The EB5 or the Immigrant Investor Visa Program, though lesser known, offers international students a path to a US Green Card. But the visa comes with an exorbitant price tag not many can afford.
The EB5 visa does not restrict where and how much an international student can work off-campus. It also allows them to stay in the US after graduation. Both these perks do not come with the F1 Visa.
VOA News spoke to Ishaan Khanna who is a recent graduate and an EB5 visa holder. Ishaan says that a lot of well-to-do students come to the US to study. They are extremely motivated to stay back in the US post completion of their course. To such students, the EB5 visa makes complete sense.
The EB5 Visa program was launched in 1990 with the target of attracting foreign investment. The focus was also to create local jobs, according to DHS.
The EB5 Visa requirement states that an applicant needs to invest $500,000 either in a regional center or in a business. The USCIS defines a regional center as a private or public economic unit involved with promoting economic growth. The USCIS designates regional centers to participate in the EB5 Visa Program.
An applicant’s investment qualifies only if it is successful in creating 10 full-time jobs. In 2016, 91.5% of the investors chose to invest in regional centers.
Applicants whose visa application is approved in the EB5 Program receive a 2-year provisional Green Card. The Green Card becomes permanent is the investment is able to meet the job-creation standards.
A US Green Card holds undeniable appeal, says Ishaan. An international student can live, work, or study anywhere in the US freely. Employers find Green Card holders much more attractive than other visa holders.
USCIS has a quota of up to 10,000 EB5 Visas per year. However, data for the number of students on the said visa is not yet available.
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