What You Should Know About The EB-5 U.S. Investment Visa

us-investment-visa image

What You Should Know About The EB-5 U.S. Investment Visa

So many people around the world dream of living permanently in the United States. Some people want to escape from their home country, some want to take advantage of the amazing culture and strong diversified economy and some want to retire in the USA. If you are considering a new permanent life in the USA, the EB-5 U.S. investment visa may be your best option.

If you’re unsure what the EB-5 investment visa is and how you can apply for it, continue reading.

What Is The U.S. EB-5 Investment Visa?

In 1990, Congress created the EB-5 immigrant investor program to stimulate the economy and create jobs by attracting foreign investors who are interested in immigrating to the U.S. Under this program, immigrants can receive permanent residence (a green card) and a path towards citizenship as long as they meet certain criteria.

To qualify for an EB-5 visa, a foreign investor must invest one million USD into a new commercial enterprise that creates at least ten new jobs. If the investor plans on creating these jobs in a ‘targeted employment area’ (TEA), the amount drops to $500,000. We cover TEA’s in detail later in this article.

EB-5 immigrants have invested at least $20 billion in the U.S. economy since 2008, with over $5 billion invested in 2017 alone thanks to the EB-5 program. The government has issued 29,000 green cards through the program. While it’s hard to tell how many jobs the program creates, experts estimate the number to be in the thousands every year.

What Is A "New Commercial Enterprise"?

Under the EB-5 program the U.S. government defines a new commercial enterprise (NCE) as:

Any for profit activity formed after November 29, 1990 for the exercise of lawful business. An NCE must be formed to make a profit; therefor charitable work and/or owning a personal home do not qualify, as the EB-5 program is founded upon the creation of jobs that occur through commercial activity.

Should I Choose the Regional Center EB-5 Program or Direct EB-5 Program?

In 1992, the U.S. government created an offshoot of the original EB-5 program called “The Regional Center Pilot Program.” According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) a regional center is a private or public entity designated by the USCIS that is authorized to work with multiple EB-5 investors and manage their investments for greater economic impact. Regional centers are authorized by the USCIS to work within a defined geographic location and within specific industries.

Your success in using the EB-5 visa program for U.S. permanent residency is largely dependent on job creation. Please make sure you fully understand how job creation numbers are counted.

  • Job Creation Requirements (Direct EB-5 Program):Under the direct EB-5 program, each investor must create ten new full time jobs. These jobs will need to be documented with tax records and employment authorizations documents.
  • Job Creation Requirements (Regional Center EB-5 Program):Under the regional center EB-5 program allows the use of “economic modeling” to define the direct, indirect and induced jobs created by use of the investor’s capital. This means that when you use the regional center program you get to count not just the direct jobs, but also indirect and induced jobs, which may help you prove maximum job creation form your capital investment.

Download Your EB-5 Visa Step-by-Step Guide

This 10-step guide will take you through each step on your path to permanent residence using the EB-5 Visa Program - It's Free
Invalid email address

EB-5 Visa Employment Requirements

The jobs created by your investment must be full-time qualified employees. Qualified employees are legal U.S. citizens, legal residents, or legal immigrants. They must have authorization to work in the United States and cannot be the applicant for the EB-5 visa, their spouse, or children.

The definition of full-time is 35 paid hours or more per week. These jobs cannot be seasonal or temporary positions. However, jobs that are expected to last at least 2 years are generally not considered temporary or seasonal in nature.

EB-5 Minimum Capital Investment

Currently, the minimum investment under the EB-5 program is one million dollars. However, this amount can be lowered to $500,000 in a targeted employment area (TEA). The vast majority of EB-5 applicants invest in a regional center that offers projects in a TEA. In order to qualify as a TEA the area must meet one of two criteria:

  • Targeted Employment Area (Rural):
    An area can be designated as a TEA if, at the time of application, it is a rural area. This is defined as an area that is not within either a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more.
  • Targeted Employment Area (Unemployment):
    An area can be designated as a TEA based on high unemployment if it has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Can You Find the Right EB-5 Investment?

With more than 800 regional centers currently approved by the USCIS how do you choose which one is right for you? Some regional centers have well established past performance statistics while many are newly established and relatively unproven.

There are only a select few regional centers that have achieved unconditional permanent residence status (I-829 petition approval) for their EB-5 investors, let alone achieved this with multiple EB-5 partnerships over many years.

To claim success a regional center must be able to offer you, the EB-5 investor, the opportunity to not only secure permanent residence status for you and your family but also demonstrate how you have the opportunity to see the return of your capital.

In addition to your choice of regional center you will also need to make a decision on the project that your chosen regional center is offering you. Regional centers may well have more than one project open and available for you to invest in. Keep in mind that just because one project of a particular regional center has been successful, it does not necessarily mean the next one will be! Dig deep, look at the past offerings of your chosen regional center and decide for yourself if there is a pattern of success.

What is the Process of Applying for an EB-5 U.S. Investment Visa?

The step-by-step guide (see link below) will help you with a simple outline of each of the steps you need to take to apply for an EB-5 visa to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. for yourself and your qualified family members.

Download Your EB-5 Visa Step-by-Step Guide

This 10-step guide will take you through each step on your path to permanent residence using the EB-5 Visa Program - It's Free
Invalid email address

Should I Hire an Experienced EB-5 Advocate?

When you are performing your due diligence to decide if the EB-5 program is right for you, one of the most important things you can do is consult with a qualified immigration attorney who has an acceptable level of experience with EB-5 clients.

An experienced immigration lawyer can go over all of your options with you to make sure:

  • That the EB-5 visa is your best choice
  • That you are qualified for an EB-5 visa
  • The EB-5 investment you choose meets the program requirements

It is important that the immigration attorney you choose is independent from the regional center you are going to invest with. This is to prevent any conflict of interest and ensure you get unbiased advice throughout your EB-5 process.

Potential Changes To The EB-5 Program

Before you begin your EB-5 journey it is important that you know that changes to the EB-5 program could occur. Although the EB-5 program is permanent law, the Regional Center Program must continue to be renewed by Congress. The USCIS and Congress are currently considering making changes to the program. One common belief is that the investment should be increased with certain proposals suggesting anywhere from $800,000 to over $1,000,000. While it’s too early to say exactly what these changes are going to be, it’s important to keep the possibility of changes in mind as they could come into effect at any time.

For that reason, it’s recommended that you start the process as early as possible and once you have made an informed decision, that you file your immigration petition under the current EB-5 program requirements as quickly as possible.

If you’re seeking a new life in the United States, it’s essential to have up-to-date information. Immigration is a complex issue, but we’re here to help. If you have any questions about how we can help you with the U.S. investment visa, feel free to contact us today.

Author: author

Leave a Reply