Employment Based Immigration – EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Immigrant Investor Program: EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program allows foreign national investors the opportunity to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This program was created by Congress in 1990 as a way to stimulate the economy through the creation of jobs and capital investments in the U.S. by foreign investors. The intent is that the investor will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full time jobs.

The Immigrant Investor Visa Process

In order to obtain an EB-5 visa there must be an investment of at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 if the investment is made in a “targeted employment area.” The investment must be “at risk” and the investor must be engaged in the management of the enterprise through day to day managerial control. There must be evidence that the new commercial enterprise will create at least 10 full-time position.

The investor also has an option of investing into a “Regional Center,” which provides for different job creation rules.

Targeted Employment Areas

An investor can reduce the amount of money required for an investment from $1,000,000 to $500,000 if their investment is made in a “Targeted Employment Area”. Targeted Employment Areas are defined as areas, at the time of the investment, with high unemployment or rural areas.

  • High unemployment areas are locations in the U.S. with an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national unemployment rate at the time of the investment.
  • Rural areas are locations in the U.S. that are outside of the Metropolitan Statistical Area (designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside of the boundary of any city or town that has a population of 20,000 or more.
Regional Centers

Regional centers are entities, organizations, or agencies that focus on a specific geographical area within the United States in order to promote economic growth within that area. A Regional Center can manage, direct and control the projects and developments that the new commercial enterprise initiates.

These centers work to increase export sales, improve regional productivity, create new jobs, and increase domestic capital investment. Regional Centers are designated by the USCIS.

Advantages of Investing into Regional Centers include:

  • Investing into an approved project satisfies some of the requirements for the EB-5 visa program.
  • The investor does not have to worry about presenting a business plan for approval from USCIS.
  • It’s easier to satisfy the job creation requirements in a Regional Center.
  • The investor does not have to take an everyday role in the management of his or her investment.
  • The investor may live and work anywhere in the U.S. and does not have to live in the area where their investment is located.

Disadvantages of Investing into Regional Centers Includes:

  • The Regional Center cannot guarantee profit or the return of the principal investment.
  • The investor has less control over the success or failure of the business.
Obtaining Lawful Permanent Residence Status:

In order to obtain lawful permanent residence status through the EB-5 Program the applicant must follow three general steps:

  1. The first step is filing the Form I-526, “Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” along with supporting documents and the required filing fee.
  2. Following the approval of the Form I-526, the immigrant will have to file a Form I-485, “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status“ to adjust their immigrant status along with the required filing fee.
  3. The final step is proving that the investor has met all the EB-5 requirements at the end of their two year conditional residency. This is done by filing the Form I-829, “Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions” along with the required filing fee.
The EB-5 Visa Holder’s Family

Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the U.S. with you on a two-year conditional period. If your I-829 petition to remove condition is approved, the conditions will be removed from your spouse and children’s Green Card status. As lawful permanent residence (Green Card holders) your spouse and children will be authorized to work or attend school in the U.S.

Immigrant Investor Visa Program Quota/Cap

There is an annual cap set at 7.1% of the total worldwide level, currently 10,000 visas, each fiscal year for Immigrant Investors.

Contact Our Firm to Speak With A Lawyer

If you are foreign investor and would like to obtain an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa our attorneys want to help you. Call our Boston, Massachusetts, office at 617-426-8100 or send an email for a confidential meeting.

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