The EB-5 Visa Program was created by Congress in 1990, with a goal to boost the U.S. economy through capital investments and job creation by foreign investors. Investors can now qualify for EB-5 visas if they invest through regional centers designated by USCIS.
"The EB-5 process is not as straight-forward as it sounds. There are many details one should be aware of before deciding to invest in a venture. When investing in the EB-5 program, choosing to go through accredited regional centers will offer you more security and overall allow you to have a more successful experience. "
Foreign investors must invest 1 million USD into a USCIS approved project, or $500,000 into Targeted Employment Area, which is a rural area or area with a high unemployment rate. The unemployment rate must be at least 150 percent of the national average. At least ten jobs (either direct or indirect) must be created for U.S. workers, excluding the investor and his/her immediate family.
In 1992, Congress introduced the Immigrant Investor Program, or Regional Center Program. This means that foreign nationals are able to make investments directly into a job-generating commercial enterprise or regional center, an “investment vehicle” managed by a 3rd party that takes on the role of creating the minimum 10 jobs required.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
1. Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
2. Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs.
The EB-5 process is not as straight-forward as it sounds. There are many details one should be aware of before deciding to invest in a venture. When investing in the EB-5 program, choosing to go through accredited regional centers will offer you more security and overall allow you to have a more successful experience.
Once you feel comfortable and ready to begin your investment, you will need to go through the following application steps.
First, you will need to file Form I-526, Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. In brief, you will need to show proof that this is a new commercial enterprise, how you will manage the new commercial enterprise, you are investing or plan to invest the correct amount of money, the investment will create at least 10 jobs, and the jobs will be able to maintained for at least two years.
Once you are granted a conditional Green Card, your spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21), may also be admitted to the U.S. with you on a two-year conditional period. As Green Card holders, your spouse and children are lawful permanent residents and will be authorized to attend school and work in the U.S.
A list of registered regional centers can be found on the USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fifth-preference-eb-5/immigrant-investor-regional-centers.
Any use of the USCIS information is at your own risk. This page is for informational purposes only and does not in any way show USCIS endorsement of the the activities of that regional center, guarantee compliance with U.S. securities laws, or minimize or eliminate risk to the investor.
-Contributed by Mariah Lin, Intern at Law Offices of Sabrina Li