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EB-5 Question of the Week: Is the EB-5 program a suitable option for international students?

Yes, the EB-5 program is a suitable option for students seeking to study in the United States. By participating in the EB-5 program and obtaining their U.S. Green Cards, students can unlock a plethora of opportunities and benefits.

What is the EB-5 program?

The EB-5 program was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 with the goal of promoting economic growth in the United States through the injection of foreign capital. By investing a prescribed amount of capital, foreign investors can obtain the U.S. Green Card for themselves and their dependent family members, including spouse and children under the age of 21. Currently the required capital contribution is $800,000 which is eligible for return to the investor after approximately five years from the date of investment. Students participating in the EB-5 program generally receive the investment funds as a gift from their parents. 

No need to obtain a student visa

The United States is an attractive destination for students from around the globe. Individuals wishing to study in the United States can greatly benefit by obtaining the U.S. Green Card through the EB-5 program. As opposed to international students who must obtain a student visa to be able to study in the United States, Green Card holders are eligible to study in the country without having to obtain a visa. International students must typically obtain an F-1 student visa. The process of obtaining a student visa can be time consuming and burdensome, especially given long wait times at U.S. consulates and embassies around the world due to the pandemic. Therefore, Green Card holders are at an advantage as compared to international students given that they do not have to go through the process of obtaining a student visa.

Higher acceptance rates

Having to obtain a student visa is only one of the challenges that international students face. Another obstacle is lower chances of acceptance into U.S. universities due to limited quotas for international students. With a Green Card in hand, a student is not subject to these quotas and therefore can benefit from higher acceptance rates. Given that the academic landscape is becoming more competitive every year, international students are placed at a great disadvantage with these quotas and therefore can greatly benefit from having a U.S. Green Card.

Work and travel authorization immediately upon filing

With last year’s reforms through passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) of 2022, the EB-5 program is now a more suitable option for international students who are already in the United States. International students can participate in the EB-5 program and immediately thereafter apply for concurrent filing. Concurrent filing allows students to live and study in the U.S. while they await the adjudication of their EB-5 applications. A student can continue with their studies and at the same time obtain work authorization in the United States, and therefore they will no longer have to go through the process of applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) in order to work in the United States. 

No need to apply for CPT/OPT

The process of applying for CPT and OPT can be time consuming and limits a student’s work options. For example, generally a student can only qualify for CPT after having completed one full academic year of study and they must ensure that the internship or practical training that they are applying for is related to their program of study. Similar to CPT, OPT also has its own set of limitations, namely that it only provides 12 months of work authorization. After a graduate has used up their 12 months of OPT work authorization, they are at the mercy of their employer in applying for an H-1B work visa. Many employers refuse to do so given the cost and burdens associated with the process. Therefore, many times international students are placed at a disadvantage in finding internship or employment opportunities.

With work authorization through concurrent filing or a Green Card in hand, a student is no longer subject to these limitations. They can work for whomever they want for however many years that they desire or alternatively pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures in the United States.

Contact our team today

There are many more benefits that students wishing to study in the U.S. can avail by participating in the EB-5 program. Our team is composed of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals with degrees from top U.S. universities. With our background, we are more than capable of assisting you in pursuing your educational goals in the United States. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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