Families and Individuals who seek to move to the Unites States on a permanent basis can apply for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Process. USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5.” EB-5 was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.
The requirements for the program can be summarized as follows:
- The investor must meet capital investment amount requirements. At this time, the investment is either a $800,000 or $1,050,000 capital investment into a US commercial enterprise;
- The investment enterprise must create at least 10 new jobs and maintain them for 2 years;
- The investor must ensure that the business receiving the investment qualifies for the EB-5 program.
Here are a few details of the EB-5 requirements:
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise:
- Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
- Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
- Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
- A sole proprietorship
- Partnership (whether limited or general)
- Holding company
- Joint venture
- Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
Note: This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.
Job creations requirements
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within 2 years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
- Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs (see below).
Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.
Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a Regional Center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a Regional Center.
Note: Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of the EB-5. Note: Investment capital cannot be borrowed. Required minimum investments are:
- General: The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
- Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area): The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $800,000.
A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.
Is the EB-5 applicable to you?
Is the EB-5 visa right for you? The following scenarios serve to clarify eligibility and general requirements for the EB-5 Investor Visa:
Dr. Wang and his wife are in their fifties and renowned professors at a university in Beijing, China. They have a college-aged son already studying in the United States and would like to join him. Over the course of their career, they have accumulated a total of USD $900,000 in assets through real estate investments in the condo market in Beijing, China.
They are considering investing in a targeted employment area. Is this a viable option for them?
Answer: It would not be advisable for the Wang family to invest most of their assets into the EB-5 program. They will have little assets leftover in the event that their investment goes awry. Instead of the EB-5, they should look into other employment based categories like an EB-1(a) or a NIW.
Mr. Patel is independently wealthy, making his fortune in shipping. To date, his assets total $15 million USD. His business is continually growing and he anticipates maintaining his wealth. Recently, Mr. Patel has become interested in the U.S. shipping and logistics market and would like to start a company. In return, the company will make him a formidable shareholder. In addition, Mr. Patel is married and has two children both under the age of 21.
Is this a viable option for Mr. Patel?
Answer: Absolutely. With plenty of liquid assets and a clear idea of what industry he wants to invest in, the EB-5 visa is a good option for Mr. Patel to pursue.
Robert Li received a $1,000,000 dollar gift from his father, who is a very wealthy businessman in Shanghai, China. Robert has no managerial experience nor does he have an advanced degree or special skill set. Robert is young, single and is looking for a fast way to come to the United States. Robert already has a sister in the U.S. who is a U.S. citizen.
Is an EB-5 a viable option for Robert?
Answer: Yes, this would be a viable option for Robert. As he has no advanced degree or special skill set, his only other option is to apply for a green card through a family-based petition. However, because a family-based petition from his sister may take a long time, Robert would best benefit from an EB-5 petition. Since he has no managerial experience, it might be in Robert’s best interest to invest in a Regional Center Program.
Harry is an Executive Vice President working for a big Chinese company. If he sells his house, he will have a net worth of a little over $1 million USD. Harry has a lot of managerial experience and has been considering the EB-5 petition for some time. However, his company, which has many offices around the world, including one in the United States, has recently informed him there is a possibility of sending him to work at their U.S. branch office on an EB-1C.
What should Harry do?
Answer: Since Harry’s net worth is just over $1,000,000 dollars and would require him to sell his home, the best option for Harry would be to come to the United States under an L-1 visa and then apply for an immigration petition under an EB-1C. That way, he will not have to invest his own money or sell his home. In addition, he can also adjust status immediately to unconditional permanent residency once the EB-1C petition is approved.
Derivative Applicants: spouse and children
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