Is it Possible to Get Green Card via EB5 Visa for H1B Visa and F1 Visa Holders?

Looks like several Indians holding H1B Visa and F1 Visa are interested in Green Card via EB5 Visa route. Are you considering applying for Green Card via EB5?

I received a call from my uncle and here’s how the conversation went.

Uncle: “My friend wants to talk to you about Green Card via Investment. I will send his contact number, call him when you get a chance.”

I:”Sure, I will talk to him. No Problem“.

After a couple of hours, I spoke to my uncle’s friend about EB5 for F1 Visa (His son’s STEM OPT is expiring shortly). Here’s how the conversation went.

I: “I’m Raghu and I’m calling to talk about EB5 Visa and my uncle gave me your number“.

After the introductions, we started talking about his son who is on STEM OPT and it’s about to expire this year.

Uncle: “My son’s STEM OPT is expiring this year. He’s got one last chance to apply for H1B Visa. I heard about Green Card in USA via Investment. Do you know anything about it?”

I: “Sure. I have done my fair share of research about EB5 Visa. EB5 for H1B Visa and EB5 for F1 Visa holders are definitely possible. It requires $500,000 or 1 Million US Dollars for investment into job creating projects. Once the initial application is approved, Conditional Green Card will be issued. After the conditions are satisfied by the project about minimum job creation requirements, condition will be removed on the Green Card. This is a much faster option to get Green Card for Indians right now. Especially EB5 Visa is a good option for H1B Visa and F1 Visa holders if they can afford“.

Uncle: “I’m going to ask my son to talk to you, and can he get Green Card before his STEM OPT expires in 10 months?

I: “I don’t think it’s possible to get the conditional Green Card in 10 months if the application filed today. He may have to find other legal ways to stay in status in the US or he could leave the US after STEM OPT expires and  travel back to the US once I-526 application is approved”.

So, that’s how to conversation went regarding EB5 for F1 Visa holder. Parents are seriously considering EB5 for F1 Visa holding son and daughter’s.

While I was having this conversation, another friend hit me up in WhatApp and here’s the exact comment:

I had an interesting conversation with my friend who is Houston. He wants to cobble up $500K and apply for EB5. He has been in the US for 10 years and his priority date is Nov 2012.

The Priority Dates for EB2, EB3 India is moving at snail pace.

At the current pace, Indian Nationals with PD of Nov 2012 may get their Green Card after 8 years from now (2018).

Why EB5 Visa for H1B and F1 Visa Holders?

So, what’s driving the increase in interest for EB5 for H1B Visa and F1 Visa holders? I can think of following reasons:

  • Slow movement of  Priority Dates
  • Decades long wait times for Green Card
  • Pending Rule making to remove H4 EAD
  • The difficulty to get H1B Visa through a lottery
  • No legal immigration bill to ease the Green Card Backlogs
  • Possible regulations to restrict H1B extensions beyond 6 years
  • Possible EB5 Visa reform to increase minimum investment to $800,000

Here’s some additional details I shared with the student on STEM OPT when I spoke who is considering EB5 Visa for a green card.

Generic Answers About EB5 Visa

  • $500,000 investment must be at risk. Meaning, projects where the money will be invested can’t guarantee return on investment. There’s a possibility to lose $500,000 and not get your green card.
  • Some EB5 investors take Regional Center Route. While others take Direct Pool Investment  to Direct Investment.
  • The current processing time is about 24 months for I-526 application. This is the first stage after the money is transferred to the Project (or to Escrow account). Some projects and applications have received approvals in less than 24 months time.
  • After I-526 is approved, if applicants are staying within the USA, I-485 would be filed for Adjustment of Status to Green Card. If applicants are outside USA, then Consular processing would be done.
  • Investors can choose to work with EB5 consultants and an Immigration Attorney to identify EB5 projects or work directly with the Project and Immigration Attorney.
  • Expect to pay around $525,000 to $600,000. In additional, $500,000 there’s administration fee, Attorneys Fee,  USCIS application fees, etc.
  • Dependents and qualified kids are also eligible to get Green Card.
  • If everything works out in your favor, you would get your Green Card and investment back. Interest on your investment would be close to zero percent.

EB5 for H1B Visa:

FYI: If you are just starting out on your H1B Visa and your Green Card processing just began or yet to begin, you are looking at decades (yes, there’s a “s”) of wait time before you can get the Green Card. This is based on current employment based immigration law.

If the H1B Visa holder lived in the US for over a decade with double income, depending on your savings, if you can cobble up $500,000 to invest in EB5 Visa for Green Card when there’s at least another decade of wait time. For some with 10 years or more in the US could be able to afford, but it may come with investing your entire life savings at-risk investment.

If you had just one income and your spouse wasn’t working, then you should find ways to gather $600,000 (401k, Home Equity, Gift money, Loan, Selling investments, etc.), then it’s possible to reach the $600,000 limit.

EB5 for F1 Visa:

If you can afford to self-invest $500,000 for EB5 as a student in F1 Visa in early 20’s, kudo’s to you. You did good and please let me now what do you do and how do you do it. I love to know that 🙂

I think the most likely scenario is the parent’s of F1 Visa students to sponsor their investment for EB5 by gifting the money to them.

Over to You:

  • Are you considering Green Card via EB5?
  • Do you have any other questions about EB5 Visa?

I have conducted a webinar with an EB5 Visa consultant and replay is available for viewing.

Always, check with a qualified Immigration Attorney to learn more about Green Card via EB5 Visa for H1B Visa and F1 Visa Holders and I’m happy to provide a referral for an EB5 Immigration Attorney, if you need one.

16 Comments

  1. Vipul on November 11, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    I am on h1b visa and my gc is currently under process in EB2 category. If I apply for EB5, what happens to my EB2 status? Does it continue simultaneously? Also, once the I 526 is approved within 6 months, do I get a a 2 year conditional GC immediately? What happens to my H1b visa in that case? Also, if the permanent GC is not approved, then what happens to my H1B Visa?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 11, 2018 at 3:01 PM

      Vipul,

      EB2 and EB5 will be on separate track. Once I-526 is approved, and if the I-485 Final Action Date is Current or Filing Dates is on or before your EB5 PD, then you can file I-485. And once I-485 is filed, EAD/AP would come in 3 to 4 months. Then Conditional GC would be based on visa availability. You need H-1b until I-485 is filed and EAD is approved. Once EAD is approved, it’s your decision to use eAD or stay on H1B.
      Are you planning to file I-256? How soon?

  2. Ali on September 17, 2018 at 6:06 PM

    What percentage of investors lose their and money and never get GC due to fail of the project?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on September 18, 2018 at 9:59 AM

      I wish there’s a public data on that I could share.

  3. CJS on May 18, 2018 at 12:31 AM

    Hi, In order to apply for Green Card under EB5 category, Investment must be on applicants name or it can be done by somebody who is not in US.
    My uncle has a business in US which he operates from India and they visit US 2-3 times only in a year on business visa and they are not going to file a green card for themselves. Can my uncle file my Green Card under EB5 category based on his business in US.
    Currently I am on H1B.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 18, 2018 at 2:17 AM

      You have to file in your name.

      • CJS on May 18, 2018 at 5:41 PM

        Hi Raghuram, Thanks for your reply.

        Just to confirm the investment needs to be done by me on my name or since my uncle’s business is already setup in US we can use that to file green card for me.

        Currently I am working for some other employer on H1B. Can I get it transfer to my uncles business and then he can file for my green card in EB5 category?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on May 19, 2018 at 12:03 AM

          Based on what I have seen, a relative filing for PERM Labor might get rejected. That’s’ the traditional route.
          For EB5 – Your uncle can lend or gift the money to you and it has to be invested in your name. The money will come from your uncle to your account and then to the project’s account. Also, your uncle should prove the sources of money (ie its obtained legally). Let me know if you have any questions. Are you thinking about EB5 investment?

          • CJS on May 20, 2018 at 12:39 PM

            Hi Raghuram, Thanks for your reply.

            How long it takes to complete the process end-to-end under EB5 category to receive green card.



          • Raghuram Sukumar on May 20, 2018 at 11:38 PM

            There are 2 stages to the process. I-526 (takes about 2 years) for approval. There are a handful of projects that get approved faster than 2 years. Then you will get the conditional green card by I-485 or vis consular processing, which is same as the green card. Then file I829 to remove conditions, 90 days prior to the second anniversary of the date that the applicant first received their conditional residency.



  4. GSS on April 25, 2018 at 4:26 PM

    Raghu,

    I and my wife are on H1B and our 2 kids are US Citizens. My parents live in India. When you say “Dependents and qualified kids are also eligible to get Green Card.” Who are “Eligible” ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 14, 2018 at 11:50 AM

      You and your wife will get GC if you take EB5 route, but not your parents. Kids below a certain age to qualify if they are non-citizens.

  5. sudha devadoss on February 9, 2018 at 1:49 PM

    I m looking for more details and initial consultation with an attorney for h1-Eb5 .Can you please assist here.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 20, 2018 at 1:03 PM

      Sure. What sort of questions do you have?

  6. Sun on January 13, 2018 at 2:09 PM

    Do we require to invest 500K at the time of application or once the application is approved (after 18-24 months)?

    • Raghu on January 14, 2018 at 7:21 AM

      EB5 Visa application I-526 can be applied to USCIS only after 500k is transferred to the project (or an escrow account). There maybe some leeway if you are short on some funds (to be discussed with your project and attorney).

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