An EB5 green card offers a pathway for individuals to obtain permanent residency in the United States. The U.S. also allows individuals to convert their current visas to EB5 green cards if they meet the EB5 program’s requirements. Here are some visas you can convert to an EB5 and the requirements applicants must meet:
E2 Visa to EB5
The E2 visa program gives non-immigrant status to citizens of treaty countries. Applicants must invest capital in an enterprise that grants them at least 50% ownership to qualify for the E2 program. The business they invest in should be “at risk,” meaning there must be a possibility of making gains or losses. The validity period for an E2 visa varies based on an applicant’s home country and its reciprocity. Individuals can apply for extensions when their E2 visa expires as long as their investment continues operations.
You can convert from an E2 visa to an EB5 visa by meeting the latter’s capital investment requirement. Unlike the E2 program, the EB5 program states a minimum required investment amount for applicants. This is $800,000 in Targeted Employment Areas, TEAs, and $1.05 Million in non-TEAs.
The EB5 program is also stricter regarding your source of funds, business plans, and job creation. Prepare to provide more detailed documentation showing the source of your investment capital. Your bank statement, a real estate ownership document, and a sales contract can be proof of source of funds if you’re funding your E2 visa with a property sale. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, may require you to provide information on the source of capital used to acquire your property when applying for an EB5 visa. USCIS also requires a more detailed business plan that shows how your EB5 business will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
H1B Visa to EB5
The H1B program grants temporary visas to foreign workers in the U.S. These visas are directly tied to employer sponsorships. Individuals can only lawfully remain in the U.S. if they retain their job and sponsorship. If an individual with an H1B visa is fired or laid off, they must quickly find a new job to maintain their visa. The uncertainty associated with this visa program makes the EB5 visa a more secure option for anyone with the financial ability to convert.
When converting from H1B to EB5, the things to focus on are the minimum capital requirement, the job creation requirement, and your source of funds. The EB5 program’s requirements are the same for individuals applying for their first visas and those converting from existing ones, like H1B visas. You may find providing information on your source of funds easier if you intend to fund your investment with your salary. Because you’re already working for a U.S. company, confirming the legitimacy of your capital can be a more straightforward process.
F1 Visa to EB5
The F1 visa program provides non-immigrant visas to students looking to study in the U.S. Applicants must enroll in programs or courses that result in certificates, diplomas, or degrees at accredited schools in the U.S. You can choose to work as you study with an F1 visa. There are employment limitations, and you may need permission from the USCIS before you start working. The EB5 visa program offers more employment freedom, allowing you to work without prior permission.
Transitioning to an EB5 visa can allow you to stay in the U.S. after completing your studies. It can also place you on the path to getting an EB5 green card. Here are the steps to convert your F1 visa to an EB5 visa:
- Confirm that you meet the EB5 program’s requirements. You can do this with the help of a regional center, immigration attorney, or investment advisor.
- File form I-526 with the USCIS to petition for status as an immigrant in the U.S.
- File form I-485 to secure conditional permanent residency.
- File form 1-829 to remove the conditions on your conditional permanent resident status.
Convert to an EB5 Green Card
Converting your current visa to an EB5 visa can help you become a permanent resident in the U.S. Once you have converted to an EB5 visa, you can apply for an EB5 green card. An EB5 green card gives you the right to live and work freely in the country. Consult immigration professionals to guide you through transitioning from your current visa program to the EB5 program.