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 T-5 visa, what it is, its requirements, how to apply, and other relevant details.
What is the T-5 visa?
The T-5 visa allows people who are wealthy and want to live in the U.S to invest in the country’s economy and be allowed to gain permanent resident status. The investors for the T-5 visa must invest in an area that has high unemployment and is in a rural place. This investment must create jobs and benefit the community in the area.
In return for the investment, the T-5 investor is allowed to live and work in the U.S. After a few years and when the conditions are fulfilled, the person can also apply for naturalization and gain a U.S citizenship. With the T-5 visa, the person is required to respect all U.S laws and regulations, including tax filing.
The T-5 visa is part of the EB-5 investor visas group which are limited in the amount of visas issued each year. Because of this limitation, less than 3,000 T-5 visas are issued each year. This makes the T-5 visa highly competitive and difficult to get.
What are the T-5 visa requirements?
Qualifying for the T-5 visa means that you must fulfill a few requirements.
The first requirement is that an investor in the T-5 category must invest their money in what is called a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). TEA places are those with high unemployment and are also rural and in need of more jobs. For the T-5 visa, the investor cannot invest in a general area with normal levels of unemployment, but must contact USCIS to ask which areas are TEA.
The second requirement is that within the TEA area, the T-5 investor must invest in a commercial enterprise established on or before Nov 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 that this investment must create at least 10 new jobs in the TEA area. The jobs must be permanent and full time. They can be either direct or indirect jobs. Direct jobs are those that are created within the commercial enterprise that the investor has invested in. Indirect jobs are those that have come as a result of the investment in the commercial enterprise, but the people hired work for other companies. These can be jobs in the supply chain of the commercial enterprise.
The fourth and final requirement is for the amount of the investment. Since T-5 visas are for TEA areas, the minimum investment is $500,000. This investment must come from the investor’s own money and assets and must not be borrowed.
How to apply for a T-5 visa?
If you as the applicant fulfill all the criteria for the T-5 visa, then you can start applying. The application procedure for the T-5 visa is divided into two parts:
- Getting an approved petition from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Applying for the T-5 immigrant visa
Filing the petition
Before you are allowed to apply for the T-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 T-5 visa
When your priority date is current and you receive the instructions from NVC, you can then apply for the T-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 T-5 visa fees?
There are many fees which you are responsible for paying while you apply for the T-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 T-5 visa processing time?
Since the T-5 visa has a limit on how many visas can be issued during one year, the processing time of this visa can be quite long. The average time it takes for you to have your visa processed and approved can range from a few months to a few years. This time depends on different factors but the main ones depend on when you submitted your application and how many applications are before you.
If your application is within the quota of the year, then you will be processed quite fast. But if your application is after the maximum number of visas has been given, you will be placed on a wait list for next year.
How to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) with a T-5 visa?
The next step after you have gotten your T-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 a T-5 visa?
When your T-5 visa is approved, you then move to the U.S and you can also bring your family to live with you. The U.S defines a family as the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old. Because of this, only these members of your family are allowed to apply for a visa.
When your spouse and children get their visas, they are allowed to move to the U.S too. Your children can attend school, while your spouse can apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The EAD allows the spouse to work in the U.S. The spouse can choose to work in your commercial enterprise that you have invested in, or find a job elsewhere.