The Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference (or more commonly known as the EB-5) green card for immigrant investors was enacted in 1992 as an incentive for foreign nationals to invest in businesses within the United States. Since its implementation, the program has experienced increased popularity, especially with the formation of regional centers across the United States to help investors find potential commercial enterprises.
After an investment is made through a newly-formed business enterprise, troubled business, or regional center, then the investor may proceed through the following green card process:
(1) File a Form I-526, Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Within this petition, the investor will have to show that he has invested or is investing the required lawfully-gained capital in a company within the U.S., and that the investor will create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. workers.
(2) If the I-526 is approved, then the investor may file for either an Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing for the green card. If the investor is already inside the United States with lawful status, then an Adjustment of Status is possible through the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If the investor is overseas, then a DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration should be filed and a consulate interview scheduled. If the investor is approved through either avenue, then a 2-year conditional green card will be issued.
(3) As the investor approaches the 2-year time frame, an I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions may then be filed within 90 days prior to the 2-year anniversary. Within that petition, the investor must show that the investor has fulfilled the EB-5 requirements in accordance with the business plan in the approved Form I-526 petition. If granted, then the investor will be granted a full green card for indefinite permanent resident status in the United States.