For foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs. The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card). The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship. This article will discuss the EB-5 “million dollar visa” option. What may be surprising is that an investor can be eligible for this visa with only a $500,000 investment in a rural or targeted employment area.
Eligibility: Foreign nationals who invest (1) USD $1,000,000 in a new or failing US enterprise, or (2) at least USD $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area,” which is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate. The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within 2 years of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
Length of visa: Entrepreneurs and their families will receive a Conditional Green Card (Legal Permanent Residency) for the first 2 years, and must show the required job creation in order to remove the residency conditions. A Legal Permanent Resident based on entrepreneurship may apply for citizenship after 5 years as a Green Card holder.
Availability: 10,000 annually.
Deadlines: Apply for Permanent Residency within 2 years of investment; this is the fastest path to a Green Card other than marriage to a US citizen.
Filing Fees: $3,835 for (1) Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, (2) Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and (3) Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency; OR $6,230 to create and renew a Regional Center
Additional Fees: Approximately $70,000+ for a Compliant Business Plan, immigration attorney’s fees, securities attorney’s fees, economic feasibility study, and due diligence. Marketing fees and additional services are extra.
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs (35+ hours per week) 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 admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
- Create or preserve 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 (i.e. construction jobs). A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a Regional Center.
Typical types of EB-5 investments: hotels, mixed-use projects, assisted living facilities, casinos, shopping centers.
Regional Centers: As an alternative to direct investment, a “Regional Center” is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. In more simple terms, a Regional Center is an area designated by the USCIS as eligible to receive immigrant investor capital. The major advantage for regional center designation is that the regional center can take advantage of indirect job creation.
Think you might qualify for an EB-5 visa?
The Grady Firm attorneys can assist with preparing the immigration application, business advising, and corporate setup for the new business entity. To schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys, call (323) 450-9010, or fill out a Contact Request Form.
Don’t have $500,000 to $1 million to invest? Learn about the E-2 visa here.