recommended reading

Foreign Investors Can Apply Online for Green Cards This Summer


Beginning this summer, foreigners that help finance job-creating U.S. ventures will be able to apply online for visas through the federal government's long-suffering effort to computerize immigration applications.  

Citizenship and residency casework largely has been paper-based since the days of Ellis Island. Much of it still is.

But on Thursday evening, federal officials said a form for the EB-5 investor program will mark the second application to be processed through Transformation -- an information technology program facing decades of delays and $2.5 billion in cost overruns. Its public website, called the Electronic Immigration System, or ELIS, launched in September with an application for visa holders who want to extend or change the status of their stays.

The government plans to recompete  the Transformation program later this year in an effort to bring down costs and reduce delays.

Unlike legal residency documents granted to preserve families, the EB-5 visa is one of several employment-based perks offered to stimulate the U.S. economy.

Generally, EB-5 investors must create or preserve 10 jobs for U.S. workers within two years after arriving in the country. The minimum dollar contribution is $1 million. If the enterprise is in a rural location or an area with high unemployment, the requirement is $500,000. 

President Obama advocated simplifying the enrollment process for job-based green cards in his January immigration reform plan: "By addressing the backlogs in the employment based immigration system and reforming country caps, we can better enable immigrants to contribute to our future growth and competitiveness. Other critical reforms include targeted administrative actions to streamline access to visas for companies and expanding opportunities for entrepreneurs and talented workers." 

While the EB-5 visa has increased in popularity since Congress authorized it in the early 1990s, successful applicants are scarce. In 2011, nearly 4,000 forms -- titled I-526s -- came in and about 1,500 were approved, according to a 2012 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ombudsman annual report

The large percentage of unused EB-5 visas is due to the murky economic climate, competition from other countries with more appealing immigration programs, and clerical headaches for financiers, the ombudsman concluded. In addition, federal officials are slowing reviews to scrutinize recipients of the funds because of past business scams and false job claims, according to a March 18 Wall Street Journal article. 

The newspaper reported that, today, several U.S. attractions are seeking EB-5 financing to stay afloat, including a New England ski lodge run by Johannes von Trapp, a descendant of the family depicted in "The Sound of Music.”

Developers of the new Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets basketball team, were able to secure funding through the EB-5 program, USCIS officials said.

(Image via Norebbo/

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion

Florida’s Concealed Carry Permit Holders Names Exposed

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.