What is EB-5 ?
Around 3,500 EB-5 visas were issued in the 2011 fiscal year which marked an 80 percent increase from 2010. The program, which caps the number of visas issued annually at 10,000, hit its annual limit for the first time in August 2014. This growth speaks particularly to the increased confidence in the program due to USCIS transparency, efficiencies in the application process, and growth in the number of Regional Centers established across the United States. The numbers speak for themselves. This process is dependable and valuable. If you can make a $500,000 investment commitment in a project that will generate ten jobs or more, then you could also be on the way to getting a Green Card for you and your family by applying for an EB-5 visa today.
The U.S. government created the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to encourage foreign investment in U.S. businesses. In exchange for investing in a business that creates jobs for U.S. workers, foreign nationals and their families are eligible to become permanent residents of the US. The program’s name, “EB–5”, comes from the visa category for which immigrant investors apply – the Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference EB-5.
While the program has evolved considerably since its creation in 1990, there are currently two ways for foreign investors to obtain an EB-5 Visa:
1. Direct investment in a new or existing commercial enterprise that creates jobs.
2. Investing capital through a “Regional Center”, a government-approved firm, that actively manages investor funds and the immigration approval process.
Advantages of investing into Regional Center
Investing capital through a Regional Center provides several major benefits to immigrants seeking U.S. residency through the EB-5 program. One of the most important advantages is the ability to count both direct and indirect jobs towards the “job creation requirement”.
Direct job creation is a result of an investment which has created and sustained ten new actual identifiable jobs over a two-year period. Under the Regional Center program, investors can also satisfy the job requirement by showing the indirect job creation from pooled funds of all investors in the project. These jobs can be created collectively or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a Regional Center.
In other words, the investor does not need to show that he or she directly hired any employees. The burden of proving job creation is passed onto the Regional Center. The Regional Centers, in turn, hire experienced economists who perform economic analysis and prove that sufficient direct and indirect jobs are created as a result of the project.
Amount of Investment
Each EB-5 Visa applicant must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 in a job-creating venture. If the business receiving capital is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) – defined as a rural area or a region with high unemployment – then the minimum investment amount is reduced to $500,000. Today, most EB-5 investment opportunities are located in TEAs.