EB-5 (Immigrant Investor)
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is designed to draw foreign capital investment to create jobs and to stimulate US economy, by granting permanent residency to foreign investors that satisfies the investment requirements.
As a result, besides the requirements on the investment itself, there are very few qualification requirements about the foreign investor that needs subjective judgment of the processing immigration officer.
There are three basic requirements on the investment of a successful EB-5 petition.
1) The investor must invest in a qualified commercial enterprise. Nonprofit organizations, or noncommercial activities, do not qualify.
2) The aforementioned enterprise must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers for at least 2 years. Non-immigrant employees such as H-1B visa holders and the family members of the investor do not qualify.
3) The investment capital should be at least $1 million. The investment capital requirement can be reduced to $500,000 if individuals invest in a “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA – High Unemployment or Rural Area):
- High Unemployment: an area with employment rate at least 150% of the US national average;
- Rural Area: an area outside of any metropolitan statistical area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget, or outside the boundary of any city or town with a population of more than 20,000.
Commercial Enterprise Requirement:
There are three for-profit business types qualifying the EB-5 investor program:
1) A new business that can be one of the following formats, but not limited to:
- A sole proprietorship;
- Holding company;
- Joint venture;
- Business trust or other entity.
2) A troubled business that has been in existence for at least two years, and has incurred more than 20% net loss during the 12 or 24 months before the investor’s petition.
3) An existing enterprise that will expand to 140% of pre-investment net worth or number of employees.
Job Creation Requirements:
- The job creation of at least 10 full-time jobs must exist for at least two years (or reasonably longer) after issuing Conditional Permanent Residency.
- Indirect jobs will be counted only if the investment is on a Regional Center.
- Preserving the jobs will be accepted only if the investment is on a Troubled Business.
- A Regional Center is not merely a defined geographic area but rather is a business entity that coordinates foreign investment within that area in compliance with the USCIS regulation.
- A Regional Center, like other economic entity, can be public or private.
- Investments made through regional centers allow for a less restrictive job creation requirement based upon the creation of “indirect” and “direct” jobs.
- Approximately 90% of EB-5 applications submitted to USCIS fall into this category.