EB5 Immigrant Investor Program
By investing money in creating a new U.S. business that employs ten workers, you might qualify for a U.S. green card.
Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program, which sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
The minimum investment amount is $1,050,000 (or $800,000 for the Targeted Employment Area).
The investor must be actively engaged in the company, either in a managerial or a policy-forming role. Passive investments, such as land speculation, do not ordinarily qualify you for an EB-5 green card.
If seeking an EB-5 visa through direct investment, the investment must be made in a new commercial enterprise. An Investor can either create an original business, buy a business that was established after November 29, 1990, or buy a business and restructure or reorganize it so that a new business entity is formed. If an Investor buys an existing business and expand it, she/he needs to increase either the number of employees or the net worth of the business by at least 40%. An Investor also needs to make the full required investment and show that theinvestment created at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
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A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States, including a conditional resident, temporary resident, asylee, refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include immigrant investors; their spouses, sons, or daughters; or any noncitizen in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B nonimmigrant) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the regional center program, full-time employment also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.
Capital means cash and all real, personal, or mixed tangible assets owned and controlled by the immigrant investor. All capital will be valued at fair-market value in U.S. dollars.
The definition of capital does not include:
Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities);
Capital invested in exchange for a note, bond, convertible debt, obligation, or any other debt arrangement between the immigrant investor and the new commercial enterprise;
Capital invested with a guaranteed rate of return on the amount invested; or
Capital invested that is subject to any agreement between the immigrant investor and the new commercial enterprise that provides the immigrant investor with a contractual right to repayment, except that the new commercial enterprise may have a buy back option that may be exercised solely at the discretion of the new commercial enterprise.
Immigrant investors must establish that they are the legal owner of the capital invested.
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