Iran Investors for EB-5 VisaThe EB-5 Visa for Iran investors is an immigrant visa that grants a U.S. green card (permanent residence) to qualified applicants. A green card (permanent residence) allows Iranian investors and their dependents to permanently stay in the United States. The EB5 Visa for Iranian investors requires a minimum investment that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens. The source and path of the EB-5 investment fund of Iran investors must not be from a financial institution on the Special Designated Nationals (SDN) list. 

The application process for EB-5 Visa for Iran investors does not have any backlog and remains on “current” status. Iranian investors received 0.51% of the total EB 5 visa issuances in fiscal year 2023 based on the December 2023 data from the U.S. Department of State.

The EB-5 Visa benefits Iran investors and their dependents through faster US immigration. The children of Iranian investors can obtain a U.S. education with a green card. Iranian investors can invest and set up businesses in the U.S. with the EB5 Visa without sponsorship limitations.

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What is EB-5 Visa for Iran Investors?

The EB-5 Visa for Iran investors is an immigrant investor visa that grants a U.S. green card (permanent residence) for approved applicants. A green card (permanent residence) permits Iranian investors and their dependents to live and work permanently in the United States. The EB5 Visa for Iran investors requires a minimum amount invested in a U.S. business. The investment has to generate at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens.

What are the Benefits of EB-5 Visa for Iran Investors?

Iranian investors and their dependents can enjoy the following with an EB-5 Visa.

  • Permanent residence in the US. The political instability in Iran has driven Iranian investors to seek relocation to other countries. Iranian investors can live permanently in the US with their spouses and minor children with the EB-5 Visa.
  • Investment in the US. Iranian investors are looking to expand their worldwide economic mobility. The US provides a more stable environment for work and businesses for Iranian investors. 
  • Education in the US. Iranian investors can send their children to the top educational institutions in the US with a green card. These are the benefits enjoyed by children of Iranian investors as dependents of the EB-5 Visa.
    • Study in some of the best institutions in the world without facing restrictions imposed on foreign students.
    • Pay 150% to 300% lower tuition fees as compared to foreign students.
    • Enjoy more funding and scholarship options as compared to foreign students.
    • Study as a day scholar and avoid long separation from family just to obtain a quality education.
    • Explore job opportunities without worrying about issues like work permits, sponsorship, processing delays, expiry of visa, or restrictions on job mobility. 
  • Iranian investors enjoy greater international mobility through the visa-free travel privileges available to US green cardholders.

What are the Risks of EB-5 Visa for Iran Investors?

Iran investors have to be aware of these risks during an EB-5 Visa application.

  • Risk on investment. An EB5 investment does not guarantee a return on investment. The main benefit of the EB-5 for Iran investors is the ability to obtain a U.S. green card.
  • Risk on immigration. An EB-5 project investment does not automatically result in a U.S. green card. The Iran investor needs to meet all the requirements of the EB5 Visa to be granted permanent residence in the US.
  • Risk of fraud. Firms or individuals can claim to be migration brokers or immigration consultants. The Iran investor should conduct due diligence and research an EB-5 project to ensure its legitimacy and avoid huge losses.
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How Long Does it Take to Process an EB 5 Visa for Iran Investors?

The petition for an EB5 Visa for Iranian investors starts with the submission of the Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor (Form I-526). The processing time of the Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor (Form I-526) is between 29.5 to 61 months. 

How Long is an EB5 Visa Valid for Iran Investors?

An EB-5 Visa for Iran investors grants conditional permanent residence in the U.S. for 2 years. An approved Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status (Form I-829) grants an unconditional permanent residence in the U.S. for 10 years. 

What are the Requirements for an EB-5 Visa for Iran Investors?

These are the EB5 Visa requirements for Iranian investors.

  • Investment amount. The “at risk” investment for the EB5 Visa for Iranian investors can be any of the following. 
    • The minimum investment is $800,000 (33,880,000,000 Iranian Rials) for a Targeted Employment Area (region with high unemployment rates and rural areas). 
    • The investment is $1,050,000 (44,467,500,000 Iranian Rials) for a non-Targeted Employment Area. 
  • Source of funds. Iranian investors can use any of the following as EB5 funds.
    • Business profits
    • Inheritance
    • Salaries/wages
    • Loans from a financial institution or from an individual
    • Gifts from an individual
  • Job creation. The EB5 Visa for Iranian investors requires the creation of 10 full-time jobs for US citizens.

The financial criteria for the EB-5 Visa for Iranian investors are the following.

  • Net worth of $1,050,000 (44,467,500,000 Iranian Rials) for an individual or married couple; or
  • Minimum of $200,000 (8,470,000,000 Iranian Rials) in individual income in each of the 2 previous years; or
  • Minimum of $300,000 (12,705,000,000 Iranian Rials) in joint income in each of the 2 previous years; and
  • Comparable level of future income and assets

What is the Age Requirement for Iran Investors to Get EB-5 Visa?

There’s no age limit. The meaning of this simply is any Iran investor qualifies to be an EB-5 investor. However, since a minor probably does not have the assets or income to be eligible as an EB-5 investor on his own, the parents or some other guardian giving him/her the investment amount requires showing the necessary documents to prove the source of funds. Occasionally, an Iran investor pursuing an EB-5 visa will be unable to get specific documentation. In such instances, the applicant may file a declaration giving an explanation as to why they are unable to supply the needed documentation.

The only time age matters is if the parent is applying and children are also part of the application as derivatives. They must be under the age of 21 to be included in a parent’s application.

How Much Does an EB-5 Visa Cost for Iran Investors?

These are the costs of an EB-5 Visa for Iranian investors.

  • EB-5 investment
    • $800,000 (33,880,000,000 Iranian Rials) for a Targeted Employment Area 
    • $1,050,000 (44,467,500,000 Iranian Rials) for a non-Targeted Employment Area
  • Form I-526- $3,675 (155,636,250 Iranian Rials)
  • Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485)- $1,140 (48,279,000 Iranian Rials)
  • Form I-829- $3,750 (158,812,500 Iranian Rials)

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows 10,000 EB-5 visas a year.

The Central Bank of Iran has the framework and monetary policy for moving assets and money outside of Iran.

How can I Transfer EB-5 Funds from Iran?

There is no direct banking relationship between Iran and the United States. The EB-5 representatives of the Iranian investors have to serve as “gatekeepers” to conduct due diligence on the source and path of EB5 funds. A thorough evaluation of EB-5 funds protects both the Iranian investor and the EB-5 project. The EB-5 funds should not come from an Iranian financial institution on the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC)’s Special Designated Nationals (SDN) list. An intermediary bank approved by the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be used for transferring money from Iran to the U.S. for EB-5 investments.  

What is the Priority Date for EB5 Visa for Iran Investors?

The EB-5 Visa for Iran investors remains on “current” status according to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin. “Current” status means that there is no retrogression (backlog) in the application for EB-5 Visa for Iran investors.

How Long Does it Take to Acquire an I-526 Approval for the Iran Investor under EB 5?

The USCIS approves all I-526 applications for an EB5 Visa. The processing of I-526 depends on the nature of the case and the service center processing the application. The approval of an I-526 for Iranian investors can take between 29.5 to 61 months. 

How can an Iran Citizen Immigrate to the United States Using the EB-5 Program?

The process of immigration for Iranian investors using the EB-5 Program involves 6 steps.

  1. Petitioning for an EB-5 Visa. Filing of Form I-526 to the USCIS.
  2. Applying for an EB5 Visa. Form I-526 must be approved by USCIS prior to applying for the EB5 Visa.
    1. Applying from overseas. Filing of the Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application (Form DS-260).
    2. Applying within the US. Filing of Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485).
  3. Granting of EB-5 Visa.
  4. Obtaining conditional permanent residence. The conditional green card is valid for 2 years for the Iranian investor and his/her dependents. 
  5. Removing conditions on permanent residence. Form I-829 is submitted to USCIS within the 90-day period prior to the second anniversary as an EB5 investor in the US.
  6. Gaining lawful permanent residence. A lawful permanent residence (unconditional green card) is valid for 10 years. 

What is the EB-5 Visa Statistics for Iran Investors?

Iranian investors were issued 43 EB-5 Visas (0.51% of the total) through consular processing for FY 2023 according to the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

What are the Challenges for Iran Investors for EB-5?

Iran investors face specific challenges when applying for the EB-5 Visa. The first is proving the legality of EB-5 funds. The Iranian investor needs to do fund transfers from Iran to the US via banks approved by the USCIS and OFAC. The second is conducting Iranian businesses after a successful EB-5 application. The Iranian investor has to divest any interest in businesses in their home country after becoming a permanent resident.

What is the Best Project to Invest in with an EB-5 Visa for Iran Investors?

An EB-5 project is the business investment required for an EB-5 Visa for Iran investors. Popular EB-5 projects include the restaurant industry and hotel construction. An EB-5 project for the restaurant industry provides a sizeable cash flow for repayment and return on capital. The nature of an EB-5 project for hotel construction allows for the generation of multiple jobs for Americans. 

What Does the Future Hold for EB-5 Investors from Iran?

Iran investors do not face retrogression (backlog) in the application for EB-5 Visa. The “current” status of EB5 Visa for Iranian investors is an advantage in the growth of the EB5 market for Iran investors.

What are the Other US Visa Available for Iran Nationals?

Iran does not have a U.S. Embassy. Iranian investors outside of the U.S. can set appointments and apply for visas at any visa issuing post. Consular offices that have Farsi-speaking officers are in Dubai, Ankara, and Yerevan. 

Immigrant petitions are approved by the USCIS prior to applying for visa approval. The petition is filed by a qualified relative or a potential employer. Nonimmigrant visas are available to foreign citizens who wish to enter the United States temporarily. Nonimmigrant visas are granted to tourists, business people, students, or specialty workers for a particular period of time to accomplish specific purposes. 

The following are the US Visas available to Iranian nationals.

 Immigrant Visas

  • Family-Based Immigration. For foreign citizens sponsored by an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. green card holder and is at least 21 years old.
  • Fiancé(e) K-1 nonimmigrant visa. For a foreign fiancé(e) of a US citizen. The foreign fiancé(e) is allowed to stay in the U.S. to apply for permanent residency after marriage.
  • K-3 Visa. For the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen traveling to reside in the U.S. while awaiting final completion of their immigration. The spouse’s children can enter the U.S. with a K-4 Visa.
  • Intercountry Adoption. For adopting children outside of the US.
  • Employment-Based Immigration. For qualified applicants under the provisions of US immigration law. The EB-5 Visa falls under the Employment Fifth Preference (E5). 
  • Diversity Visa. For countries with low rates of immigration to the US in the previous 5 years.
  • Returning Resident Visa. For permanent residents who have remained outside of the US for more than 1 year, or beyond the validity period of their Re-entry Permit.

Nonimmigrant Visas

  • B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa. For people traveling to the US for business or pleasure, or for medical treatment.
  • Work Visa. For temporary workers petitioned to work in the US.
  • Student Visa. For foreign citizens who wish to study in the US.
  • Exchange Visitor Visa. For foreign citizens participating in exchange programs.
  • Transit/Ship Crew Visa. For foreign citizens traveling in immediate and continuous transit through the US en route to a foreign destination.
  • Religious Worker Visa. For individuals seeking US entry to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis.
  • Domestic Employee Visa. For personal or domestic servants who are accompanying an employer to the US.
  • Journalist and Media Visa. For representatives of the foreign media traveling to the US to engage in their profession while having their home office in a foreign country.

What is the Most Popular State in the United States for Iran Investors to Migrate to?

The state of California has the most Iranian immigrants, with 29% living in Los Angeles County from 2015-2019 according to Migration Policy Institute. The next three U.S. states with the most Iranian immigrants are Texas (8%), New York (5%), and Virginia (4%).

What is the Current Retrogression Situation for Iran Investors?

There is no backlog in the EB5 application for Iranian investors. Qualified Iranian investors are able to obtain their EB-5 Visas faster compared to applicants from India and China.

What are the Issues Experienced by the Iranian with the EB-5 Visa?

The most prevalent issues experienced by Iran investors when applying for EB5 Visa have to do with EB-5 funding. Iran investors are faced with additional difficulties in transferring EB-5 funds from Iran to the US. EB5 funds from Iran investors must come from financial institutions that are not listed in OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). Iran investors and their spouses should not be found on the SDN list. 

USCIS issues a Request of Evidence (RFE) for Iran investors to prove the legality of the source and path of EB-5 funds. The EB5 fund should not have gone through an SDD at any point prior to transfer to the US. A clear chain of events leading to the wealth generation should be laid out along with the Iranian investor’s profile at the time of asset acquisition.

What is a Targeted Employment Area?

A targeted employment area (TEA) is a region in the United States where the threshold for investment is $800,000 (33,880,000,000 Iranian Rials) for Iran investors to qualify for the EB-5 Visa. The two kinds of targeted employment areas are high unemployment areas and rural areas.

What Other Countries can Invest in the EB-5 Visa Program?

There were nearly 100,000 foreign investors who obtained permanent residence in the United States via the EB-5 Program from 2012 to 2023 according to “The United States EB-5 Program” by Investment Migration Insider. About 80% of EB5 investors come from Taiwan, China, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Below are the top countries that apply for the EB-5 Visa. 

Is USA a Good Foreign Market to Invest in for Iran Citizens?

Yes, the United States is a stable environment for EB-5 investments from Iran nationals. Iran investors should let go of any involvement in any Iranian company upon successfully obtaining an EB-5 Visa.

Can EB-5 Visa Attorney Speed Up the Process of EB-5 Visa?

Yes, an EB-5 Visa attorney helps Iran investors in speeding up the EB5 Visa processing. An EB5 Visa Attorney can help in consolidating the documentation needed for a successful application. An experienced EB-5 Visa Attorney can advise as to the best course of action to prove the legal source and path of funds for the Iran investor.

Is Obtaining an EB-5 Easy for Iran Investors?

Iranian investors are able to obtain their EB-5 Visas faster because of the “current” visa bulletin status of the application for Iran. 

Can an Iranian National Apply for EB 5 while on H1B?

Yes, an Iranian national with a valid H-1B Visa can apply for an EB5 Visa. The H1B Visa permits foreign workers to be employed in the US. An Iranian national on H-1B Visa can submit multiple petitions including the EB5 Visa without canceling their H1B status. 

Can an Iranian Investor Borrow Money for EB-5 Visa?

Yes, Iran investors can use loans for their EB-5 Visa application. The loan has to be secured by assets and the collateral cannot be the same EB-5 project. 

Can an International Student from Iran with an F-1 Visa Apply for EB5 Visa?

Yes, an Iranian student on F-1 Visa can apply for the EB-5 Visa. The Iranian student on F1 Visa should invest a minimum capital in a US business. This investment should create a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for Americans.

Can an Iranian Invest in the United States?

The EB5 Visa and the E-2 Visa are the two investment visas in the United States. The E2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows nationals of treaty countries to invest in a US business. A treaty country maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US. Iran investors are no longer eligible for the E-2 Visa as per the announcement of USCIS on January 22, 2020. 

The E-2 Visa does not have a direct path to a green card, unlike the EB-5 Visa. A substantial investment of at least $150,000 (6,352,500,000 Iranian Rials) is required for an E-2 Visa investment. There is no requirement for minimum job creation for E2 Visa. 

Does an Iranian Need a Visa for USA?

Yes, Iran citizens need to have a visa to enter the United States. Iran does not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program that allows citizens from 38 countries to travel visa-free to the US. Countries that qualify for the Visa Waiver Program include Australia, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.