First, what is EB-5? EB-5 is short for the EB-5 Program, also known as the Immigrant Investor Program. The EB-5 Program was created by Congress in 1990 as a way to stimulate the U.S. economy by giving green cards to eligible foreign nationals who make capital investments into job-creating U.S. commercial enterprises.
Within the EB-5 Program there are two pathways: the Direct Investment Program pathway and the Regional Center Program pathway. A prospective EB-5 investor can choose either pathway. Which pathway they choose largely depends on how involved in the day-to-day management of the EB-5 project.
Interested investors who are looking for direct involvement in all aspects of the EB-5 project may opt to invest in the Direct Investment Program, while investors who are interested in a more hands-off project may be more interested in investing in the Regional Center Program.
To qualify for the EB-5 Program an investor must be a foreign national who is able to make the minimum capital investment into a new commercial enterprise (NCE) that creates or preserves 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. An NCE must be a lawful business that conducts for profit activity.
The minimum capital investment is $1,800,000 in a non-targeted employment area and $900,000 in a targeted employment area. A targeted employment area (TEA) is a rural or high-unemployment area.
The investor must be able to show, with a preponderance of evidence, that their funds for the EB-5 investment come from lawful sources.
In certain cases, a foreign national may qualify by investing in a troubled business.
Investors in the Direct Investment Program must create 10 full-time direct jobs, while investors in the Regional Center Program may create 10 full-time direct, indirect or induced jobs.
Who Gets Green Cards?
Qualified EB-5 investors may become eligible for first conditional permanent residency and then later unconditional permanent residency status (green card status) for themselves, their spouses and their unmarried children under the age of 21 years.
With green cards, EB-5 investors and their families may live, work, travel freely throughout the U.S. They may also qualify for great U.S. benefits such as reduced tuition for certain schools.