The EB-5 visa (Green Card through investment) program was established in 1990 under the U.S. immigration law to facilitate the infusion of foreign capital in the U.S. economy.
Up to 10,000 Green Cards may be authorized each year for eligible entrepreneurs and their family members. According to the official statistics, the number of investors applying for a Green Card had been growing every year.
Despite the growing demand, the number of available visas has never been reached until this year. In August of 2014, Chinese investors reached the limit of the EB-5 visas available to them; however, the rest of the foreign investors were not affected and could continue to receive their Green Cards.
If you are interested in obtaining a Green Card for yourself and your family members, we will help you to apply for your EB-5 investment Green Card if you can create your own enterprise, invest into the existing enterprise (under certain circumstances) or invest in a Regional Center.
An investor who invests in a new commercial enterprise and creates (or preserves) permanent jobs can qualify under this category.
I. Capital Investment requirement
- In general, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1,000,000, or
- The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
In addition to or instead of cash, you can bring other forms of capital such as equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by you, provided that you are personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness.
II. New commercial enterprise requirement
Date of establishment:
- Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
- Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
- Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
- Any for-profit activity for conducting lawful business
Form of organization
- A sole proprietorship
- Partnership (whether limited or general)
- Holding company
- Joint venture
- Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned
III. Job creation requirement
- Create at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s receipt of the Green Card.
- Create either direct or indirect jobs:
- Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.
- Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor.
An investor can also be credited with preservation of the existing full-time jobs if invested in a troubled business.
After the first two years, you may apply to remove conditions from your initial 2-year conditional Green Card. If you had fulfil the above-referenced requirements, the U.S. Immigration Services will issue you and your family members permanent Green Cards.
If you do not have a business experience or a desire to operate a business in the United States, you can invest through one of the Regional Centers designated by the U.S. Immigration Services based on proposals for promoting economic growth. In most cases, $500,000 cash investment is sufficient to qualify.
Regional Centers will manage your investment for you and will created the required 10 full-time jobs. Each of the Regional Centers offers different investment projects. Typically, they include land development projects, building commercial real estate, operating various businesses, lending funds to other growing businesses, etc.
In most cases, you are required to keep your investment with the Regional Center for 5 years. Although, no Regional Center can guarantee you return of your investments (the U.S. law requires for the EB-5 investments to be “at risk”), some Regional Centers will pay you a small interest or offer you some equity in the project.
You should be very careful when choosing a Regional Center. Every year, many new Regional Centers register with the USCIS. As of June 2, 2014, USCIS had approved approximately 579 regional centers.
According to the USCIS, its approval of any EB-5 Regional Center application does not in any way:
- Constitute the USCIS endorsement of the activities of that Regional Center;
- Guarantee compliance with U.S. securities laws; or
- Minimize or eliminate risk to the investor.
It means, that not every registered Regional Center can obtain a Green Card for you. Moreover, there are have been cases of fraudulent schemes targeting foreign EB-5 investors.
That is why, it is important to consult with an attorney prior to making an investment decision. We work only with the Regional Centers that have a good history of successfully completed projects and a proven record of obtaining Green Cards for their investors.
If you would like to invest in your own commercial enterprise or to learn more about EB-5 investment opportunities that are available through the Regional Centers, please call our office or complete the contact form on the right to schedule a consultation with an EB-5 investment attorney in Los Angeles.