Many foreign nationals immigrate to the United States through the H-1B visa, which is a work visa that allows the visa holder to legally live and work in the United States. While this is often the visa of choice for educated or highly skilled foreigners, the H-1B visa comes with several restrictions for working, living, and studying in the United States for both the holder of the visa and their dependents. Although the H-1B visa may be useful for short-term residency within the United States, it cannot be used as a permanent immigration solution. This visa must be renewed every three years and if the renewal application is rejected for any reason, the visa holder and their dependents may find themselves immediately needing to relocate outside of the United States.

The EB-5 investor visa has become the key to permanent residency for a growing number of H-1B visa holders who desire to live and work in the United States without restriction. The requirements for the EB-5 visa generally includes an investment of $500,00USD into a government approved US-based project, often in the real estate or manufacturing sector. The investment amount is used to create and sustain ten jobs for persons eligible to work in the United States. Investors typically seek assistance on choosing a project from relevantly qualified entities such as third-party distributors.

An experienced immigration attorney will help the applicant submit the appropriate documentation, petitions, and applications to potentially adjust the investor’s status with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is possible that an H1B visa and their dependents remain in the United States lawfully while their EB-5 application is being processed. The timeline for the EB-5 process varies widely based on many factors, but experienced experts can give their best opinions based on the situation of the individual investor.

Once an EB-5 petition is approved, the applicant and their dependents (spouse and children 21 years old and younger) receive conditional green cards with eligibility to apply for permanent green cards two years later. Once the conditional green card is issued, the applicant and their dependents are free to live, work, and study anywhere in the United States.

While the H-1B visa is currently the most popular non-immigrant work visa, its many restrictions have made it increasingly less desirable to those seeking more permanent immigration options. If you are already a valid H-1B visa holder, the quickest path to permanent residency may be through the EB-5 investor visa. With a one-time investment, you can be on your way to securing permanent residence status for both yourself and your dependents in the fastest way possible.