The fifth employment based visa preference category, created by Congress in 1990, is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category and they are: creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business.
New Business Enterprise
To qualify you must:
- Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (discussed further below) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
- Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.
- Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S.citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
- Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board member.
Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.
To qualify you must:
- Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.
- Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.
- The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business’s net worth before the loss.
- Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
- Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy. For example as a corporate officer or board member.
- The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).
Regional Center Pilot Program
The EB-5 immigrant investor green card program is an ideal option to obtain permanent residency in the United States of America for foreign investors investing $500.000 in one of many approved regional centers in many US states. The EB-5 visa appears to provide one of the most flexible paths to a green card based on U.S. investment. The EB-5 visa does not require the applicant to manage the day-to-day affairs of a business.
To qualify you must:
- Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center. Regional Centers are defined and discussed further below.
- Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly through the capital investment.
The Processing Procedures
- File form I-526 Petition for Alien Entrepreneur. This petition requires USCIS to certify the applicant and the investment as eligible for EB-5 visa status.
- Upon approval of the EB-5 petition (a) if you are in the USA you may apply for adjustment of status to permanent residence by sending form I-485 and supporting documentation to the appropriate regional processing center. (b) If you are abroad await notification from the US embassy in your home country of a visa interview. The adjustment of status includes checks for criminal background and infectious diseases.
- Upon approval you receive a form pending the issue of your two year conditional green card, as well as documents required for entry into the USA. If you are abroad you should enter the US within six months of Embassy approval of your conditional greencard.
- During the final 90 days of the two year conditional green card you must file for removal of conditions using form 1-829. This procedure permits USCIS to verify that you have maintained your full approved investment and the required number of jobs have been created in your regional center program.