For people from other countries who desire to live in the United States, there are a few different ways to get a visa. Immigrants can legally live in the country by either having a family-based visa or one that is employment based. In other words, if an immigrant is related to a U.S. citizen or they have a job offer from an employer in this country, they can apply for a visa. One more type of visa that immigrants can apply for is called the EB 5 visa.

For those wanting to know more, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions regarding the EB 5 visa.

What Is the EB 5 Visa?

Also known as the Immigrant Investor Program, the EB 5 visa was created in 1990 as a way to help stimulate the country's economy. The goal of the program was to provide a way for foreign entrepreneurs to invest in commercial enterprises in order to permanently live in the United States.

Some examples of these commercial enterprises include:

  • Sole proprietorships
  • Joint ventures
  • Holding companies
  • Corporations

In 1993, EB 5 Regional Centers were established, which were places set up to receive funding from EB 5 investors. Currently, there are over 800 of these centers located throughout the United States.

How Do Immigrants Apply for an EB 5 Visa?

As with most visas, the EB 4 requires a lot of paperwork. The first step for applying is filling out Form I-526, which is also known as the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Once this has been approved, the immigrant will also need to fill out either a Form I-485 or a Form DS-260. Besides these forms, immigrants must also provide evidence that they are actively investing in an American commercial enterprise.

In 2016, over 8,500 EB visas were granted. While China currently has highest number of EB 5 visas issued, immigrants from other countries including Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, and Iran have also been granted this type of visa.

Who Can Help Immigrants Get an EB 5 Visa?

Due to all the rules and regulations regarding the EB 5 visa, the application process can be extremely challenging. It is often recommended that immigrants request the services of an EB 5 visa attorney to not only aid them in the application process, but also to ensure that the proper steps are taken and that all the paperwork moves through the system in a timely manner.