The H1B and EB5 visas are two of the most popular visa types for those wishing to work and live in the United States. Both visas provide a pathway for immigrants to legally work and live in the U.S., but the eligibility criteria, application process, and costs associated with them are quite different. It’s important to understand the differences between the two visas before deciding which is best for you.
India is one of the major countries with the biggest number of H1B recipients. However, the recent norms for its issuance have caused them to resort to EB5 visas. The new government of Donald Trump had declared strict rules for issuing an H1B visa consistent with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Are you confused about finding the right visa between H1B vs EB5 to study or work abroad? This blog brings you a detailed comparison between H1B vs EB5 visas, their duration, application and more!
Duration and Permanency
When it comes to H1B vs EB5 visa comparison, an EB5 visa provides an easy and direct means of receiving permanent residency. This is confirmed and secured by a green card. By ensuring one maintains their permanent residency status or applies for citizenship, a green card holder can always stay in the United States without any restrictions. On the other hand, the H1B visa is a provisional visa that is initially valid for three years. Even though It can further be extended for another three years, the migrant worker will not be allowed to reside in the United States or may have to apply for a different status at the expiration of the maximum period of stay.
Both visas have separate requirements focused on different fields. While the H1B visas prioritize employment, EB5 focuses on investment. To help you find which one’s better between H1B vs EB5 visa, we have listed down the visa requirements for both these types:
|H1B Visa||EB5 Visa|
|No American is available to fill the job role in question.||The applicant must invest at least $900,000(INR 7.45 cr.) in a Targeted Employment Area.|
|The foreign worker will be paid more than the average wage for the occupation.||If the above option cannot be fulfilled, the applicant must invest at least $1.8 million outside a Targeted Employment Area in a new commercial enterprise.|
|The applicant must be a graduate or have a higher degree.||One must create and sustain full-time jobs for at least ten qualifying employees.|
|A degree is required to do this job.||EB5 investors can make and manage the investment themselves.|
The green card might be at risk if the applicants fail to comply with the requirements.
Both EB5 and H1B visas are subject to an annual cap. Every year, the H1B program is allotted 85,000 visas. 20,000 of those visas are set aside for applicants with master’s degrees from American universities. Since the year 2000 when demand for global IT workers was high, returning H1B workers have not been included in the annual cap. Indians account for approximately three-quarters of all H1B applicants. Another point to add to the H1B vs EB5 visa comparison is that each year, the EB5 program is allotted to 700 visas per country. This is determined by the country of birth and not the country of current citizenship. The demand for the EB5 visa has grown rapidly in India in the past few years and had the most EB5 applications in the world in 2019. This exceeded its annual quota for the first time.
While exploring the differences between H1B vs EB5 visas, you must know that the EB5 visa is beneficial because the investment covers an entire qualifying family unit. This means Green Cards are provided for the applicant, a spouse, and any children under the age of 21. Spouses and children of H1B workers can also move to America on H-4 visas. Spouses are able to apply for work authorization in the United States only under certain conditions. H4 visa-dependent spouses were eligible for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) if they had an approved I-140 (petition for Green Card or Permanent Residency), or had an H1B visa spouse with visa status lasting longer than 6 years under the AC21 Act.
EB5 is also beneficial for work as once an EB5 applicant receives the Green Card, they receive complete freedom and flexibility to work, study, set up a business, or retire in the United States. On the contrary, a person with an H1B visa is much more restricted, especially in terms of employment mobility. An H1B visa has a major limitation stating that once the holder loses their job, they will have to return to their home country unless another qualified US employer files for his transfer.
In the political sphere, The EB5 visa Programme is generally viewed as more favourable than the H1B program. While the EB5 program creates thousands of American jobs and brings billions of dollars in foreign investment, the H1B visa is most often considered a threat to the US labour force. Hence, the President’s “immigration ban” excludes the EB5 program and includes the H1B visa program.
This has led to pressurizing the H1B visa for a long time. The presidential election winner could be expected to tighten restrictions on the H1B visa. The only difference between the candidates may be the pace and scale of the crackdown.
To find alternatives to the two visas first let’s check an alternative for the H1B visa. The L-1 visa shares some similarities to the H1B visa without an annual cap. The L-1 visa offers the transfer of executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge employees to the US from another country which qualifies to the organization of the US company. By having the L-1 Visa, an applicant could set up a new US office and move there to manage that office. As an alternative to the EB5 visa the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa has similarities to the EB5 visa:
It requires a lower investment and is not subject to an annual cap and does not offer permanent residency but can be renewed whenever required. For qualifying for the E-2 investor visa, Indians must obtain third-party citizenship. The procedure is relatively simple and has been successfully accepted by Indians.
H-1B vs. EB-5
Overall, the distinctions between H-1B and EB-5 are substantial in terms of how they affect the life and future of the visa holder. While the H-1B visa can offer a temporary answer for legitimate employment status in the United States, it offers minimal chances for sustainability. If you already have an H-1B visa and want to take charge of your future, you might want to find out more about how to get a permanent EB-5 visa for you and your family. It is possible to apply for an EB-5 visa during the H-1B term, and permanent residency opens up a world of possibilities.
Can You Apply for an EB-5 Visa while Holding an H-1B Visa?
You may send several applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at once if your H-1B visa is active and in good standing (USCIS). As a result, you can participate in the EB-5 programme while working in the US without having to give up your H-1B visa or any ongoing green card applications. All you need to do is hold onto your H-1B status until the USCIS approves the I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, and I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, the two EB-5 applications you submitted.
The H-1B visa supports dual purposes even if it is a non-immigrant visa type. “Dual intent” basically indicates that you are likely going to apply for an immigrant visa later on and will be permitted to do so even if you entered the country on a nonimmigrant visa. Contrarily, nonimmigrant visas such as tourist visas, for instance, are sometimes granted with the condition that the applicant or visa holder has no desire to stay in the United States. Those who are accused of disobeying this provision may have their entrance denied or face deportation.
Hence, we hope that this blog cleared up your confusion regarding the right visa between H1B vs EB5 Visa for studying or working abroad! Planning to pursue higher education abroad? Our Leverage Edu experts and head coaches are here to lend you a helping hand in sorting out the admission process of your chosen course and university and ensuring that you get successfully shortlisted! Sign up for a free session with us now!