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Getting a Green Card as an Investor


If you are not a United States citizen and have invested or are actively investing in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy, you may qualify to apply for lawful permanent resident status as an “immigrant investor” and receive your green card.

There are two major qualifications that must be met to qualify as an immigrant investor:

  1. First, you must have already invested, or be in the process of investing, in a new commercial enterprise.
  2. Second, this investment must create at least 10 full-time positions for qualifying employees.

This is a very expensive approach to qualifying for a green card, which is why we suggest that you have a knowledgeable immigration attorney in your corner before beginning the application process or starting to invest.

Capital Investment Requirements

As stated above, to be eligible to apply for a green card as an immigrant investor you must have already invested, or be in the process of investing, a certain amount of capital into a new commercial enterprise. What is a commercial enterprise? A commercial enterprise can be any for-profit activity, such as a partnership, corporation, business trust, limited liability company or any other entity which may be publicly or privately owned. Investors may also qualify by investing through regional centers, which are pre-designated as such by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Captial can be anything from cash to a mix of tangible assets owned and controlled by the immigrant investor; note that it will be valued in U.S. dollars.

The amount of capital investment required to qualify for green card eligibility varies depending on the location of the commercial enterprise. Generally, the minimum investment amount is $1,050,000. An exception to the general investment requirement is when the targeted area of employment is either a rural area or is an area that has experienced high unemployment. If you are investing in one of these areas, then the minimum investment amount would be $800,000. If you are investing in a new commercial enterprise engaged in an infrastructure project, then the minimum investment amount would be $800,000. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney to properly determine the amount of investment and apply for Regional Center designation.

Job Creation Requirements

The investment that you make in a new commercial enterprise must create at least ten (10) full-time job positions for qualifying employees. What is a qualifying employee? A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States. It is important to note that you, as the immigrant investor, as well as your family, are not included in the required ten positions.

Overview of the Application Process

Applying for a green card through investment does not require a U.S. entity to sponsor you. You can self-petition. The following is a brief overview of the application process.

  1. First, you will need to file a visa petition, Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor) or Form I-526E (Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor), with USCIS. This will show that you have either made or are in the process of making a qualifying business investment in the United States.
  1. Once the above forms are approved, you and your relatives will need to submit your applications for green cards. You will need to file either a Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) if you outside of the U.S. and seeking admission into the U.S., or a Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) if you are already legally in the U.S. and looking to adjust your status to a conditional permanent resident within the U.S.
  1. After two-years of having adjusted your status to conditional permanent resident or having been admitted to the United States as a conditional permanent resident, you must file a Form I-829 (Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status). By filing this form, you are requesting that your status be changed to that of a permanent resident.

If you are considering an investment-based green card, it is important to note that this is one of the most difficult categories under which to establish eligibility considering its lengthy requirements. It is, therefore, important that you seek professional help from a knowledgeable immigration attorney so you can rest assured that your case will be effectively and efficiently handled. Before taking steps towards investing in the U.S., contact our immigration team here at KI Legal by calling (212) 404-8644 or emailing to discuss whether this is the right approach for you.




This information is the most up to date news available as of the date posted. Please be advised that any information posted on the KI Legal Blog or Social Channels is being supplied for informational purposes only and is subject to change at any time. For more information, and clarity surrounding your individual organization or current situation, contact a member of the KI Legal team.


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