The EB-5 visa program was created by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990 as a way to create jobs and stimulate the economy. This program provides an easy, legal method for foreign nationals to obtain a green card.
The goal is clear: encourage foreign investment and economic growth within the United States by allowing foreigners a quicker path to U.S. citizenship. One of the most popular ways to invest is through a designated United States Custom Immigration Service (USCIS) Regional Center. Details follow overview.
As a foreign investor, the EB-5 program will allow for immigrant investors to obtain a two-year conditional green card by investing a minimum of $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).
TEA’s are usually an area that experiences high unemployment rate (1.5% times the national unemployment average) or $1,000,000 in businesses that create at least 10 full-time permanent jobs for U.S. workers.
Provided that the investment is maintained and achieves the job requirements for the EB-5 visa program, a permanent green card is issued.
As an EB-5 investor, you must submit complete biographical information for each applicant, and provide proof of the source of the investment funds. USCIS requires five years of tax returns, bank records, proof of ownership of any businesses, and financial statements for each business and business licenses. All funds must be traced to lawful source of income.
The U.S. has no requirement as to age, business training, and experience or language skills. Permanent residents need not be continuously and physically present in United States, and can maintain business and professional relations in their country of origin.
The program allows investors a great deal of freedom because it does not require immigrant investors to manage their investment on a daily basis, but rather to actively engage in a business enterprise. Therefore, they can be limited partners and pursue other professional or personal ventures.
As a permanent resident, the investor and his or her family are free to return to their homeland for visits or business purposes, as long as a residence is maintained in the United States.
Upon receipt of conditional permanent resident status, the investor and his or her spouse and children under the age of 21 are entitled to the same rights as other lawful permanent residents.
BENEFITS FOR EB-5 VISA HOLDERS
Investors can start their own business anywhere in the U.S.
They are allowed to work for any company in the U.S.
No employment authorization is required to accept employment.
They can travel anywhere within the U.S. and leave and enter the country freely.
Education benefits include in-state or resident tuition at all public universities and colleges - typically, at a much reduced rate than other foreign students.
Investors can become a U.S. citizen once they have been a permanent resident for more than 5 years.
Investors can sponsor a spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) through the same green card petition.
EB-5 visa cardholders enjoy the same Social Security benefits as a U.S, citizen, if he or she lives & works here for at least 10 years.
All legal rights are enjoyed under U.S. law except for the right to vote.
Within the EB-5 category you may either invest in a new business enterprise, a troubled business, or through a Regional Center.
Option #1 New Business Enterprise/Direct EB-5 Investments:
To qualify you must:
Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (not the immigrant or their spouse, sons, or daughters.)
Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If you investment is in a designated targeted employment area (TEA) then the minimum is $500,000.
Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods and services to U.S. markets.
Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it though formulating business policy; i.e., being a corporate officer or board member.
Option #2: Troubled Business /Direct EB-5 Investments
To qualify you must:
Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.
Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the form I-526 immigrant petition by an alien entrepreneur.
Loss for the 12-24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business net worth before the loss.
Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least 2 years.
Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy; i.e. Board of Directors.
The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to troubled business investments ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a TEA).
You may invest through a Regional Center who invests in a new enterprise or troubled business.
Option #3: Regional Center Program Investments.
To qualify you must:
Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a Regional Center affiliated with a new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center.
Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly or indirectly through capital investment.