The EB-5 program was created in 1990 by Congress to help the United States economy via capital investment and job creation by foreign investors. It lets entrepreneurs, along with their spouses and unmarried children, become eligible for a green card if they
1. Make the proper investment in a US commercial enterprise ($1 million minimum)
2. Have a plan to create or preserve 10 full-time, permanent jobs for qualified workers in the US
If a petition is approved, then the investor, their spouse, and dependents will go into a conditional permanent residence for two years. Evidence that the requirements have been met must be submitted 90 days before the conditional residence ends. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) then reviews the information and approves the green card once all the documentation is deemed to be acceptable.
What Qualifies as a Commercial Enterprise?
In order to qualify for the EB-5 visa, the commercial enterprise must be established after November 29th, 1990. Enterprises established before this date are permitted if they were restructured or reorganized to where a new commercial enterprise emerged, or if they were expanded to where there was at least a 40% increase in employee number or overall net worth.
USCIS says commercial enterprises are activities that are for-profit and formed in order to continually conduct lawful business. These could include sole proprietorships, holding companies, corporations, or joint ventures. Noncommercial activity (like owning and operating a personal residence) is not included in the definition.
Things like cash, equipment, and inventory could count as invested capital. The $1-million-dollar minimum can be reduced to $500,000 if the investment is in a targeted employment area or a rural area. Targeted employment areas are where unemployment is at least 150% the national average.
What Are the Job Creation Requirements?
Enterprises that are not located in a regional center qualify if the full-time positions are made directly by the new commercial enterprise. Those located in a regional center can either have the jobs created directly or indirectly. Indirect jobs are seen as those created by the new commercial enterprise but located outside of it. Regional centers are special organizations set up by USCIS to sponsor investment projects. Regional centers can be a big advantage to those looking for an EB-5 visa because they can help add credibility to projects.
Why Should I Consider an EB-5 Visa?
The EB-5 visa is popular because it lets investors put their money into a stable business environment, or work with sponsors who are well-known and reputable. It also gives the opportunity to live and work across the United States. The US government sets aside 10,000 green cards a year for investors and puts those interested on a waiting list if the limit is reached.
Working with an experienced immigration lawyer is highly recommended when trying to get an EB-5 visa. The program is very strict in order to combat fraud and making a mistake can cost a lot of money. For assistance in qualifying for an EB-5 visa, contact our office today to talk with an immigration attorney at NPZ Law Group.