EB-5 Program and EB-5 Process Guide

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The EB-5 Program is also known as the Immigrant Investor Program; Congress created this program in 1990 to stimulate the US economy via job creation and capital investment by immigrant investors.  Through this program, immigrant investors create new enterprises or invest in troubled businesses.  Annually, there are 10,000 EB-5 Program Visas available.  Three thousand of these at a minimum are set aside for investors in Regional Centers; these centers are designated by the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

EB-5 Program Requirements

The EB-5 Basic Program requires that the immigrant investor make a capital investment of $900,000 or $1.8 million. Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is a rural area or a place of unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average where the investment required is the lower of the above 2 numbers.

The Regional Center Pilot Program requires the investor to submit a proposal to USCIS for approval. The proposal must show how the Regional Center will focus on a geographical region of the US and promote economic growth there; must verify in detail how jobs will be created either directly or indirectly through capital investments; must show the amount and source of the capital committed to the regional center; and must show how the regional center will positively impact the economy of the region or nation.

New commercial enterprises created under the EB-5 Program must create or preserve 10 full time direct or indirect jobs.  These jobs must go to qualified US workers within the 2 year conditional Green Card period. Direct jobs are those in the commercial enterprise within the enterprise that the EB-5 Visa-holding investor has invested his or her capital.  Indirect jobs, on the other hand, are those created as a result of the initial capital investment.  If the investor is affiliated with a regional center, he or she may use indirect jobs in order to fulfill the requirements of holding an EB-5 Visa.

How to apply to the EB-5 Program

In order to participate in the EB-5 Program, an investor must apply to the USCIS.  Among the documents required are immigration forms; business plans; and other supporting source of funds evidence. The initial application is the I-526 Petition. The target processing time for this form is 8 months. In order to apply to participate as a Regional Center, developers must submit a Form 1-924 (Application for Regional Center Under the Immigration Investor Pilot Program).

EB-5 Program Capital Investment Requirements

The capital investment requirements for the EB-5 Visa holder include cash, inventory, equipment, and other assets owned by the immigrant investor.  All capital is valued in fair-market US dollars.  Generally, the minimum qualifying investment is $1.8 million and cannot be borrowed.  For a targeted employment area (an area of high unemployment or a rural area), $900,000 US dollars is the minimum qualifying investment.

Under the EB-5 Program, immigrant investor visa holders are admitted to the US as a Conditional Permanent Residents.  The US government makes no guarantee that immigrant investor visa or EB-5 Visa holders will become non-conditional permanent residents.

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