United States E5 Investor Visa Information and How to Apply


There are five categories in the U.S. employment visa category: priority workers and persons of extraordinary ability (E1), professionals with advanced degrees and exceptional ability (E2), skilled workers or professionals and other workers (E3), certain special immigrants (E4), and immigrant investors (E5).

These work visas, like other visa categories, have their requirements and use cases. To know better which visa category is best for you, talk to one of our Miami, Florida immigration attorneys.

E5 Immigrant Investors

E5 visas are designated for immigrant investors, also known as immigrant entrepreneurs. These were created to bring foreign investors into the U.S to encourage them to put up commercial enterprises into the U.S. that in turn will create more jobs and stimulate the economy through capital investment.

To be able to get this visa, a person must be able to meet the minimum qualifying capital invested into a commercial enterprise:

  • $900,000 (U.S.) in high unemployment or rural area, considered a target employment area,
  • $1,800,000 (U.S.) elsewhere.

The investment must also last for two years and create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens, authorized immigrants, or legal permanent residents, excluding the investor, his spouse, and his children.

The area of investment also determines the subcategory of the E5 visa as follows:

  • I5 – Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area
  • R5 – Investor Pilot Program not in a targeted area
  • T5 – Employment creation in a targeted rural/high unemployment area
  • C5 – employment creation outside a targeted area

E5 Visa Application Procedures

1. File a Petition

E5 Investor VisaThe first step to acquiring an E5 visa is to file a petition through Form I-526, the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur form with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS will then evaluate your application before you can apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country.

You do not need a labor certification if you’re applying for an immigrant investor visa.

Your spouse and minor unmarried children (younger than 21) may also apply with you once your petition is approved. They will have to fill up their forms, compile civil documents, pay fees, and undergo medical exams and vaccinations.

Visa applications are filed according to the chronological order they were submitted and are sorted by priority date, which is the date a petition is filed. This means that an immigrant visa will not be issued until its respective priority date is reached. There are also yearly quotas for each visa category- once the quota for the year is reached, visa issuing will stop and continue next year.

2. Pay Fees

Once your application has been approved by the USCIS, it will send it to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then give your petition a case number and wait for your application date to meet the soonest qualifying date. Once this happens, and if you do not already have an immigration lawyer, the NVC will tell you to fill out Form DS-261, a Choice of Address and Agent form.

The NVC will also ask you to pay the required fees at this point. The fees are as follows:

  • Form I-526 filing fee
  • Form DS-260 processing fee

 3. Visa Application and Documents

Once paid, the NVC will tell you to submit your application forms. The NVC will also give you a list of documents that you will have to compile, as follows:

  • Passports valid at least until six months after the intended entry date into the U.S, unless longer validity is required by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country.
  • Form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application Form
  • Two 2×2 photographs
  • Civil documents- including birth and marriage certificates. Bring original or certified true copies. Some documents may need to be translated, so be sure to ask your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to know more.
  • Financial support- you must be able to show at your interview that you have the financial means to support yourself and will not be a public liability or public charge in the U.S.
  • Complete Medical Examination Forms- this will be provided by the panel physician after your medical examination and vaccinations.

The NVC will request scanned copies of these documents, but you must remember to bring the original copies along with the rest of the documents to your interview.

4. Medical Examination and Vaccinations

Before you go to your interview, you will also need to schedule a complete medical examination and vaccination to be done by an authorized panel physician. This is required for all immigrants, regardless of age. The NVC has a list of authorized panel physicians per country.

The U.S. immigration law also requires all immigrants to be vaccinated with certain vaccines before they can immigrate to the U.S.

5. Visa Interview

Once you have submitted all the required documents, the NVC will schedule a date for your interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country. The NVC will notify you regarding this schedule via email or letter, as well as your attorney and third-party agent, whomever applicable.

You will have to bring your passports as well as any other required documents that have not already been submitted to and provided to the Consulate or Embassy by the NVC. Generally, you get these original documents back at the end of the interview.

During the interview, the consular officer will check whether or not you are eligible to get an immigrant visa based on U.S. immigration laws. Your fingerprints will also be digitally recorded.

The issuing of visas can take a while because of the numerical limits and quotas imposed. Your application might also be delayed if there are errors in it, so make sure that your visa is filled out correctly to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Streamline your visa application process by talking to one of our immigration lawyers at AmLaw Group, a Miami, Florida immigration law firm to receive help with your paperwork and naturalization process.

Receiving Your Visa

Once approved, you will receive back your passport with the immigrant visa attached. This visa will allow you to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission for lawful entry into the U.S. as an immigrant with a lawful permanent resident status. But before you travel, you must first pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee.

Along with your passport, you will receive a sealed packet. You must not open this packet. It must remain sealed until you enter the U.S., at which point, you will give it to a U.S. immigration officer who will be the one to open it.

Being a green card holder allows you to be a permanent resident in the U.S. which means you can legally live and work in the U.S. You will also be allowed to apply for US citizenship at a later time as permanent residency and being a permanent resident cardholder is a prerequisite to naturalization.

If you are planning to apply for an investor visa in the U.S., don’t hesitate to talk to an immigration attorney at AmLaw Group. Our experienced immigration lawyers will assist you through the immigration process and help you achieve your dreams of getting into the U.S.

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