Can someone explain how immigration through EB-5 works? Because it's called an EB-5 visa, and I know a visa only let's you stay in the United States temporarily. But the people who invest through the EB-5 visa program end up with permanent residency. So why do EB-5 visa holders get to be permanent residents?
You are correct; normally a visa only allows a person to enter the United States and remain for a fixed time period, not permanently. However, the EB-5 visa falls into the immigrant visa category. An immigrant visa differs from a non-immigrant visa such as a B-2 visitor. As an immigrant visa, EB-5 allows the visa holder to enter the United States to remain permanently in the United States.
Under the U.S. immigration laws there are various Employment Based (EB) categories, as in this case number 5 (EB-5), that allows U.S. permanent residency. The EB-5 category allows a foreign national investor by investing in a new commercial enterprise and creating ten jobs to obtain U.S. permanent residency.
There are immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. So when you hear about temporary visas to visit, study, or work temporarily in the United States, those are nonimmigrant visas. An immigrant visa, such as a family-based or employment-based immigrant visa category, leads to lawful permanent resident status in the United States (also known as a "green card"). The EB-5 category is the Employment-Based Fifth Preference immigrant category.
There are non-immigrant visas, which do not confer permanent residency, such as B-1/B-2 for six months at a time, to H-1B for three years. However, EB-5 is an immigrant visa category which provides the successful investor with permanent residency.
Permanent residence means that you are here on an immigrant visa; an I-526 (EB-5) petition is an immigrant visa petition. When the petition is approved, the investor applies for an immigrant visa (the "green card"/ permanent residence) by adjusting status here in the United States, or through consular processing. The first "green card" that an EB-5 investor receives is a conditional card (some people call it a "temporary green card"). After two years, the investor applies to remove the conditions. When the conditions are removed, the investor receives a 10-year card. With a 10-year green card, you can remain in the United States indefinitely. When the 10-year card expires, the permanent resident status itself does not expire - only the card.
You have some good insight here! It is commonly known as an EB-5 visa, because that is indeed the visa one would get (allowing entry in the United States), but the immigration status one receives (allowing one to legally live in the United States) is permanent residency (conditional first, then those are removed through the I-829 petition after two years). The visa and status are similar, yet separate concepts that are commonly confused or combined. Please consult an immigration attorney for assistance and representation so that these issues can be handled properly.
A visa is just a pass to enter a country. There are two types of visas in the United States - non-immigrant visas (the temporary ones) and immigrant visas (the permanent ones). An approved EB-5 petition makes you eligible to obtain an immigrant visa and apply for permanent residency.
The EB-5 program is an immigrant visa program. It leads directly to residency.
The term EB-5 visa is the same as green card. Visas are broken up in terms of non-immigrant visas (temporary) and immigrant visas (green cards - permanent).
When they enter the United States on the visa, they are a permanent resident.
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