Immigration Based on Investment

I have heard if I invest $1 million in a business in America, I can get a green card. Is this true?

Yes; and maybe even for less than a million. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 10,000 immigrant visas are available to qualified people seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise each year. Of these, 5,000 are set aside for people applying under a pilot program involving designated "Regional Centers." A Regional Center is an entity, organization or agency that has been approved as such by the USCIS, focuses on a specific geographic area within the United States and seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs and increased domestic capital investment.

Who is an "alien investor"?

An alien investor must demonstrate that he or she is making a "qualified investment" in a new commercial enterprise located within an approved Regional Center, and that the enterprise is creating 10 or more jobs either directly or indirectly through revenues generated from increased exports, improved regional productivity, job creation or increased domestic capital investment resulting from the pilot program.

Who is eligible to be an investor immigrant?

Eligible aliens are those who have invested-or are actively in the process of investing-the required capital into a new commercial enterprise that they have established. Generally, "eligible individuals" include people who create or invest at least $1 million in a new business and the business benefits the U.S. economy by creating full-time jobs for at least 10 people. The dollar amount drops to $500,000 if the business is located in an economically depressed area. (For a full list of the requirements under the investor immigrant option, see 8 U.S.C. 153(b)(5) and 8 C.F.R. 204.6.)

What forms do I need to fill out to apply for an investment visa?

You must file USCIS Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, along with supporting documentation clearly demonstrating that your investment meets all requirements. You can find the form on the USCIS Web site. If approved, you will need to either file a USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if you are currently living the United States, or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. If you then want to become a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder), you will need to file a USCIS Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, within 90 days before your second anniversary of admission to the United States as a conditional resident.

Can I bring my spouse and children with me if I qualify as an alien investor?

Yes. Your spouse and children are eligible to apply for visas based on your application.

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