EB-5 Immigrant Investor
The EB-5 immigrant classification grants foreign nationals permanent resident status based on an investment in the United States. The investment must be in a new commercial enterprise that results in the creation at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The minimum investment amount is $1.8 million dollars. If the investment is directed to a targeted employment area, the minimum investment amount is reduced to $900,000. The investment may be placed directly in a business entity owned and operated by the foreign national. It can also be made through a designated regional center for placement in projects pre-configured for meeting EB-5 requirements. For experienced entrepreneurs and investors, the EB-5 immigrant classification can offer the most direct path to U.S. permanent residency.
There are two options for making an EB-5 investment. The first is where the investment is made in a new commercial enterprise owned and operated by the foreign national. This is commonly referred to as the “Direct EB-5”. The second is where the investment is made through a designated regional center that will apply the funds towards projects pre-configured for EB-5 investment.
Direct EB-5 Investment
In a Direct EB-5 investment, the capital is contributed to a new commercial enterprise owned and operated by the investor. This business would be responsible for creating 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers before the end of the investor’s two-year conditional residency period. A full-time job is where an employee works at least 35 hours per week. These employees must be U.S. workers, which include U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, conditional residents, asylees, refugees, and grantees of suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal. Nonimmigrant visa holders, the investor, and the investor’s spouse or children are not considered as U.S. workers and cannot be counted for meeting the job creation requirement.
Regional Center Investment
Regional centers are organizations designed by the Department of Homeland Security to promote economic growth, productivity, job creation, and domestic capital investment in a region. The regional center sponsors local commercial projects by allocating EB-5 capital received towards their development. Investments made through a regional center has the advantage a more relaxed job creation requirement. Regional centers can meet statutory job creation requirements based on economic projections of either direct or indirect job creation, rather than only on jobs directly created by the new commercial enterprise.
Targeted Employment Area
Investment in a targeted employment area (TEA) can meet a lower threshold amount of $900,000. A TEA may be a geographic area with an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average. A TEA may also be a city or town outside of a metropolitan statistical area that has a population of at least 20,000. Under the current regulations, USCIS decides whether the investment is made in a TEA.
Investment of Capital
The foreign national must invest his or her own capital. It can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, and cash equivalents. If the investor decided to borrow funds to finance the EB-5 investment, the loan must be secured by the investor’s personally assets.
Lawful Source of Funds
The investor must provide documentary evidence that the investment capital was derived from lawful means. The investor must show how he or she was able to obtain the capital for the EB-5 investment and document its path to the designated business or project. This can often be a complicated process and the method for documenting an investor’s lawful source of funds varies depending on personal and country-specific circumstances.
There are a series of steps to obtaining permanent residency through the EB-5 classification. The investor must first decide on the business or project to invest in. After which, the investor would file the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor (I-526). The I-526 petition provides documentation of the investment, the underlying business/project, the projected economic benefit in terms of job creation, and the lawful source of the investment capital. The approval of the I-526 petition allows the investor to obtain a conditional permanent resident status for a period of two years. At the end of the two-year period, the investor shall file the Form I-829, which is a petition to remove conditions to the permanent resident status (I-829). The I-829 would provide evidence that the investment has satisfied the job creation requirement (creating at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers).
|Investment in a Qualified Business or Project|
|Direct Investment: The investment is contributed to a business owned and operated by the investor.|
Regional Center: The investment is wired to a designated project escrow account.
The minimum investment amount is $1.8 million. For projects located in targeted employment areas (TEA), the minimum investment amount is $900,000.
|Submit I-526 Petition & Supporting Documents||The I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor is submitted to USCIS for adjudication. The I-526 petition must include documentation about the investment and the investor’s lawful source of funds.|
|I-526 Approval: Adjustment of Status or Consular Process||Once the I-526 petition is approved, the investor and immediate family members would obtain a 2-year conditional permanent residence status (temporary Green Card). The investor obtains their conditional green card through adjustment of status (if already in the United States) or consular process (if outside of the United States).|
|2-Year Conditional Green Card||The investment should create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers before the end of the 2-year period. For direct investments, the jobs counted must be individuals directly employed by the business. For regional center investments, jobs may include indirect jobs created in the geographic region.|
|Submit I-829 Petition & Supporting Documents||The I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Condition on Permanent Resident Status is submitted to USCIS for adjudication.|
|I-829 Petition Approval||Once the I-829 petition is approved, the investor and immediate family members would obtain permanent resident status (Green Card status).|
|Return of Investment Capital||After the I-829 is approved, the investor may seek to withdraw their principal investment.|
|U.S. Citizenship||Three (3) years after the I-829 is approved, the investor and immediate family members may apply for U.S. citizenship.|
We are among the few firms with a “full-spectrum” of experience in EB-5 investment immigration. We have helped countless investors of diverse backgrounds through their investment immigration process and have worked with a wide range of businesses and projects to qualify for EB-5 investment.