About EB-5 Visa Program
In 1990 Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act altering the level and preference system for the admission of immigrants to the United States. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created to attract foreign investment that would stimulate the economy and create jobs. In order to qualify for a lawful permanent residency under this new program, a foreign national must make a capital investment in a new commercial enterprise in the amount of one million US dollars, (or five hundred thousand US dollars if the enterprise is located in what is knows as a Targeted Employment Area) that results in the creation of at least ten new jobs for US workers, exclusive of the investor and his/her family. The investment could also be in a troubled business resulting in the preservation of at least ten jobs.
In 1992 a Pilot Program was launched to enable investment in entities known as Regional Centers which were formed to stimulate targeted economic growth. A Regional Center is an
entity – either public or private – that is formed to promote economic growth by offering capital investment opportunities in designated geographic areas for a defined group of industry categories. A Regional Center must be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A significant benefit from investing in a project that is sponsored by a Regional Center is that in addition to direct jobs the project is entitled to include indirect and induced jobs when determining the total number of jobs created as a result of the investment. This results in a substantial increase in the amount of capital that may be raised for most projects, especially those involving real estate development and commercial construction.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has taken a long time to hit its stride. A 2005 General Accounting Office report indicated that only 6,024 Visas under the EB-5 category were issued from the program’s inception through 2004, even though Congress allotted 10,000 Visas per year to the program. However, in 2014 nearly 11,000 I-526 Petitions were filed with the USCIS and it is anticipated that the annual quota will be exceeded prior to the end of this calendar year as well. More than ninety percent of the investment under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program occurs in projects sponsored by Regional Centers.
Obtaining a Visa granting lawful permanent residence status in the United States is a multi-step process that the immigrant investor should pursue with the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. It is important to fully understand the requirements pertaining to each application, beginning with the I-526 Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Upon approval by the USCIS, the investor (and dependents) will be granted conditional permanent residence for a period of two years. In order to become a lawful permanent resident, the immigrant investor must file a Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions, along with any necessary supporting documents. This petition must be filed within the ninety (90) day period immediately prior to the second year anniversary of the investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
Please feel free to browse through the resources we have made available to learn more about the EB-5 program.
If you think EB-5 is the option for you, or if you want to explore alternative immigration options, you should schedule a consultation with us.
A consultation allows us to review all of the facts in your situation, after which we can present you with all of the options you have.