1st Preference: An Individual of extraordinary ability must be able to show a record of sustained national or international acclaim in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
An outstanding professor or researcher must be able to demonstrate international recognition as outstanding in a specific academic area with at least three years experience in that area. They must also demonstrate that they are coming to the U.S. to be employed in a tenure track university position or similar type private employment.
A multinational executive or manager transferee must have been employed as such for at least one year in the last three years by a foreign firm with an active U.S. affiliate or subsidiary and is being transferred to the U.S. to continue employment as a manager or executive. Both the foreign and U.S. entities must be ongoing and viable.
2nd Preference: Employment Based Second Preference is a method of obtaining permanent residence available to those who hold advanced degrees or are recognized to have exceptional ability in their field of sciences, arts or business. The individual must demonstrate that they have a specific "endeavor" they will pursue in the U.S. and that this endeavor will substantially benefit the national interest. Exceptional ability must be proven through a record demonstrating a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered. Once "exceptional ability" has been proven, USCIS will consider whether the individual's endeavor has substantial merit and national importance, whether the individual is well positioned to execute the endeavor, and if their presence outweighs the potential to negatively affect a similarly qualified U.S. worker or if there is an urgent need for their contributions.
3rd Preference: Employment Based Third Preference is available to skilled and professional workers, utilizing the Labor Certification (“Perm”) process. A prospective offer of permanent, full-time employment from a U.S. employer is required, based upon the experience or degree already possessed by the sponsored individual at the time of filing.
The experience must have been gained with a different employer from the sponsor. The employer will need to demonstrate they have the ability to pay the prevailing wage determined by the U.S. Department of Labor from the beginning of the process until the person obtains permanent residence. The Department of Labor requires that a “recruitment process” be completed by the sponsoring employer to demonstrate there are no qualified, bona fide or willing U.S. workers for the position being offered. A job offer, the sponsored individual’s experience and/or education which is usable by the prospective employer, and an employer’s ability to pay the wage offered, are critical factors.
Currently, the most commonly used method for obtaining employment-based permanent residence, Labor Certification involves the U.S. Department of Labor at both the state and federal levels as well as the USCIS.
4th Preference: Employment Based Fourth Preference is for special immigrants such as ministers or others in a religious vocation or occupation. There are other limited special immigrant categories.
5th Preference: Employment Based Fifth Preference is for employment creation investors.
EB-5 requirements include: an investment of at least 1.8 million dollars, or $800,000 if the investment is in a target employment area*; Creation of full-time employment for at least 10 individuals; Investment in a new business or distressed business; Investment in an approved Regional Center**.
* Targeted Employment Area is defined as: any city, county, census tract or other geographical area accepted by the USCIS that has an unemployment rate over 150% of the national average rate, or a “rural area." A “rural area” is an area outside a metropolitan statistical area or outer boundary of a city or town having a population of 20,000 or more.
** Regional Centers: A USCIS program to encourage investment in the U.S., Regional Centers are USCIS-designated enterprises that pool foreign investor capital and invest in qualifying projects. This may reduce the qualifying investment to $800,000 depending upon its location. Also it is the investment, not the individual investor, that must create the 10 full-time, permanent jobs for legal U.S. workers, not including investor and family members.
Most importantly, EB-5 regulations require investors prove: (1) the source of invested capital is “lawful” AND the investor has a level of income or has accumulated sufficient wealth to enable the investor to invest. Claims to the source of funds must be properly and thoroughly supported with documentary evidence of the lawful source of funds.
The Service will require evidence that links the invested funds to the investor. Providing every document necessary to trace the invested funds from their overseas origin to their U.S. investment is key, and includes: wire transfer receipts; deposit receipts; bank statements showing withdrawal of funds from one account and deposit of those funds into another; bank letter confirming funds transfer.
1. FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS
Complete tax returns (both individual and, if applicable, business returns) filed in any jurisdiction for each of the last five years. Financial Statements – both personal and for the investor’s business, preferably audited.
Copies of all investment and securities accounts for the last three years (if significant gains occur in years prior to that, include documentation of such transactions). Also stock certificates and bank statements – one statement for each of the last three years for all bank accounts in which a substantial balance was maintained.
3. BUSINESS DOCUMENTS
Business registration records for all businesses, in the U.S. and outside the U.S. Business promotional materials, including website addresses. Documentation proving your (the investor) ownership, directorship, and/or officership in the business, including stock records, corporate minutes, and related official documents. An accountant’s evaluation or appraisal of the business(es) in which you (the investor) own a controlling or substantial interest.
4. REAL ESTATE
Deeds and mortgage documents for all properties in which you (the investor) own an interest. Documentation of all real estate purchase and sales. Appraisals of the owned real estate. Lease documents for the real estate from which you earn such income. The details for each property including the following: complete address of each property; listed owners; purchase price; date of purchase; appraisal price; date of appraisal; mortgage balance due; rental income dollar amount (if any); date of sale; amount of sale proceeds.
5. EMPLOYMENT DOCUMENTS
Documentation includes but not limited to: C.V. or resume, educational credentials (e.g., diplomas, transcripts), letters of employment confirmation and reference, professional licenses, where applicable, and employment contracts.
6. OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME
Inheritance - all related documents, such as will or the deceased's estate settlement.
Divorce - all documents related to income received, such as alimony, property, etc.
Lawsuits - related documents to recovery in any civil lawsuits, i.e., court judgements, decrees, proof of payments.
Gifts - All related documents, including registration with tax authorities. Details required are: amount of gift, reason for gift, information regarding the source of the income of the person giving the gift (for each giver).
Loans - all documents including but not limited to promissory notes and proof of payments.
7. COURT PROCEEDINGS
All documentation relating to any proceedings in which you have been involved whether civil or criminal, whether plaintiff or defendant, including all court records, legal judgments and dispositions, and arrest records.