Debunking The Top Myths About The Investment Immigration Visa

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The EB-5 visa, also known as the investment immigration visa, has become a quick and quite reliable way to establish permanent residency in the United States. Although not as popular as other types of visas, the EB-5 visa is getting popular, especially amongst Asian citizens. For instance, 1,100 Indian citizens and 800 Vietnamese citizens have applied for the EB-5 visa in 2018 alone. The visa promotes investment immigration and is one of the main ways the U.S. attracts new entrepreneurs to the country.

Unfortunately, the visa is not very popular among immigrants and there are some negative myths surrounding it. The myths still persist, even though there are more applicants than ever. Let’s try to address some of these myths:

The Investors Are Just Small-time Entrepreneurs

In 1992, most small businesses fell under the EB-5 visa, but Congress created a new method of application for these citizens. The new visa allowed investors in already existing businesses to come to the United States and have permanent residence. The visa lets both small business owners, entrepreneurs and investors come to the country and do business. Also, most investors apply via regional center projects. While language and legal differences can be barriers, the regional projects accept most of these business owners.

The Investment Immigration Visa Is A Quick Way To Buy A Green Card

This is not true. The applicant must invest a minimum of $500,000 in a new or existing business, but also has to create new jobs. You can’t just buy a residency visa and go on without investing in a business. If investing outside a Targeted Employment Area, the minimum investment should be $1,000,000 (this is mainly in urban areas).

Only A Handful Of Jobs Are Created

Every EB-5 visa applicant must invest at least $500,000 or $1,000,000 and create a minimum of 10 jobs. While the number is low, data suggests that about 90 percent of applicants create far more than 10 jobs. The jobs are defined either as direct hires or people hired after the completion of a project.

The Investment Immigration Visa Is Biased Toward Certain Nationals

There’s a common myth that the EB-5 visa is designed specifically for certain citizens coming from specific countries. This is not true, as there are many applicants from virtually every country in the world. In fact, there is a visa-allocation system that lowers the success rate of applicants coming from countries with the most applicants. This is designed to allow applicants from other countries to apply as well. There are long wait periods for investors coming from South Korea, India, Vietnam, and China. Most investors come from China (about 85 percent of the total number of visas) and these nationals have to wait longer.

The Application Is A Way To Bypass Normal Wait Times And Approvals

No, the EB-5 visa cannot be used to shorten the wait times and approvals required for permanent residency. There is a two-step process for entering the United States, and it can take more than a decade. Firstly, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service must approve the investor’s petition for the EB-5 classification, and then the waiting time begins.

The waiting time is very different, depending on the applicant’s nationality (citizens from certain countries have to wait for longer periods, while others don’t). The typical waiting period is about two years. After this period, the applicant can enter as conditional permanent residents. After another two years of living in the United States, the EB-5 visa holder will apply for removal of conditions. During this period, the USCIS verifies the investment and job creation and decides whether the conditions will be removed. This multiple-stage method is designed to promote efficient investment immigration.

Immigrants May Use Illegally-obtained Or Drug Money To Invest In The Country

Every EB-5 visa applicant and the source of the money is reviewed closely. USCIS employees will check whether the money comes from lawful sources, will study the path to the investor, the business and the new investment. The whole process is then checked again to ensure there is no foul play.

The Visa Applicants Must Live Close To The Projects They Fund

There is no provision about the location of the project or the investor. The project can be located anywhere in the country, and the investor can live anywhere. However, applicants usually live close to their investment and its often preferable to do so. The USCIS regular checks can be done more efficiently.

Investment Visa Applicants Are Privileged Individuals

Obviously, EB-5 applicants are already successful entrepreneurs or business owners in their respective countries. The United States government understands this aspect and wants to attract these individuals in order to invest in the country. Typically, they are self-made millionaires and they are not spending inherited money. The U.S. welcomes these individuals and admires their skills and know-how.

The Eb-5 Investment Visa Program Is Rife With Fraud

This is one of the myths that have a little truth to it. Yes, there has been some fraud in the past, but now it’s gone. The fraud was not done by foreign citizens, but by American citizens who misused immigrant investor funds at regional centers. The scheme was complex and took years of federal oversight to dismantle. Now, the rules and regulations have changed and it’s very difficult to trick the system, which promotes efficient investment immigration.

Immigrants Are Not As Beneficial As We Imagine

This myth is simple to bust, just by looking at the numbers and the financial data released by the government. Since 2008, the EB-5 immigrants have invested almost $20 billion in business across the United States. This includes both already existing and new companies. These immigrants are good people, who work hard and want to create a reliable business in this country. They contribute vastly to the American society and economy. Consequently, the government wants to expand the program and welcome more EB-5 visa immigrants.

If you are considering making an investment into a US-based business, please consult with an immigration attorney. Their knowledge and expertise will be extremely helpful.

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