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EB-5 visas as a way to immigrate

Some people who want to immigrate to California are able to do so by using the EB-5 visa program. This type of visa is reserved for foreign investors who are able to invest at least $500,000 or more in job-creating business ventures., and it can provide an eventual path to citizenship for those who qualify.

EB-5 visas have both strong supporters and equally strong opponents. The EB-5 visa program was started in the 1990s for the purpose of creating new jobs in the U.S. After the economic collapse in the 2000s, the program surged with many EB-5 visa applicants coming from China. Investors who are willing to invest their money in areas with high unemployment rates are able to do so with as little as $500,000. For those wanting to invest in other areas, the minimum investment amount for the EB-5 visa program is $1 million.

Critics of the program point to the fact that some developers use created districts called targeted employment areas. In many of these districts, both wealthy neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods are included. This allows developers to still use the foreign investments for projects in richer areas for smaller investment amounts.

The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development is entrusted with handling much of the EB-5 matters in California. It handles targeted employment area designations, but there is no state involvement when the investment is $1 million or over. People who are interested in these types of visas may want to begin the process by meeting with an immigration attorney in order to learn what types of documents need to be filed.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber