The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers an expedited route to permanent residence in the U.S. Simply put, for foreign nationals who wish to invest in America and make it their home, there is no better choice than the EB-5 program.
WHAT IS THE EB-5 PROGRAM?
The EB-5 program was created by Congress in 1990, and is named for the employment-based 5th preference visa which qualified immigrant investors receive. Unlike other visa programs, the EB-5 program’s sole purpose is to create jobs and economic growth for America. In exchange for capital investments and job creation in the US, participants receive a two year conditional green card, with the opportunity to obtain permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family after two years.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?
While other visa programs have requirements for language, skills, education, etc. the EB-5 program’s requirements are much less stringent. The main requirement to qualify for an EB-5 visa is making and sustaining a minimum investment amount into a new job-creating American commercial enterprise. This minimum investment varies depending on where in the U.S. the commercial enterprise is located. Areas can be designated by USCIS as a TEA (targeted employment areas), and projects in these areas have a much lower required investment for EB-5 investors. A TEA can be either a rural area, or an area with an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average. The minimum investment amount is $900,000 for a TEA project or $1,800,000 for a non-TEA project.
In addition to the capital they put up to qualify for an EB-5 visa, the investor must also be credited with the creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Depending on whether or not the EB-5 investor chooses to invest in the Regional Center Program or through direct investment, the requirements for what job creation counts differ. Lastly, the investment must remain “at-risk” for the duration of their conditional visa period.
While this may seem complicated, an immigration attorney, or trusted EB-5 Regional Center can help answer your questions and explain the process.
HOW DO I KNOW WHERE TO INVEST?
As mentioned above, participants in the EB-5 program have two available options for how they chose to invest; The Regional Center Program, or the direct investment program. Each Program has its own advantages, and neither is strictly better or worse than the other. Depending on what an EB-5 investor wants, either program is a valid choice.
The less commonly chosen option for EB-5 investors is direct investment. Direct investment is exactly what it sounds like, the participant directly invests in the project of their choice. EB-5 investors who choose the direct investment route must provide proof their commercial enterprise has created at least 10 full-time jobs. These are typically smaller projects where the investors want direct control of the enterprise, such as opening a franchise restaurant, or a medical practice.
THE REGIONAL CENTER PROGRAM
Regional Centers on the other hand, are typically involved in much larger projects and involve a much greater number of investors.
An EB-5 Regional Center is “an economic unit, public or private… involved with promoting economic growth. . . [and] designated by USCIS for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program.”
These regional centers pool capital from EB-5 investors for large development projects, typically situated in a TEA. Typically investors who decide to go through a Regional Center don’t need to be involved in day-to-day operations of the development project, and can focus on high level decision making. Choosing to invest through a Regional Center offers EB-5 investors a number of benefits, namely, relaxed requirements for job creation. While Direct investors need to prove their enterprise directly created 10 jobs, Regional centers are permitted to report indirect job creation. This makes it much easier for investors to meet the requirements for a permanent green card.
SO WHY EB-5 ?
Applying to participate in the EB-5 program is an excellent choice for any foreign national who wishes to make the U.S. their home. Not only does it allow participants to obtain a green card much faster than they typically could otherwise, but it also allows them to invest in the American economy and see returns on that investment. If you want to immigrate to America, and can meet its requirements, the EB-5 program is a worthwhile investment.
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