Pluses and Minuses of an EB-5 Green Card
Here are some of the advantages and limitations to an investment-based green card:
- USCIS rejects many more applications than it accepts in this category. That is partly because the eligibility requirements are narrow, and partly because of the category’s history of fraud and misuse. Some lawyers counsel their clients to use their wealth to fit themselves into another category with a greater chance of success. For example, by investing in a company outside the United States that has a U.S. affiliate, the person might qualify to immigrate as a transferring executive or manager (priority worker, in category EB-1).
- As long as you have money to invest and can demonstrate that you are in the process of investing it in a for-profit business, you yourself do not need to have any particular business training or experience. Nor does the law restrict entry to applicants from certain countries, although the immigration authorities are more suspicious when dealing with applicants from countries that have exhibited a pattern of fraudulent applications.
- You can choose to invest your money in a business anywhere in the U.S., so long as you maintain your investment for at least three years and are actively engaged with the company you invest in.
- After approximately the first three years, you can work for another company or not work at all.
- You must actually live in the United States — you may not use the green card only for work and travel purposes.
- Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can get green cards as accompanying relatives.
- Your green card will initially be only conditional — that is, it will expire in two years, after which you will need to apply to renew it and make it permanent.
- As with all green cards, yours can be taken away if you misuse it. For example, you live outside the U.S. for too long, commit a crime, or even fail to advise the immigration authorities of your change of address, you may become deportable. However, if you keep your green card for five years and live in the U.S. continuously during that time (counting your two years as a conditional resident), you can apply for U.S. citizenship.