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

Are you considering applying for Green Card via EB5 Visa?

EB5 Investment via REgional center has increased to $900,000 since late 2019. 

It looks like several Indians holding H1B Visa and F1 Visa are interested in Green Card via the EB5 Visa route when the investment amount via Regional Center used to be $500,000.

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 the Green Card in the 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 possible. It requires $500,000 or 1 Million US Dollars for investment into job-creating projects. Once the initial application is approved, the Conditional Green Card will be issued. After the conditions are satisfied by the Project about minimum job creation requirements, the 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 used to seriously considering EB5 for F1 Visa, holding sons and daughters.

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 EB3 Nov 2012.

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

At the current pace, Indian Nationals with PD of Nov 2012 may get their Green Card after eight to 15 years from now (updating this in 2020).

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 the following reasons:

  • The slow movement of  Priority Dates
  • Decades-long wait times for Green Card
  • Pending Rulemaking 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 six years

There was a rush to do the investment before the minimum investment increased.

Here are 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

  • $900,000 investment must be at risk. Meaning projects where the money will be invested can’t guarantee a return on investment. There’s a possibility to lose $900,000 (Since Nov 2019) and not get your green card.
  • Some EB5 investors take Regional Center Route. At the same time, others take Direct Pool Investment to Direct Investment.
  • The current processing time is about 24 to 49 months for the I-526 application. This is the first stage after the money is transferred to the Project (or to the Escrow account). Some projects and applications have received approvals in less than 24 months.
  • 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 the 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 an additional $50,000 to $100,000 in Administration fee, Attorneys Fee,  USCIS application fees, etc.
  • Dependents and qualified kids are also eligible to get Green Card (age Limits apply for Kids).
  • If everything works out in your favor, you will get your Green Card and investment back. Interest on your investment. Some projects could give higher returns.

EB5 for H1B Visa:

FYI: If you are just starting on your H1B Visa and your Green Card processing just began or yet to begin, you are looking at decades (yes, there’s an “s”) of wait time before you can get the Green Card. This is based on the 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 $950,000 (not $500,000) to invest in EB5 Visa for Green Card when there’s at least another decade of wait time. For some with ten years or more in the US could be able to afford it, 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 $900,000 (401k, Home Equity, Gift money, Loan, Selling investments, etc.), then it’s possible to reach the $600,000 limit.

EB5 for F1 Visa:

Suppose you can afford to self-invest $900,000 for EB5 as a student in F1 Visa in the early ’20s, kudos to you. You did good and please let me know what do you do and how do you do it. I love to know that 🙂

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

EB5 Direct Investment

When the EB5 Investment amount increased, Direct investment went from 1 Million to 1.8 Million dollars. But, as an Investor, you will have direct control of the money and the business.

Over to You:

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

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.

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35 Comments

  1. Hi Raghu,

    Here’s the case

    1. I’m currently working on H1B Visa (I – 140 In Process).
    2. My Spouse on H4 Visa with ITIN.
    3. Kid – US Citizen (1 Year)

    If I go for EB5 Processing by Investing Minimum of 900K, I’m not supposed to Work on H1B Since my EB5 will be in progress. But if I wanted to continue Employment on H1B, Can my Spouse with H4 Visa (ITIN) / Kid (US Citizen) Invest the same amount of 900K which is Sponsored by Me and act as a Liability…?

    So that I don’t need to skip the Employment which generates Day to Day Income for me and I achieve the objective of getting GC through EB5 which is little bit Quicker than EB2 / EB3…?

    Is this Scenario Possible…?

    1. EB5 will be done in parallel with your H1B. You will continue to work for your Employer while on H1B and I-140 will be also processed by the employer. You can have both EB2/3 and EB5 done at the same time.
      I think you misunderstood that if EB5 is done, you need to stop working 🙂
      That’s not the case.

      Once, your I-529 is approved, you will file I-765, I-131, along with I-485 (provided PD will be current). Then once I-765 is approved, you have an option at that time. Move to the new employer using your EAD or continue to work for the same employer. Your wife will also eligible to apply for I-765.

  2. Hi Raghu,

    Right now I’m on F1 and I’m going to marry a us citizen then how long it will take to get GC.

  3. I’m on H1B for the past 10 years with EB3 priority date of June 2014.
    Will it make sense to invest money in EB5 ? It is not that I have money to do so, need to pull in from loan and other sources.
    Is this wait time better than EB3/EB2 wait time ?
    Thanks !

    1. EB5 now would be as close to 10 years of wait. But, you *maybe* able to change to EAD/AP maybe in 2 to 4 years once I-526 is approved and USCIS accepts I-485 via filign dates. You may have to consider other options.

    2. Happen to see this question while browsing around and thought will respond even though it as an year late and you may still waiting for your GC.

      In the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2019 there was a huge rush to get the EB5 at $500K investment, but now it is at $900K minimum investment.

      EB5 processing for India has become current as of a few months back. Current total EB5 processing time may be around 4 years. But a Conditional Green Card can be obtained within 2-3 years.

  4. Hi Raghu,
    I am currently on H1B visa working in one IT company. I had completed 4 years of H1B period and my employer is about to start my GC.

    Is it possible to get a loan of 500K and invest in EB5 projects approved by USCIS? I do not have that much funds available with me.

    1. Everyone,
      Please be aware that EB5 is backlogged now and the wait time will be about 8 yrs. So it won’t be useful if that doesn’t align with your purpose. Please make a decision after considering all possible scenarios.

      1. Yip.. 8 to 9 years if you file now. One benefit that still exists is a possibility to file I-485/AP. About 3 to 5 months in a year, USCIS accepted Filing Chart, that will give an option to file I485/AP.

  5. My son and daughter in law are on H1b visa these days. Can they make 500K investments from their income in USA?

    1. $500,000 can be from multiple sources. Their savings, gifts from parents and inlaws, friends, loan, etc.

  6. Hi Raghu,

    If my STEM OPT Application is a month in process and my current employer is applying for my h1b. Can I leave my job mid h1b application, go home to India join my family business and apply for EB-5 Visa?

    Does it make sense to get an EB-5 or use B1/B2 visa if I want to expand my real estate business into the US?

    What visa do I use to enter the country if my EB-5 visa is in process?

    1. That’s the problem. You can’t come into to work while EB5 is pending. There’s E2 or L1. Both may or may not be applicable to you. I’m sending an email to you.

  7. Hi Raghu,

    Thank you for your article. Is there a faster way of processing I-526 like premium processing?

    Thanks

    1. There is no premium processing for I-526 but there are faster options. Are you planning to do EB5?

  8. 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?

    1. 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?

  9. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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?

          1. Hi Raghuram, Thanks for your reply.

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

          2. 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.

  10. 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” ?

    1. 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.

  11. Nice Article Raghu. Could you please provide the referral of EB5 Immigration Attorney. Thanks in advance.

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

    1. Look up My Florida Regional Center, they are USCIS approved regional center with a pending development in Singer Island, Florida called Amrit Residences. Currently they have 153 approved EB 5 investors and will be accepting more investors for the next 2 years.

    1. 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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