The United
States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Agency's EB-5 permanent
visa program has helped thousands of foreign investors obtain green cards since
the inception of the program over twenty years ago.

United States Congress established what has come to be known as the Immigrant
Investor Program in the early 1990s in an effort to help foreign nationals
obtain permanent residency visas while at the same time encouraging economic
growth and job creation here at home. 
The main features of the Program can be summed up in two parts: in order
to obtain a green card, a foreign national (1) must invest at least $500,000 in
a commercial enterprise in the United States, and (2) that investment must
create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs.  A green card awarded through this Program is also sometimes
referred to as an EB-5 visa.

are two ways a foreign investor can obtain a permanent visa, depending on the amount
of money he or she wishes to invest in a commercial project.  The majority of foreign investors choose to
invest $500,000 in regional centers. 
Regional centers are set up in rural areas or areas that are
experiencing high unemployment, and they are usually led by well-qualified
U.S.-based managers with experience in commercial development.  By placing their money in the hands of
reputable managers, foreign investors can be assured that the commercial
enterprise in which they have invested - a hotel or shopping center, for
example - will come to fruition and ultimately lead to a permanent visa.

Or, a
foreign investor can choose to invest $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise
anywhere in the United States, and directly create or preserve 10 permanent full-time
jobs within two years (the same job requirements apply to the $500,000
commercial investment option).

permanent visas are the most attractive benefit of the Immigrant Investor
Program, foreign nationals may also apply for citizenship once they have
obtained a permanent visa through this Program. 
After a foreign investor has begun the EB-5 permanent visa process by
making the initial investment and applying for a conditional visa, he or she must
then petition USCIS for removal of the conditional status of their visa
(assuming the requirements of the Program - namely, the creation of 10
permanent full-time jobs - have been met). 
A foreign investor who meets the criteria of the Immigrant Investor
Program may apply for naturalized citizenship five years after he or she has
received a conditional visa.  In all, the
process to become a naturalized citizen can take several years.  However, the timeframe can be shortened or
lengthened depending on the number of USCIS and other agency staff available to
process EB-5 applications, and the timeliness of the foreign investors' own
applications and petitions with the relevant agencies.

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