In the US, there is a particular type of visa available for investors seeking to pump capital into the economy to legally enter the country and obtain permanent residence. The immigrant visa for investors is referred to as the employment fifth preference or EB-5 and is available for foreigners with between $500,000 and $1m of capital to inject into the American economy.
Because the EB-5 visa grants a US green card immediately and there are significant amounts of capital involved, the application process is extremely complex. To get the full benefits of residency for yourself and your family with your EB-5 visa, it is important to hire a specialist lawyer to manage the process on your behalf.
Here are five very good reasons to hire a lawyer to handle your visa application:
- Foreign investors in the US economy are limited to 10,000 EB-5 visa applications each year from any one country and sometimes, competition for investor green cards is such that you might be placed on a waiting list. This is based on what is called your ‘priority date’, which is the day when your initial visa application was filed. If you hire an EB-5 lawyer, your initial application is guaranteed to provide all the required information, which is extensive in the case of EB-5 visas. Because this is one of the most difficult categories of visa to obtain, a lawyer will smooth the application process considerably. If you submit your application yourself and fail to obtain the visa, it can hamper your chances of success in the future.
- Investor green cards are only valid for two years during which time you have to maintain eligibility in order to have your visa successfully renewed. A lawyer will be able to advise you during this initial two year period to ensure you remain eligible to prevent your green card being cancelled. Again, cancelled visas may result in an exclusion period which means you face having to return to your native country.
- If you are applying for an EB-5 and you are married with children under the age of 21, your whole family are able to get green cards as accompanying relatives. However, this also makes the process more complicated as you will more than likely be required to demonstrate you have the means to support your family for the first two years as a resident. A lawyer will be able to negotiate on your behalf and ensure you get the full rights of residency for all parties on the application.
- Because the first two years of an EB-5 are subject to scrutiny in terms of maintaining eligibility, a lawyer can assist in ensuring you do not breach its terms during this time. Misusing a green card results in it being immediately revoked, making it crucial that you understand fully the terms of the arrangement. Staying outside of the US for too long, committing a crime or even failing to register a change of address, can result in losing your rights to residency which will also impact your family. Hiring a lawyer ensures you keep on the straight and narrow until such times as your residency becomes permanent.
- Perhaps the most solid reason for hiring a specialist lawyer for your EB-5 visa is that it will offer you peace of mind through what is likely to be a whirlwind 2-years adapting to life in the US. If you have children, you’ll want to secure their education and make sure you are located somewhere that is beneficial for you all. Your property and any business you have invested in has to meet EB-5 criteria and you’ll have to show authorities that you are actively engaged with your investment in the first 2 years. A lawyer can deal with all the paperwork – of which there is plenty – while you focus your attention on other aspects of your life in the US directly affecting you and your family.