What is the EB-5 Investor Program?
The EB-5 Visa Program allows foreign investors to become lawful U.S. permanent residents. This visa is also known as the Employment-based Fifth Preference Green Card Category.
To be eligible, applicants need to invest at least $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise.
The U.S. Investor Visa Program is intended to promote economic growth and encourage foreign investments. It was created in 1990 and renewed in 2019 under the Trump Administration. The EB5 investment Visa is currently subjected to a 10,000-yearly cap.
What is an EB-5 Visa?
The EB5 Visa is open to foreign investors who can devote a bona fide capital between $500,00 and $1 million to U.S. businesses. If you wish to invest a smaller amount of funds, you can still check your E2 Visa eligibility. Similarly, the U.S. immigration law welcomes foreign traders under the Treaty Visa tier.
Applicants can work individually or be part of a larger pool of investor approved as a third-party intermediary. The idea behind the EB5 program is to develop target areas in the U.S., which are rural places with a high unemployment rate.
Based on the investment activity, there are different tiers of EB-5 Visas:
- C-5 Visa, for investments outside the target areas;
- T-5 Visa, for investors interested in areas with a high unemployment rate;
- R-5 Visa, for participants of an Investor Pilot Program but not engaged in target areas;
- I-5 Visa, for business investors who work in specific regions under an Investor Pilot Program.
What are the EB-5 Visa requirements?
EB-5 applicants must meet the following investment requirements:
- invest in a new commercial enterprise, established after November 29, 1990;
- you can still invest in older commercial enterprises if your contribution leads to a significant increase in the net worth;
- you need to make an “at risk” capital investment of $1 million.
The minimum amount of the capital required for the EB investor program can be decreased to $500,000 if you invest in a targeted employment area (TEA). These are areas where the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national standard.
Moreover, to be eligible for the Investor Visa you must meet further job creation requirements:
- your investment must result in the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers;
- this result must be obtained within two years after your visa approval.
What is the required minimum investment?
Successful applicants must invest at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise, which is established after 29th November 1990.
Businesses that were already existing before this date can be considered if they are restructured to generate at least a forty percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurred.
New enterprises must create at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying workers.
For applicants interested in investing in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA), the investment is limited to $500,000. However, the area must have an unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average.
All the investment (including inventory and equipment) must be acquired by lawful means.
What is the EB-5 Visa processing time?
Based on your country of origin, your petition process may vary. As a consequence, your EB-5 processing time may take from a few months to several years. You can periodically check on the EB5 Visa bulletin the state of your petition and the number of available permits for your nationals.
The first step of your EB-5 program application is to file your Form I-156, that is the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
Since you are investing your own capital, you can self-petition for yourself without the need of a U.S.-based sponsor.
If your petition is approved, you must wait until your priority date is current before proceeding with your application. Upon submission of your Form DS-260, the USCIS may ask you to provide full medical documentation.
At the time of your interview, you must also present your supporting documents. You need to prove that your investment is relevant and that your project meets the EB5 program requirements.
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EB5 program applicants can either invest their capital directly or through a Regional Center.
If you want to take a managerial role in your project, you can opt for direct investment. On the other hand, an EB-5 Control Center can be the right choice if you are not interested in obtaining a maximum return on your investment.
Accredited Regional Centers have received designation from the USCIS and follow specific regulations. They can help you develop a successful project while lessening the difficulty of generating profit.
The same EB5 Visa requirements apply for both direct and associated business investors. However, under a Regional Center, you can benefit from indirect job creation. Thus, meeting the visa criteria may less complicated.
Successful EB5 Visa applicants must meet the job creation requirement, meaning that they need to invest their capital in a new commercial enterprise which can create at least 10 full-time positions.
New commercial enterprises can either be located within or outside a regional center. On the other hand, applicants can also expand troubled businesses and rely on job maintenance.
The full-time positions made available by the business must be addressed at qualifying employees. This category includes U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and refugees, but not any alien in any nonimmigrant status (such a the H1B Visa).
Jobs that are intermittent or seasonal do not qualify as permanent full-time positions a well.
Yes, you can invent funds obtained from a loan. However, this must be secured by an asset owned by yourself and which have a value the same as, or greater than, the amount of the loan. As an EB-5 applicant, you must be the principal borrower of the loan and must be personally liable for repayment of it.
If you hold an EB5 Visa, your immediate relatives can join you in the U.S.
Upon arrival in the U.S., your spouse can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). He or she can either work in the commercial enterprise you invested in, or for another employer.
It is important to note that employing your family members in your business does not fulfill the job creation requirements.
Every year, only 10,000 visas are available for EB5 business investors. In the last few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of applications. Therefore, seeking legal guidance can make your application less stressful.
Our immigration advisors have already helped several foreign nationals get their EB-5 Visa. We can build the perfect strategy, tailored to your case and aimed at maximize your profit.
- Review if the nature of your investment meets the EB5 Visa requirements;
- Liaise with your chosen EB-5 Regional Center, if needed;
- Ensure that your application form is filed correctly;
- Assist your relatives in joining you in the U.S.
You can arrange a first meeting with our immigration lawyers by calling us on +1844 290 6312 or using our online contact form.