
Only active investments will qualify an alien in the EB5 category. Passive investments such as ownership of real estate or stocks will not qualify, even if the job creation criteria was somehow satisfied. Not only must the investment be active but it also must be invested in a new business; and it must create 10 new full-time jobs for United States workers. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that an alien is not just “buying” lawful permanent resident status, but is actually creating something that will benefit the country.
If the above criteria can be satisfied, a conditional green card will be issued to the applicant and immediate family members for a two year period. At the end of the two year period, an application must be made to the USCIS for an unconditional green card. This application will be approved provided it is established that the business is still operational under the same ownership and that there are still at least 10 U.S. workers employed full-time by the business.
As soon as the investment is made, the application can be filed along with a business plan that details when the employees will be hired. It is important to keep in mind that the investment need not be cash and can be financed, provided it is secured with personal assets or guarantees.
If you would like to explore your specific green card options please send a request to us at:
Leibl and Kirkwood PC
12625 High Bluff Drive
San Diego, CA 92130
Tel. (858) 481-5211
Fax. (858) 481-7271