For foreign investors there are five key ways to get a green card to live in the United States permanently. Let’s consider them here.
1. Invest $ 1,050,000 To Get An EB-5 U.S. Green Card
An investor who can invest $ 1,050,000 into a business and employ 10 people can qualify for a green card under the EB-5 direct investment program. The investment must be made into a commercial enterprise and usually will need to remain there for a period of some 5 to 7 years. Most Direct EB-5 investments are in franchises, hotels, restaurants, IT companies, retail chain stores, etc. It is important that the money used for this investment be traceable – the source and path of funds need to be documented and clean. Processing times vary depending on the birthplace of the investor. Chinese, Indian, and Vietnamese investors can expect inordinate delays, but investors from other countries may be processed in about 24 to 36 months or even sooner. A key feature in the mix is that the investor, if in the United States, can apply for an adjustment of status, employment authorization, and a travel document at the same time as filing the I-526 petition. In effect, the filing of the petition makes it possible for a nonimmigrant to remain temporarily in the USA until they get their green cards. H1B work visa holders and E-2 investors may especially find this route to a green card worthwhile. See more details here.
2. Invest $ 800,000 In A Regional Center Project To Get An EB-5 Green Card
Rather than directly investing $1,050,000 into one’s own company, one could invest $800,000 into an EB-5 regional center project and be a passive investor there. The required EB-5 10 new jobs can be created both directly but also indirectly by the regional center project. This is a slightly cheaper way to get an EB-5 green card. However, it does tie up the investor’s money in someone else’s regional center project for 5 – 7 years until it can be rebated to the investor. The same conditions on the traceability of the money apply as they did for the direct investment. If the investment is made in an infrastructure, rural, or high unemployment EB-5 project, the petition can be eligible for priority processing and can be a way for applicants to speed up their green cards. Again a key feature in the mix is that the investor, if in the United States, can apply for an adjustment of status, employment authorization, and a travel document at the same time as filing the I-526 petition. In effect, the filing of the petition makes it possible for a nonimmigrant to remain temporarily in the USA until they get their green cards. H1B work visa holders and E-2 investors may especially find this route to a green card worthwhile. See more information here.
3. EB-2 National Interest Waiver Program
If an investor is an English speaker, has a master’s degree or at least a bachelor’s degree and five years of progressive experience in their field of expertise, and can undertake a project that can win support from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as being in the national interest of the U.S., the investor can apply for an EB-2 green card. Such an application includes a waiver of the normal labor certification required from the Department of Labor evidencing that there are no workers ready willing and able to perform the work involved. Furthermore, if such investors are in the United States they can apply for an adjustment of status, employment authorization, and a travel document at the same time as filing the I-140 petition. In effect the filing of the petition makes it possible for the investor to remain temporarily in the USA until they get their green card. There are organizations that can work with investors to arrange for such an application, for example, Empowered.
4. Inter-Corporate Transferee EB-1C Green Card
If an investor was employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission and if the investor is already working for a U.S. employer the investor may be eligible to apply for an EB-1C green card. The U.S. petitioner must have been doing business for at least 1 year, have a qualifying relationship with the entity the investor worked for outside the U.S., and intend to employ the investor in a managerial or executive capacity. The investor can remain in the U.S. in L-1 nonimmigrant work status until their green card application has been approved.
5. Be Sponsored By A Family Member
If one has a close relative in the U.S. that is a citizen or green card holder, that relative can sponsor the investor for a green card while the investor continues to work and manage their business. If no family member has a green card at the time, there are a number of ways one could go about acquiring one. For example, a spouse or a child of the E-2 investor might go to school to get an advanced degree, and then get a sponsorship by a U.S. employer and get either a PERM labor certification, or a National Interest Waiver. Alternatively, a child might marry a U.S. citizen to be sponsored for a green card. Once they have a green card, they could then sponsor the E-2 visa holder.
Things To Remember When Converting To A Green Card
The green card comes with a number of requirements. Chief among them is the requirement to spend a significant amount of time in the U.S. If your permanent-resident-related business involves you being out of the country for a significant amount of time, this can be a risk. U.S. immigration, when they grant a person a green card, wants the applicant to mostly stay in the U.S. and build roots here. If not, a person risks losing the green card. In addition to having a residence in the U.S. returning to America at least once every six months would be a prudent discipline to follow to maintain green card status. The key is to always maintain the intention of living in the United States permanently and assert that on each entry which should always be on the green card.