The EB-5 Investment based immigration program is designed for those investors with sufficient resources to petition themselves and their families for Permanent Residency.
The U.S. Government has consistently supported the EB-5 program in its ability to add to the U.S. economy both financially and in terms of job creation.
The EB-5 immigrant investor visa category is for immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are 10,000 visas available in the category each year, 3,000 of which are reserved for people who participate in a Pilot Program option designed for targeted investments in approved regional areas.
There are four basic requirements for the EB-5 visa. They include:
- The individual must establish a business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19,1990;
- The individual must have invested $1 million unless the investor is investing in a “targeted employment area,” in which case the investment may be $500,000;
- The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers; and
- The EB-5 investor must be engaged in the management of enterprise either through day-to-day managerial control or through policy formulation. A purely passive role is not permitted.
There are three types of qualifying business enterprises for EB-5 purposes. They include:
- New commercial enterprises;
- Purchased existing business with simultaneous restructuring or reorganization such that a new commercial enterprise results; and
- Expanded existing businesses created after November 1990 through the investment of the required amount and the creation of ten new jobs.
Any for-profit business entity that conducts lawful business may serve as a qualifying business enterprise. The business can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, holding company, joint venture, corporation, etc. A holding company with its subsidiaries would also qualify if each subsidiary is engaged in the active conduct of business. Passive investments do not qualify.
An investor can show the capitalization of the enterprise by making an investment in the form of cash, supplies, equipment, inventory, tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the investor provided that the investor is personally and primarily liable for the debts and assets and the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness.
Multiple investors may establish a new commercial enterprise; however, each investor applying for the classification must meet the requirements
for the EB-5 classification separately. For example, each investor must create 10 jobs for U.S. workers.
The basic investment amount required to be an EB-5 investor is $1 million.
Regional Center Program
3,000 of the 10,000 visas are reserved for people who participate in a Pilot Program option designed for targeted investments in approved regional areas.
The required investment is $500,000 for a business established in a “targeted employment area.” Targeted employment areas include:
- Rural areas, defined as any area other than one within a metropolitan statistical area or within the boundary of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more; and
- Areas having an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average.
For a Pilot Program investment, the threshold is a $500,000 capital contribution to a designated regional center which allocates portions of the capital in the form of business loans to small business within the targeted area.
For the purposes of the Pilot Program, any economic unit, public or private, involved with the promotion of economic growth of a particular region may qualify as a Regional Center.
The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the U.S. Full-time employees are defined to include workers working at least thirty-five hours per week. This does not include nonimmigrants. In calculating the required number of employment positions, the investor may not include spouses or children, but may include other family members who are employed by the business.
The 10 full-time employees do not have to be in jobs directly related to the company, and it is possible to show that the 10 full-time jobs are created indirectly through job creation as a result of improving the economy in the regional center. A Conditional Permanent Residency will be issued to the investor, spouse and children under 21.