Visas and green cards represent significant investments made on the part of the beneficiary. However, the EB-5 green card is even more of an investment. Understandably, if you are interesting in pursuing this visa, you may want to know all of the details about the process, including how much the green card will cost you. Here, we’ll go over the EB-5 cost and what you can expect from a financial perspective.
The EB-5 is a very prestigious green card that is a little bit different than other green cards that begin with “EB”. Even though that stands for “employment based”, the EB-5 is actually based on an investment made by the beneficiary. There are two major paths to this green card: the Basic Program and the Regional Center Pilot Program.
Regardless of the path you take, you will need to make an investment in a U.S. enterprise. The amount of that investment will depend on where the enterprise is located, which we will go into more later on. Your enterprise can either be brand new or it can have already existed. However, it must be something that has the potential to generate 10 future jobs for U.S. citizens. For any entrepreneurial visa or green card, there should be an emphasis in creating jobs for citizens, this will go a long way in helping you case with the USCIS.
Some of the major benefits of the EB-5 are the fact that you don’t need an employer or any sort of formal education. Additionally, the EB-5 is one of the few green cards that permits the beneficiary to self petition, meaning that you can be your own sponsor.
The green card acquisition process has its own fees regardless of which type you get, but we’ll go over what you can expect for the EB-5.
- First, you need to make or irrevocably commit the investment
- Then, you will need to file the I-526 petition
- Once your petition has been approved, you will need to file an I-485 to adjust your status
- Alternatively, you may need to go through consular processing. This will require the DS-260 online immigrant visa application.
For these last two steps, there is a distinction. Adjusting your status is only available to those that are already in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa such as an E-2 visa or H-1B visa. For all others, you will need to go through consular processing, which involves making an appointment with a U.S. Consulate or Embassy and traveling to that appointment. Keep in mind that consular processing is also available to those under a nonimmigrant visa if they so choose.
EB-5 Cost and Fees
When it comes to the actual green card processing cost for the EB-5, the fees will depend on the route you take, as there is a difference in cost between adjustment of status and consular processing. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect to pay for each route:
Adjustment of Status
- $3,675 for the I-526 form filing fee
- $750-$1,140 for the I-485 adjustment of status application form. This fee will vary depending on your age. Take a look at this chart from the USCIS to see what you will be responsible for.
- $85 for the biometrics fee. This may not apply to your situation, so speak with your immigration attorney to see if you need to have your biometrics taken.
- $3,675 for the I-526 fee. This fee is required regardless of which route you take.
- $230 for the DS-260 online immigrant visa application. Make sure to bring a payment receipt to your consular appointment.
- $85 for the biometrics fee.
- $85 fee for an affidavit of support. This may not apply to your situation.
Other EB-5 Costs
You should also calculate any travel expenses or attorney fees that may be a part of your EB-5 process. Travel expenses may be more if you need to use consular processing and make your way to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
What is the Capital Required?
One major expense that should be factored into your EB-5 cost is the actual investment that the green card is based on. To qualify, you will need to invest at least $1 million in a U.S. enterprise. Alternatively, you can invest $500,000 in a Target Employment Area (TEA), which is defined as “a rural area or one that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”
The invested money must be yours and must have been acquired legally, but you do not need to prove that you earned the money (e.g. it was a gift or inheritance). However, this capital is less of an EB-5 cost, as the idea of an investment is for it to grow and for you to receive a return on your investment.
EB-5 Regional Centers
If you are more interested in gaining your lawful permanent residence than you are about operating and managing a U.S. enterprise, EB-5 regional centers may be the best option for you. Rather than have you be responsible for the creation of a new enterprise and the jobs that need to come from that, you can choose to invest your money in a Regional Center, which is essentially a company that is dedicated to economic and job market growth. These entities tend to work mostly through the capital granted by EB-5 investors, creating projects through the EB-5 program.
The importance of creating jobs is this: when you are granted an EB-5 green card, you will be initially given a 2-year conditional immigrant visa. To maintain your status and remove the conditions, the USCIS will be looking for job creation and growth from your investment. Using Regional Centers allows you to qualify for your removal of conditions without having to create any jobs directly. This also means that the Regional Center will be responsible for managing your investment rather than you. This means that you do not necessarily have to have exceptional business acumen in order to obtain and maintain an EB-5.
How Our EB-5 Lawyers Can Help
Because the EB-5 represents such a major investment and because so much money is at stake, it literally pays to be prepared and to do this right the first time. The immigration process is fraught with opportunities to make simple errors and mistakes that can cost both time and money. To best protect that investment, you can hire an immigration attorney to make the process as successful as possible.
Here at Immi-USA, our team of expert EB-5 attorneys will be with you every step of the way. They will file your petition, make sure all of the EB-5 costs are correct, and address any obstacles that might come up such as an RFE. To get in touch with our office and schedule a consultation, you can fill out our contact form.