EB-5 Visas: Obtaining a U.S. Visa Through Investment

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” is an opportunity for foreign investors with significant capital looking to acquire green cards, or permanent resident status, for themselves and for their dependants. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) administers the program for the purpose of stimulating the U.S. economy through foreign capital investment and job creation for qualified U.S. workers.

Capital Requirement

There are two ways to qualify for the EB-5 visa. The first requires the immigrant investor to invest a minimum of 1 million U.S. dollars, while the second option requires an investment minimum of $500,000.  It is important to note that the latter alternative requires the foreign entrepreneur to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), a location that is rural or experiencing high unemployment. If an investor opts for the more costly option, he or she can choose to invest in any desired location.

The investment capital must have been obtained by lawful. The investment may consist of debt, but the indebtedness must be secured by the personal assets of the investor. The assets of the new commercial enterprise may not be the security upon which the investor’s indebtedness has been obtained.

Job Requirement

There are job creation requirements as well. The enterprise must create at least 10 new full-time jobs, for qualified workers, within two years of the immigrant investor’s admission into the U.S. Job requirements are relaxed if the investor chooses to invest in a troubled business and/or a Regional Center.  By investing in a troubled business the foreign entrepreneur may be credited with not only creating, but preserving jobs. By doing business with a Regional Center, the investor is qualified to expand the job creation requirement to count indirect jobs.

Most foreign entrepreneurs choose to put their money into Regional Centers; government approved economic establishments that promote economic growth and job creation designated by the USCIS. There are currently over 170 approved Regional Centers in operation. Any investor seeking a Regional Center status for their enterprise can do so by submitting a proposal to the USCIS.

New Commercial Enterprise Requirement

All capital investments must be invested in a new commercial enterprise, regardless of what option the foreign entrepreneur picks. To qualify as a new commercial enterprise, the immigrant’s investment must be made into a business that was established after November 29, 1990. If established on or before November 29, 1990, the enterprise must be purchased and reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or the investment must expand the business’ net worth or number of employees by at least 40%.  The commercial enterprise must be for profit and an on going lawful business activity.

About the Author
EB5Investors.com is a helpful informational portal that provides several resources regarding the EB-5 Visa program. EB5Investors.com seeks to help investors learn about the program while providing access to immigration professionals.

Photo Credit: crazyemt (Creative Commons)

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