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What Is The EB5 Visa Program And Its Requirements?

The United States Congress created the EB5 visa program to spur the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors. Also known as the Immigrant Investor Program, EB5 was first enacted in 1992 and has undergone periodic re-authorization. There are also certain EB5 visas that are set aside for investors in USCIS designated Regional Centers (RCs) based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

There are minimum investment amounts to participate in the EB5 visa program, as well as commercial investment requirements. However, the jobs and benefits associated with this visa program are well worth the investment.

Minimum investment amounts for the EB5 visa program

An EB5 visa program foreign investor must make a general investment of $1 million or more in a general employment area. An investment of $500,000 or more in a targeted employment area is also a minimum required amount for the EB5 program. The investor cannot borrow the funds to make the investment. Commonly targeted employment areas for the EB5 visa program are rural and have a high level of unemployment. To become a targeted area for the EB5 visa program, the unemployment rate must be at least 150 percent of the national rate. A rural area is defined as an area outside of a metropolitan statistical area. A rural area can also be outside of the bounds of a town or city with a minimum of 20,000 residents.

Commercial investments under the EB5 visa program

An EB5 visa program investor must choose a new commercial enterprise that was established after November 29, 1990. The existing business must also have been reconfigured in such a way that a new commercial enterprise grew from it and expanded via the investment. The required results are a forty percent increase in the net worth of the business or number of employees.

In order for the enterprise to be deemed commercial, there must be for-profit activity taking place to spur continual conduct of lawful business. Within the first two years that the foreign investor lives in the United States, he or she must create a minimum of ten full-time jobs. These jobs only count if they are given to qualified United States workers.

Jobs through the EB5 visa program

Direct jobs for the EB5 visa program are identifiable jobs for qualified employees within the commercial enterprise in which the foreign investor has invested.

Indirect jobs through the EB5 visa program are proven to have been created through an auxiliary means. These jobs can also have been provided through the capital used by the foreign investor in a commercial enterprise that has an affiliation with a regional center. An investor must be affiliated with a regional center to qualify for indirect job creation.

If the investor has invested in a troubled business, they can also receive credit for preserving direct or indirect jobs, as opposed to creating new jobs.

Benefits of the EB5 visa program

A foreign investor qualifies for an EB5 visa only after they have completed all of the requirements. After the investor receives the EB5 visa, he or she can apply for a U.S. green card. Once the conditional residency permit or short-term green card has been issued, the immigrant has approximately two years to apply for permanent residency status. The EB5 visa program investor doesn’t need a sponsor to complete this process, but will need to go to any approved regional center.

After someone has received approval as an EB5 visa program investor, their spouse and any unmarried children aged 21 or younger will be issued green cards. With the green cards, the investor and his family are free to travel outside of the United States as they wish. While traveling, the investor will be required to present the EB5 visa and other key documentation, such as passports.

EB5 program investors aren’t required to read or speak English, have a minimum education level, or have any level of experience in the business industry. EB5 investors are also not required to be involved with their investment businesses on a daily basis.

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