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EB5 Process Walkthrough: Step by Step

As an immigrant investor, there are generally 4 steps towards receiving your Green Card through the EB5 process and real estate investment opportunities.

In order to become a permanent resident in the United States through the USCIS EB5 visa program, you must follow these steps outlined below.

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Taking the First Steps in the EB-5 Process

Before diving into the EB-5 program, do your research. Look for more information online about how to obtain your green card, and think about your specific situation.

Once you feel ready, fill out the Investor Questionnaire and submit it to Houston EB5 to get started.

Step 1: Get Started

  • Discuss Your Options during Free Consultation with Houston EB-5
  • Fill out Investor Questionnaire
  • Submit Investment
  • File I-526 Petition

The best way to fully understand your options is to speak with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney. Make sure you choose an immigration attorney who is familiar with the EB-5 program – especially if they have worked with immigrants from your home country in the past – and has experience helping investors like you.

Houston EB5 offers free consultations to guide foreign investors through the immigration process. We review your specific situation and advise you accordingly, guiding you towards the best visa choice for your unique situation.

Make sure your immigration attorney has experience helping investors through the EB-5 process, especially investors from your home country.

At Houston EB5, for example, we have extensive experience working with foreign investors from around the world and have helped hundreds of people obtain their green card through real estate investment. Plus, Houston EB5 is a Regional Center offering investors access to immigration attorneys who are deeply familiar and experienced with the EB-5 program.

What is a Regional Center?

An EB5 Regional Center (RC) is a service agent organization designated by the USCIS that sponsors capital investment projects for EB-5 investors and companies. An RC can be any public or private economic entity involved with promoting:

  • increased domestic capital
  • job creation
  • improved regional productivity
  • higher economic growth

Selecting a Regional Center holds a major advantage for investors; the Regional Center can take advantage of indirect job creation by lowering the difficulty of meeting job creation requirements under EB-5 program rules and regulations.

Houston EB5 has been approved by the USCIS as an EB-5 Regional Center since 2011.

During your initial consultation, your attorney will answer any questions you may have about the EB-5 program, give you an in-depth walkthrough of the EB-5 process, as well as inform you of the current real estate investment opportunities available to you.

Make sure you speak to your attorney about any of your concerns or worries. They should be up-front with you about any challenges that may lie ahead and can give you advice on how best to complete the EB-5 process. If you’re drawing a blank, here are a few questions you should make sure to ask:

  • What is the track record of this regional center? – Conduct background checks to ensure validity of individuals in the organization and their experience. In addition, ask for evidence of the organization’s success and track record in the past.
  • Has the organization successfully returned capital to investors? – EB5 investors do have some risk involved, but that “at risk” investment includes the return of capital if successful.
  • Have you worked with investors from my home country? – Make sure you ask if your Regional Center/attorney has worked with investors from the same home country. That unique experience is valuable.
  • How many EB-5 cases have you filed? – Gauge their experience by finding out how many investors they have helped through the EB-5 program.
  • How long has it typically taken for your investors to receive approval on their I-526 application? – While turnaround times can vary depending on certain details, an experienced Regional Center can sometimes offer quicker turnaround times.
  • What are my options if my Green Card is denied? – It’s always important to have a backup plan in case the worst occurs. While this is extremely unlikely, if it does happen, your Regional Center will explore all options to appeal the rejection. If unsuccessful, your investment capital should be refunded.

Houston EB5 has a strong track record, including:

  • 100% success rate on I-526 and I-829 petition approvals and return capital
  • I-526 approval guarantee or 100% of capital money returned
  • Job creation guarantee
  • Project construction completion guarantee
  • 47 years of combined experience in real estate and EB-5

Investors in the Thompson San Antonio project have received their approvals in less than 12 months. We have 190 investors worldwide from 16 countries.

Once you have spoken with your EB-5 immigration attorney, weigh your investment options. Make the decision that makes the most sense for you and your future.

After your consultation, once we establish that you’re eligible for EB-5 and that it’s the best immigration option for you, the next step is to fill out the Investor Questionnaire to begin the EB-5 visa process.

Then you’ll file your I-526 petition.

What is an I-526 Petition?

  • Proves EB-5 program eligibility
  • Filed by Regional Center immigration attorney
  • $1,500 filing fee
  • Path to conditional green card

At this point, you will submit your investment to the Houston EB5 escrow account. This includes your either $500,000 (if located within a TEA) or $1,000,000 investment along with a $50,000 administrative fee.

Once submitted, you’ll be able to file your I-526 petition with the USCIS. Your I-526 petition is proof of your investment for USCIS. Most applicants hear back on approval status within 12-18 months.

The USCIS will then send Houston EB5 a receipt of the investment and the $50,000 will be transferred to a partnership account.

If Your I-526 is Denied: This is extremely unlikely, but should it happen, we will explore all your options with you. Otherwise, you will receive a refund of your investment.

Step 2: Receive Conditional Green Card and Establish U.S. Residency

  • USCIS Approves I-526 Petition
  • Submit I-485, Attend Biometrics Appointment or Submit DS-230
  • Receive Conditional Green Card
  • Two-Year Conditional Residency

At this stage in the EB5 process, you should be receiving your I-526 application approval from the USCIS. Once your application is approved – usually within months 21-24 – you will receive your conditional green card, which makes you eligible to become a U.S. resident.

That conditional green card is valid for two years. Upon receipt of conditional permanent resident status, the investor and their immediate family are entitled to the same benefits as other lawful permanent residents, such as traveling around the world without needing a U.S. visa and college tuition discounts.

2-Year Conditional Residency Requirements

The EB5 investor and their family are subject to a Conditional Permanent Residency status for a two-year probationary period. The conditional green card may not be renewed.

During the last 90 days of this 2-year period, the investor must file a petition to remove these probationary conditions. If you fail to file the petition, you will lose your permanent resident status.

Upon conclusion, the USCIS will examine the investment to ensure the investor has complied with all the requirements. According to Section 216A, you will lose your conditional permanent residency if you:

  • Commit fraud
  • Move to another country intending to live there permanently
  • Do not file income tax returns while living outside the U.S. for any period
  • Declare yourself a “non-immigrant” on your tax returns
  • Receive a final removal order against you from an immigration judge
  • Remain outside the U.S. for over a year, unless intended to be temporary, as proven by the reason for your trip, how long you intended to be gone, and any events that may have prolonged your absence.

You must file your permanent residency application 90 days before the expiration of your temporary Green Card.

What is form I-485?

If you already have lawful status in the United States, you must file form I-485 to adjust your status to conditional permanent resident.

A poorly prepared I-485 can lead to rejection of your application, which will significantly delay the EB-5 process. This is why it is so important to work with a qualified EB5 immigration attorney, who has the experience you need to file everything properly and on time.

The best benefit of submitting the Adjustment of Status application is the ability to get your conditional green card without having to return to your home country for visa processing.

Biometrics Appointment

About 3-5 weeks after filing, you should receive a notice for a “Biometrics” appointment. The notice will include the date (usually 5-8 weeks after filing) as well as time, what you need to bring with you, and location. These appointments are usually held at the nearest USCIS Application Support Center.

At this appointment, you will be fingerprinted in order to conduct a security clearance and criminal background check. Don’t worry; all applicants must have background checks.

You can generally expect your biometrics screening to last about 30 minutes. You will need to bring some form of government-issued ID, such as:

  • Passport
  • National photo ID issued by your home country
  • Driver’s license
  • Military photo ID
  • State-issued photo ID card

If you think you might have a criminal record, talk with your immigration attorney in advance of your biometrics appointment.

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What if I don’t already have lawful status in the U.S.?

If you don’t already have lawful status in the U.S., you must file for an immigrant visa by submitting form DS-230 to the National Visa Center. The form must be processed through the U.S. Consulate or embassy in your home country.

An immigrant visa is usually issued within 6-12 months.

Step 3: Apply for Permanent Green Card

  • Regional Center proves job creation to USCIS
  • File I-829 to remove conditional status

At this stage of the EB5 process, you will file your I-829 petition with the help of Houston EB5. This application will remove your conditional status and prove you have met all requirements of the EB5 program. You’ll then become an unconditional permanent resident in order to obtain your permanent green card.

In order to receive approval, you must prove sufficient job creation from your investment. Houston EB5 will prove to the USCIS on your behalf that your investment created at least 10 jobs.

As previously mentioned, you must submit your I-829 to the USCIS 90 days prior to the second anniversary of the date when you first received your conditional residency status.

Step 4: Receive Permanent Green Card

  • USCIS Approves I-829 Petition
  • Receive Permanent Green Card

Within 2-4 months, you will enter the final stage of the EB5 process. Once the USCIS approves your I-829 petition, the conditional status of your green card is officially removed.

Then you will receive your permanent green card, usually issued within 6-8 months after you submit your I-829.

The next step is to enjoy your newfound U.S. residency! Once you receive your permanent green card, you, your spouse, and any dependent children under 21 may:

  • permanently live in the United States
  • permanently work in the United States
  • apply for citizenship 5 years from the date you received your initial conditional residency

Apply for the EB5 Program with Houston EB5

If you’re considering the EB5 program, contact Houston EB5 at 1-281-545-7935 to discuss your options towards U.S. permanent residency through real estate investment. You may also click the button below to contact Houston EB5 online.

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EB5 Process Walkthrough: Step by Step | Houston EB5 – Houston, TX