Q: What are the benefits of a U.S. citizenship?
A: • U.S. citizens can vote.
- Sponsorship of relatives for permanent resident status: Can petition for a longer list of foreign national family members to join them in the United States than permanent residents can, – for example, unlike green card holders, they can petition for their parents (as immediate relatives), their married children, and their brothers and sisters.
- Obtain citizenship for children born abroad: In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
- Travel and passport: U.S. citizens may possess a U.S. passport, are protected from deportation, and have the right to travel and live abroad. U.S. citizens can visit over 170 countries and territories visa-free or with visa on arrival.
- Government benefits: U.S. citizens become eligible for a wide range of benefits and assistance programs from the government, including health and social security.
Q: What are the benefits of a U.S. green card?
A: • The freedom to work and live in the United States permanently.
- Freedom of movement. Once you are a green card holder, you can travel outside of the United States and return freely. You can also travel anywhere within the United States you wish and live in any part of the US you wish.
- The ability to sponsor relatives. Once you are a U.S. green card holder, you can sponsor your relatives to get their own green card.
- Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions • The ability to seek U.S. citizenship.
Q: What is a regional center?
A: USCIS has approved a number of regional centers throughout the United States, each of which serving its own geographic region. If an investor invests in one of these approved regional centers, $500,000 of investment will be sufficient. The investor also no longer need to prove the creation of 10 jobs, as the regional center can prove the creation of jobs directly, indirectly, or induced through econometric estimation.
Q: Is the investor able to travel after obtaining conditional green card?
A: The investor and his or her family is free to travel in and out of the United States subject to rules generally applied to other permanent residents. Namely, the investor must actually have a residence in the United States, and must not be outside the United States for a continuous period of one year or more.
Q: What is the minimum amount of investment required?
A: For investments in areas outside of "targeted employment areas," the minimum amount of investment is $1 million. Investments in "targeted employment areas" can be as low as $500,000.
Q: What is a “targeted employment area?”
A: A targeted employment area (TEA) is a rural area or a geographical area that has experienced an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average. State governments are authorized to designate geographical areas within the state that qualify as TEAs. EB-5 investment per family is allowed to be reduced from $1,000,000 USD to $500,000 USD if the project is located in a TEA. All of NYGRC's projects are located in TEAs.
Q: Can I still apply for an EB-5 if USCIS rejected or terminated me for an L-1, E-2, B, or other visas?
A: Rejection in the past does not disqualify the applicant, unless the reasons related to immigration fraud or other major problems. It is most important that all criminal, medical, or U.S. immigration history problems be disclosed to the limited partnership and legal counsel in advance of application.
Q: What is a conditional green card?
A: A conditional green card is a temporary green card valid for two years issued to EB-5 investors and family members. In the three months before its expiry, an individual must file another application called I-829 with USCIS to confirm that all the funds have been invested and sufficient number of employments have been created. Upon confirmation, the individual receives a permanent green card. Besides the time constraint, the conditional green card holder shares the same benefits as a permanent green card holder.
Q: What benefits does the EB-5 visa program have?
A: • Investor and family may live and/or work anywhere in the United States.
• Receive education at U.S. resident rate.
• Investment through a regional center does not require the immigrant investors to manage their investment on a day-to-day basis.
• No requirements for age, English abilities, education, or employment.
• After five years, the investors and their family members may obtain U.S. citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements.
Q: What is the timeline for the investment process?
A: 3 to 6 months following your deposit, upon I-526 approval, you and your family will get conditional green cards. 2 years: File I-829. If approved, you and your family will receive permanent green cards. 5 years: You and your family will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Q: How many visas are set aside for EB-5 per year?
A: Up to 10,000 visas may be authorized each fiscal year for eligible entrepreneurs through investment based immigration for foreigners. The quota has been sufficient thus far, but is expected to see backlog in the October 2014 fiscal year.
Q: Does my spouse and childern under 21 count toward the 10,000 visa limit?
A: Yes, they do. The limitation on investors is closer to 4,000 per year, as the 10,000 limitation includes both investors and family members.