NEWS
  1. Update to Form I-797 Receipt Notices for Form I-751 and Form I-829
    Jun, 12 2018
    As of June 11, 2018, petitioners who file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, will receive a Form I-797 receipt notice that can be presented with their Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, as evidence of continued status for 18 months past the expiration date on their Permanent Resident Card.
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  2. Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students
    May, 18 2018
    Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies...
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  1. USCIS to Recall Incorrectly Dated Green Cards
    May, 14 2018
    On May 14, 2018, USCIS will begin recalling approximately 8,543 Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) due to a production error.
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  2. USCIS Changing Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors
    May, 11 2018
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a policy memorandum (PDF, 179 KB)changing how the agency will calculate unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M nonimmigrant status, including F-2, J-2, or M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain their status in the United States.
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  1. USCIS Announces Countries Eligible for the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs
    April, 3 2018
    Starting April 2, USCIS will destroy Permanent Resident Cards, Employment Authorization Cards and Travel Documents returned as undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service after 60 business days if USCIS is not contacted by the document’s intended recipient to provide the correct address.
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  2. Texas Service Center to Begin Processing Form I-129 for L Visas
    Feb, 12 2018
    On February 12, 2018, the Texas Service Center (TSC) will begin processing certain Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions for L nonimmigrant classification, also known as L visas.
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  1. USCIS Announces Countries Eligible for the H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs
    Jan, 18 2018
    USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State, have published the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to receive H-2A and H‑2B visas in 2018.
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  2. USCIS Strengthens Protections to Combat H-1B Abuses
    Feb, 22 2018
    The H-1B visa program generally allows a foreign employee to work for a specific sponsoring American employer. As is true in many employment situations, the location of work can change. USCIS has published a policy memorandum (PDF, 119 KB) making clear that USCIS may request detailed documentation to ensure a legitimate employer-employee relationship is maintained while an employee is working at a third-party worksite.
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  1. USCIS Clarifies Proxy Vote Use for Certain Intracompany Transferee Visa Petitions
    Jan, 03 2018
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued updated policy guidance today clarifying that a proxy vote must be irrevocable to establish the requisite control of a company in an L-1 visa petition.
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  2. Updated USCIS Procedures for Cuba
    Jan, 02 2018
    Due to staff reductions at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, USCIS will temporarily suspend operations at its field office in Havana, effective immediately.
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Investing Your Way to a Green Card 

 

    
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Two Paths to Achieving Permanent Residency through Financial Investment in the United States
 
While there are many ways to invest in the United States that can lead to possible permanent residency in the future. The EB-5 visa allows individuals to obtain permanent residency immediately upon entry into the United States. The EB-5 visa provides two specific paths through investment that an individual can take to achieve Permanent Residency (Green Card).  However, prior to speaking about the two ways, it is important to state the necessary requirement, regardless of the type of future investment chosen.
 
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that entrepreneurs who wish to make an investment in a commercial enterprise must invest $1,000,000 in a new venture or at least $500,000 in a rural area or area with high unemployment. This is where the similarities between the two paths of investment end.
 
Like many countries, the United States wants to facility wealthy individuals who desire to invest in the country and create jobs. Therefore, the EB-5 visa permits two distinct paths of investment. The first option, and most common, is through what is called a “Regional Center”. A regional center is an organization or agency, which has been approved by USCIS, to promote economic growth in a specific geographic area within the United States.[1] The regional center allows investors to make the required investment of $500,000, instead of the $1,000,000 that otherwise would be required. Additionally, the regional center is attractive to potential investors because of the “hands-off” approach it provides. Individuals considering investing in the United States, but do not want the risk of creating their own business should strongly consider this option.
 
The second option allows the obtaining of permanent residency through direct investment. As previously mentioned, the investment must be a minimum of $1,000,000 in creating a new business or restructuring an existing business or expanding on one that already exists. This initial investment can be reduced to $500,000 if that business is located in a rural area or urban area with high unemployment. Furthermore, the business must ultimately employ ten full-time employees (U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the U.S.) that either produce a service or product. If the investment is intended to restructure or expand an existing business, the business must maintain the number of full-time employees pre-investment for a period of two years.
 
In closing, the EB-5 visa provides two very interesting possibilities for wealthy individuals to obtain permanent residency. For those individuals with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, there is the direct investment option and those who chose a more passive approach, the regional center.  Whichever path is right for you, it is very important to seek out the services of a qualified immigration attorney. The EB-5 visa is extremely difficult to establish eligibility and certainly the most expensive.  Therefore, paying for professional advice is well worth the time and money.

   
Michael Schwarz, Esq.
Attorney at Law – Texas