The United States has created several investment-based immigration opportunities for foreign nationals seeking to move their families to this country – and many of these opportunities are located right here in the state of Wisconsin! If you are seeking an investment visa, an experienced Wisconsin immigration attorney can help advise you of your options. At Nicolet Lawyers, our immigration lawyers have substantial experience helping clients through the immigration process. We are committed to providing high quality legal representation on behalf of our clients throughout Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.The EB-5 Investment Program
These investment-based opportunities fall under the “EB-5 program.” In order to qualify for a green card under the EB-5 program, the foreign investor needs to fulfill four requirements. First, the investor is required to invest a minimum of $1,000,000 (or $500,000 if the investment is made into a recognized rural or high-unemployment area of the United States). The investment has to be made into a specific commercial enterprise which can include a company, business, partnership, etc. An important type of commercial enterprise available to investors is called a Regional Center. Regional Centers are defined geographic areas of the U.S. (including areas in Wisconsin) that use foreign investment to revitalize specific economic sectors and industries.
The second requirement is that the investor must prove to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the investment money derived from a lawful source of income such as the investor’s savings from gainful employment, the sale or mortgage of a house, cashing out stocks or other holdings, etc.
The third requirement involves the investor demonstrating to USCIS that the investment will directly create ten new full-time employment positions for U.S. workers. (Importantly, if the investor puts the money into a Regional Center, indirect jobs may be used for the purposes of meeting the job creation requirement).
The last requirement is that the investor must demonstrate that the investor will act in a managerial role in commercial enterprise’s operations.How to Apply for the EB-5 Green Card
In order to obtain a green card through the EB-5 program, the investor (usually with the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney) submits an application called the I-526 Petition to USCIS. The I-526 Petition contains biographic information about the investor (the investor’s full name, birthdate, country of origin, etc.) and information about the intended investment (what type of commercial enterprise will receive the investment, what goods/services the enterprise provides, where the enterprise is located, etc.)
Along with this information, the I-526 Petition must also include evidence to prove that the investor meets the four requirements outlined above, such as the enterprise’s business plan to show what it intends to do with the investment funds, an explanation for the lawful source of the funds, and a statement from the enterprise that details the investor’s prospective managerial role in the business.After USCIS Approves the I-526 Petition
Once USCIS reviews the I-526 Petition and agrees that the investor meets the four requirements, USCIS issues an official approval notice for the petition. At that point, the investor can receive the actual green card.
Importantly, the investor is allowed to bring a spouse and all unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States and these family members can receive their green cards as dependent beneficiaries of the investor’s I-526 Petition.
However, it must be noted that investment-based green cards are not truly permanent – rather, they are conditional green cards which are valid for only two years. Before the two years expire, the investor and family must submit an additional application to USCIS (called the I-829 Petition) to have USCIS remove the conditions on their green cards and issue them the permanent green cards.
It should be understood that the successful preparation and submission of the I-526 Petition requires a lot of work and a highly sophisticated knowledge and familiarity with complex immigration laws and regulations. For these reasons, it is highly recommended that interested foreign investors contact a skilled Wisconsin immigration lawyer to assist them with their investment-based immigration petitions. Contact Spiro Nicolet at Nicolet Lawyers to set up your initial consultation. You can call us at 773-562-6884 to schedule an appointment, or contact us online.