The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa was created with the intention of bringing over foreign investors and stimulating the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investments. The premise is simple. An immigrant invests between $500,000 and $1 million in a U.S. business and in turn the applicant and his or her spouse and children under 21 gain permanent residency (Green Card) in the U.S. The permanent residency granted is conditional for two years. This blog post discusses the basic requirements of the EB-5 program.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
Foreign investors interested in an EB-5 visa must meet certain requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In general, the applicant must satisfy three main categories: capital investment requirement, job creation requirement, and business qualification requirement.
(1) Capital Investment Requirement
An applicant for an EB-5 visa is required to make either a $500,000 or $1 million capital investment into a U.S. business. This investment can be in form of cash, inventory, equipment, other tangible property, indebtedness or other forms of cash equivalents. The amount of investment is decided based on the location of the business. Businesses located in a targeted employment area (TEA) qualify for $500,000 investments. A business must be either located in a rural area or in an area with high unemployment rate to be qualified as a TEA designation. A rural area is a geographic area, outside of a city or metropolitan area, with a population of 20,000 or more according to the most recent census. A high unemployment area is an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. Businesses outside of a TEA require an investment of $1 million. In any instance, the applicant must be able to prove the money for investment was obtained legally. It can be through income, gifts, or inheritance.
(2) Job Creation Requirement
Under USCIS guidelines, an EB-5 visa investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The applicant has two years to create these jobs. Positions held by the applicant, his or her spouse, or any of their children do not count toward the requirement. The 10 full-time employees do not have to be U.S. citizens, but they must have more than temporary or non-immigrant visas. All green card holders or those with legal right to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely will qualify as a full-time employee. Additionally, the applicant’s role in the business cannot be completely passive. He or she must be actively engaged in the business, either in a managerial role or a policy-forming role.
(3) Business Qualification Requirement
An applicant for an EB-5 visa has a few options as to the type of business in which he or she can invest. In general, the applicant can invest in a newly formed business. The newly formed business must be a for-profit business and can utilize any form of business structure such as corporation, general partnership, or limited partnership. Also, the applicant can invest in an existing business. In order for an investment in an existing business to qualify for an EB-5 visa, the investment must lead to a 40% increase in the number of employees or the net worth of the business. Another option for the applicant would be to invest in EB-5 Regional Centers. Regional centers are government approved entities which facilitate the EB-5 visa program by pooling together applicants and their capital investments and creating projects that will create the necessary 10 jobs for each investor.
What to Consider Prior to Applying for an EB-5 Visa
An EB-5 visa is one of the most difficult and complicated visa categories to establish your eligibility under. Thus it is well worth paying for legal advice before starting the process. Further, the U.S. has some of the most complex tax codes and regulations which can be applied to an applicant’s assets and source of income worldwide. Thus, it is strongly advised to consider pre-immigration tax and estate planning to ensure that you take advantage of all the legal protections available.
If you are interested in receiving advice regarding EB-5 visa, contact us at 1-844-HOLBORN and one of our immigration attorneys will be happy to assist you.
Disclaimer: This post is meant for general informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as legal advice. As with any laws, the information in this blog post may change at any time and may apply differently in different jurisdictions. The post may constitute Attorney Advertising as defined by the rules of professional responsibility of some jurisdictions. Holborn Law is based in Orange County and Riverside. The attorneys of Holborn Law APC are active members of the State Bar of California and licensed to practice law in California. All services relating to immigration and naturalization provided by Holborn Law APC are provided by active members of the State Bar of California or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar of California.