The EB-5 visa or the Fifth Priority Workers visa is for those who create jobs and employment positions in the U.S and invest in the U.S economy. It is very different from the other types of visas because it does not require a U.S employer to petition for the foreign immigrant.
The EB-5 visa allows a foreign citizen to obtain a U.S Green Card through investing and creating jobs in the U.S economy. The investment must be between $500,000 and $1 million and create at least 10 jobs for U.S citizens or foreign immigrants. It makes a distinction between the general U.S economy and target areas which are rural places where there is high unemployment in the U.S
Based on these target areas, there are different types of EB-5 visas, such as:
- C-5 visa for investors who create jobs outside of target areas
- T-5 visa for investors who create jobs in targeted rural or high unemployment areas
- R-5 visa for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program not in a target area
- I-5 visa for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area
This article will go through the R-5 visa, what it is, its requirements, how to apply, and other relevant details.
What is the R-5 visa?
Within the investor visas, the investors can choose to invest in different areas of the U.S to get their Green Cards. These areas can be general, targeted high unemployment and rural areas, or what are called regional centers. Regional centers are part of the Investor Pilot Program in different places in the U.S.
Regional centers have as a goal to increase economic growth through increasing exports, employment, productivity, or capital investment. They can either be general or targeted. The R-5 visa has been created for investors who participate in the Investor Pilot Program in a general area.
The R-5 visa allows investors to get a Green Card and permanently live in the U.S. The visa holder can travel to other countries for short periods of time and should also respect all U.S laws and regulations as well as pay taxes.
Since the R-5 visa is in the EB-5 visa category, it is subject to a cap and has a limited number of visas that will be issued during one year. This means that it is quite difficult to get this visa and that the processing time can be long.
What are the requirements for the R-5 visa?
In order to qualify for an R-5 visa, there are several requirements that applicants must meet.
The first requirement is for the investor to invest their money in a Regional Center part of the Investor Pilot Program. The Regional Center must be general and not in a targeted area with high unemployment.
The second requirement is that the investor must invest in a commercial enterprise established on or before November 29th, 1990. There are two forms which the investment can be made:
- By buying an existing enterprise and restructuring it into a new commercial enterprise
- By investing to expand an existing enterprise and increasing its net worth by 40% or increase its employment
The third requirement is for the investor to create at least 10 jobs within 2 years. The jobs must be permanent and full time, and hiring one of the family members of the investor does not count. If the investor invests in a troubled business that is close to bankruptcy, then the requirement is to be able to maintain those jobs.
The fourth and final requirement is on the amount of money invested. For the R-5 visa since it is not in a targeted area, the minimum amount is $1 million. The investment must be the investor’s personal asset and cannot be borrowed.
How to apply for the R-5 visa?
If you as the applicant fulfill all the criteria for the R-5 visa, then you can start applying. The application procedure for the R-5 visa is divided into two parts:
- Getting an approved petition from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Applying for the R-5 immigrant visa
Filing the petition
Before you are allowed to apply for the R-5 visa, you must first confirm your eligibility with the U.S authorities. The organization in charge for this type of visa is USCIS. To comply with this requirement, you must file a petition by sending Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
Different from the other types of employment visas, you can file the petition yourself and do not need a U.S employer to do that. When USCIS gets the petition, they will review it and inform you whether you have been approved or denied. If your petition is approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) who will be responsible for your application from that point onwards.
The NVC will assign a case number and invoice ID number to you and send you a package with instructions and forms about how to apply. The package will only be sent to you when your priority date becomes current and you are allowed to apply. If your priority date is not current, you will have to wait and then apply.
Apply for the R-5 visa
When your priority date is current and you receive the instructions from NVC, you can then apply for the R-5 visa at the U.S Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. You must follow these steps:
- Apply online by submitting Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application. The form serves as your application and you can access it through your case number. When you are done, you will get a confirmation page and code which you will later send to the NVC.
- Complete a medical examination and get the necessary vaccines which are outlined in your instructions from the NVC. Your medical examination documents must be signed by a licensed doctor.
- Compile your supporting documents and send them to the NVC. Your file must include:
- Your passport which must be valid for more than 6 months after your intended departure to the U.S
- Your investment plans
- Your bank statements proving you have the necessary amounts of money
- The approved petition
- Your DS-260 confirmation page
- Your signed medical and vaccine documents
- Two photographs meeting the Photo Requirements
- Academic achievements (diplomas and certificates)
- Your CV or resume
- Court and criminal records
- Depending on the case, the NVC might require other supporting documents, so you must follow their instructions carefully.
- Attend the visa interview which is scheduled by the NVC at your U.S Embassy after they have reviewed your supporting documents.
- Receive your immigration package and travel to the U.S. The NVC will send you this package after your visa has been approved and you must not open it. You must travel with it to the U.S and an immigration official at the U.S port of entry will open it and determine whether you are allowed to enter the country.
What are the R-5 visa fees?
There are many fees which you are responsible for paying while you apply for the R-5 visa. The amounts vary and are decided by USCIS and the U.S Embassy in the country you are applying from. In general, you will have to pay the following fees:
- USCIS Form I-526 petition filing fee
- Form DS-260 processing fee
- Medical examination fees
- Fees to obtain supporting documents
- Any translation fees from foreign language to English
Your application will not be processed if you do not pay the fees before the deadlines specified by USCIS, NVC, and the U.S Embassy where you are applying in.
How long is the R-5 visa processing time?
The R-5 visa has a limit on the number of visas that can be given in a year. This means that if you submitted your application and that maximum number has not yet been reached, your application will be processed faster. However, if you submit your application and the number of visas issued has reached the maximum, you will be placed on a waiting list and will be processed in the next year.
Because of this, the processing times for the R-5 visa can vary from a few months to a few years. It all depends on when you submitted your application and how many applications are before yours.
How to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) with a R-5 visa?
The next step after you have gotten your R-5 visa is to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S. This is usually known as getting the Green Card. To change your status from your immigrant visa to an LPR, you must first have an approved petition from USCIS and the visa, as well as live in the U.S.
Afterwards, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. This form will be processed and if approved you will get your Green Card in the mail after a few weeks.
Can I bring my family to the U.S with an R-5 visa?
After your R-5 visa is approved, you are allowed to bring your family with you to the U.S. The U.S defined close family members that can accompany you as your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old. Other members of your family cannot come with you to the U.S permanently and have to apply for their own separate visas.
With an R-5 derivative or family visa, your spouse and children can live in the U.S permanently. Your children can attend school, while your spouse can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). With an EAD, your spouse can work in the U.S. The spouse can choose to work in your invested commercial enterprise or find another job.