Applying for an EB-5 Visa is more Advantageous for Wealthy Foreign Nationals than Applying under Any Other Type of EB Visa

Mar 10, 2017 by

As stated by one citizen from the former Soviet Union who has migrated to the United States, wealthy Russians increasingly see the U.S. as a safe investment environment where they can protect their wealth and a place where their family can reside safely and peacefully, due to Russia’s sputtering economy and the re-election of President Vladimir Putin, who is surrounded by his favored business people. For Russians who are less wealthy, applying for a U.S. visa as skilled professionals will enable them to earn more money and save their nation’s economic collapse, disastrous state of public health care, absence of housing and poverty.

Though Western Europe is the first stop for those exiting Russia, most prospective Russian immigrants have the United States as their country of choice, being attracted to the U.S., like the rest of the world, due to the American dream of prosperity and individual dignity.

There are different visa programs or categories that Russians and other foreign nationals, who want to obtain an immigrant visa to live permanently in the United States, can apply to:

  • Employment-based 1A Visa, also called EB-1 visa or Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference – this program is for those with extraordinary ability in the science, arts, education, business or athletics, or Outstanding Researchers or Professors;
  • Employment-based 2 Visa, also called EB-2 visa or Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference – for professionals holding an advanced degree or aliens of exceptional ability (this visa category is also appropriate for foreign nationals with exceptional ability in the sciences, business, or arts, who will substantially benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or the nation’s (compared to EB-1, a visa under this category may be approved only if an applicant has a job offer and a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor);
  • Employment-based 3A Visa, also called EB-3 or Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3 visa – for foreign nationals ranked as professionals, skilled workers or unskilled workers;
  • Employment-based 4 Visa, also called EB-4 or Employment-Based Immigration: Fourth Preference EB-3 visa – for foreign nationals considered as special immigrants, like religious workers or special immigrant juveniles (foreign children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected). The following are also considered as special immigrants; broadcasters, G-4 international organization or NATO-6 employees and their family members, international employees of the U.S. Government abroad, armed forces members, Panama Canal Zone employees, certain physicians, Afghan and Iraqi Translators, and Afghan and Iraqi nationals who have provided faith service in support of U.S. operations; or,
  • Immigrant Investor Program, also known as EB-5 visa. This was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign national investors through the creation a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business.

In 2014, there were 265,086 Russian applications for the U.S. green-card, the highest ever. This resulted to 245,638 Russians being granted visas that allowed them to work or study temporarily in the U.S. In addition to this, there were 3,622 Russians who were allowed to settle permanently in the U.S., including 56 who were granted EB-5 visas after making a $500,000 investment for a job-creating business.

The EB-5 visa is an investment visa. To qualify for a green card, a foreign investor is required to invest from 500,000 to $1,000,000 into a U.S. business that would preserve or create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs. This may be done either through Direct Investment or by investing in a Regional Center.

In direct investment, a foreign national must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 for the creation of a new enterprise, purchase an existing business, or reorganization of a former business into a new entity.

Investing in a EB-5 Regional Center, meanwhile, requires a $500,000 investment. This is to finance an existing business in a Targeted Employment Area, an area identified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) where employment rate is very low.

Russians capable of making the required amount of investment would be advised to make the investment due to the numerous benefits that set the EB-5 visa apart from other visa options, such as:

  • No language, age, professional experience, or education requirements;
  • No need for direct family members in the United States;
  • No residency requirements in the U.S.;
  • No workplace requirements in the U.S.; and
  • For individuals investing in Regional Center projects, no daily management / running of a business.”

Like all the other visa programs, however, applicants for the EB-5 may also be rejected or despite having made the investment, may not succeed in obtaining permanent residency in the U.S.; thus, it will be really wise for prospective investors to seek guidance from a seasoned business immigration attorney.

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