The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of the United States allows for 10,000 Immigrant Investor visas per year to be available to qualified individuals. Persons in this visa category are entrepreneurs seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their investment in a new commercial enterprise.
Do I Qualify?
Investors are eligible for Permanent Resident status, either as single individuals or coming with their families. Qualifying foreigners are those who have invested — or are actively in the process of investing — the required amount of capital into a new commercial enterprise in the United States. They must produce projections that this investment will benefit the US economy and create the requisite number of full-time jobs for qualified persons within the United States.
Broadly defined, qualifying individuals are those who have established or are in the process of setting up a new commercial enterprise by:
- Creating an original business,
- Purchasing an existing business and simultaneously or subsequently restructuring or reorganizing the business such that a new commercial enterprise results, or
- Expanding an existing business by 140 percent of the pre-investment number of jobs or net worth, or retaining all existing jobs in a troubled business that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months, and
- Investing — or who are actively in the process of investing — in a new commercial enterprise. The capital cap required consists of (a) at least $1,000,000, or (b) at least $500,000 if the investment goes to a “targeted employment area,” which is a locale that has experienced an unemployment rate of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area designated by OMB
- Engaging in a new commercial enterprise that benefits the US economy that (a) create full-time employment for at least 10 qualified individuals, or (b) maintains the number of existing employees at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years. In this case, the investment involves purchasing or co-investing in a “troubled business,” often a business that has been in existence for at least two years and that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months.
How to Apply?
Basically, there are three steps that applicant for an Immigrant Investor visa should follow in order to obtain a Green Card:
The immigrant investor should file USCIS Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) along with relevant supporting evidence. Documents attached with Form I-526 should clearly demonstrate the investor meets all requirements such as:
- Establishing a new commercial enterprise,
- Investing the requisite capital amount,
- Proving investment comes from a lawful source of funds,
- Creating the requisite number of jobs,
- Demonstrating that the investor actively participates in the business
- Creating employment (where applicable) within a targeted employment area.
Following the approval of Form I-526, immigrant investors may obtain status as a conditional resident. They should:
- File USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register as Permanent Resident or Adjustment of Status, if residing within the United States. You should file the USCIS Form I-526 at the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over the area in which the new commercial enterprise will principally be conducting business.
- Apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad, if residing outside the United States.
Eligible investors must file a USCIS Form I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) in order to remove their conditional status. Form I-829 must be filed within 90 days before the second anniversary of an Alien Investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional resident.