The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” was created by U.S. Congress in 1990 to stimulate the United States economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. Following growing rates of applications, there have been new regional centers cropping up rapidly to accommodate these investments.
The goal of EB-5 visa is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, both of which form important requirements for this visa. The investment must be in a new commercial enterprise (sole proprietorship, partnership, holding company, joint venture, corporation, or business trust among others). The crux of the requirements are the minimum qualifying investment of $1 million and the creation or preservation of at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years. The minimum investment may be $500,000 if the business is located in a Targeted Employment Area (high unemployment or rural area).
The procedure for all EB-5 cases requires that the investor submit an Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur to the USCIS. Immediately upon approval of the petition, the investor and his or her immediate family may apply for adjustment of status (Green Card application) if they are present in the U.S., or for immigrant visas if they are residing abroad. An EB-5 investor receives a two-year conditional Green Card and just before its expiration, the investor must submit a petition to remove the conditions, after which the USCIS issues a ten-year Green Card.
Formulating a compliant business plan is a crucial part of this process, and one which should be prepared with the help of an immigration attorney who will keep the EB-5 regulations in mind to ensure that the proper items are detailed in the business plan.
The EB-5 process is one of the more expensive routes to immigration, but is a way to avoid decade-long waiting times for immigrants who do not have an employer or immediate relative of a U.S. Citizen in the United States. As of October 10, 2013, the cost for this visa includes the following USCIS fees, in addition to attorney’s fees: ($1,500 for the Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur; $1070 for Adjustment of Status; and $3,750 for the Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Residence).
For investors who can afford this route, the EB-5 process is a rapid way to secure a Green Card if handled properly. The Grady Firm offers complimentary consultations to answer related questions. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (323) 450-9010, or fill out a Contact Request Form.
Don’t have a million dollars to invest? Consider the E-2 visa.
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Disclaimer: this material is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal, financial, tax, or accounting advice. It should not, and cannot, be used for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state, or local tax penalties.