U.S. Immigrant Investor Program, also known as EB-5 program (the fifth preference category for employment-based immigration), was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990. A total 10,000 visa numbers are allocated annually to qualified individuals seeking Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status on the basis of their capital investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States. The purpose of the EB-5 program is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by offering immigrants the benefits of permanent residency in the United States. The EB-5 visa essentially offers a good immigration solution for those who have the financial resources. It does not require sponsorship from a U.S. employer. Most importantly, because the annual visa numbers consistently exceed the number of applicants worldwide, applicants do not have to wait a long time for visa numbers available for them and their family.
EB-5 visas are available for those who have invested, or are in the process of investing at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise. Individuals who invest in a targeted employment area only need to invest a minimum of $500,000. A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
- Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
- Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
Job Creation Requirement
Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
Regional Center EB-5
Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. The purpose of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program is to attract more foreign investors to fund businesses and projects in specific “regional centers”.
Regional Center EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise affiliated with an USCIS designated Regional Center. (Please see above for a definition of “new commercial enterprise”) Like the traditional EB-5, The required minimum investment is $1 million. If the new commercial enterprise is located in a targeted employment area (high unemployment or rural area), the minimum qualifying investment is $500,000.
Job Creation Requirement
Unlike traditional EB-5 requirement, a foreign investor may use the indirect job calculation where his/her investment is affiliated with a regional center:
- Create or preserve either direct or indirect at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident:
- Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.
- Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor.
There are four steps to becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) through the EB-5 program:
- Form I-526 immigrant petition approval.
- Application for an immigrant visa either through adjustment of status (Form I-485) in the United States with USCIS, or through an application for immigrant visa (Form DS-230) with the Department of State (DOS).
- Upon approval of the Form I-485 or admission on an EB-5 immigrant visa, the alien is granted two-years of conditional permanent resident status.
- A Form I-829 petition to remove the conditions on the LPR status must be filed at the end of the two-year conditional period. If the alien has fulfilled the EB-5 requirements, then the conditions will be removed and the alien will be an unconditional LPR.
Please call 949-385-3588 for free Legal Consultation.