Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
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California representative proposes EB-6 visa category

A California member of the U.S. House of Representatives is one of two sponsors of a bill that would modify the rules and regulations surrounding investment visas. The legislation, termed the Entrepreneurial Business Creating Jobs Act, seeks to add an EB-6 category for foreign individuals who are able to raise money for a business by securing investors.

A bill before the Senate, by contrast, would largely reauthorize the current immigration program, with permanent visa categories EB-1 through EB-5. An individual who can make an investment of at least $500,000 in a project that will create at least 10 U.S. jobs can apply for permanent residency, also known as a green card, under category EB-5.

Some have criticized the EB-5 because it is limited to only 10,000 visas, including those given to family members, and because it may tempt corruption or favoritism by government officials. The Senate bill includes provisions designed to prevent corruption, such as required background checks and conflict disclosures.

If the Entrepreneurial Business Creating Jobs Act becomes law, foreign individuals may be able to apply for permanent residency under category EB-6 if they have backing of at least $500,000 from a venture capitalist, qualified employer or angel investor, or if a qualified seed accelerator has committed at least $100,000. The bill would also make EB-6 visas available to qualified individuals who make self-funded investments that create jobs.

An EB-6 visa does not issue immediately. Rather, the business must meet certain job-creation or revenue-generation requirements. Employment immigration attorneys may be able to help interested individuals determine which permanent residency category or categories may apply to them. An attorney may be able to draft and file the necessary petitions or applications to pursue a green card or interact with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on the client's behalf.

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