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GREEN CARD THROUGH INVESTMENT(EB-5)


GENERAL INFORMATION


An alien and his or her immediate family (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old) may get U.S. green cards if:

  1. the alien seeks to enter the United States to create a new commercial enterprise;
  2. the commercial enterprise was established by the alien;
  3. the alien made the investment after November 29, 1990, or the alien is actively in the process of investing;
  4. the capital invested is at least $1,000,000 (unless it is a high unemployment or rural area); and
  5. the enterprise benefits the U.S. economy and creates full-time employment for not fewer than 10 U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States (excluding the investor and the investor's spouse and children).

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HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT AND RURAL AREAS


In the case of an alien investing in a rural area or high unemployment area, the amount of capital is at least $500,000. High unemployment is defined as 150 percent of the annual national average unemployment rate. The current qualifying rate is 7.4 percent. 150 percent of the 1997 national average rate of 4.9 percent.

For more information on rural and high unemployment areas in California visit the publications page of the California Trade and Commerce Agency, Office of Foreign Investment website and click Federal Investor Visa Program. This pamphlet will give you detailed information on which areas qualify as high unemployment or rural areas in California. Their phone number is (916) 322-3518.

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TYPES OF BUSINESS ARRANGEMENTS


Over the past several years aliens have become involved in many types of business arrangements in an attempt to qualify for investor green cards.

On December 19, 1997 the INS General Counsel released a memorandum on the various financial relationships utilized in investor green card cases. This memorandum has shaken up the green card investor area of US Immigration law.

Since that time INS has assembled a "Tiger Team" at the California Service Center to review pending cases, and alerted the U.S. consulates abroad to return immigrant investor cases that had already been approved by the INS prior to the December 19 memo. Moreover, the US Immigration courts have reviewed this area and has issued a number of precedent decisions in an attempt to clarify this area.

Some of the important memos regarding this area are available here as general background information. (Click here). However, given the extreme complexity of this area it is advised that legal counsel is obtained if you are interested in this type of a green card or are currently a conditional permanent resident based upon an investment.

Moreover, keep in mind that if an investment business arrangement sounds too good to be true, it might be the type of arrangement that the INS General Counsel is targeting. Be careful.

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CONDITIONAL RESIDENT STATUS


Alien investors and their immediate relatives will be admitted to the United States as conditional permanent residents for 2 years. During the 90 day period prior to the 2 year anniversary of being granted conditional resident status, the investor and his family must prove to the INS that the business was established and in continuous operation, and that it employs at least 10 people. If so, the alien and his immediate family will be granted permanent resident status. After 2 years, the investor and his family must demonstrate to the INS within the 90 day period prior to the 2 year anniversary of the granting of the conditional resident status.

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RELATED LIGHTHOUSE ARTICLES


(#77-04/16/98)
Million Dollar Investment Visa and Business Arrangements

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