EB-5 Visa

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The Immigrant Investor Program, which is also known as “EB-5 Visa,” is a program administered by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This program was created by Congress in 1992 and designed to stimulate the US economy via capital investment by foreign investors and job creation.

EB-5 Visas pilot program to establish regional centers started in 1992 and has since been reauthorized on a regular basis.  Certain of these visas are designated for investors in Regional Centers.  Under the USCIS rules, all investors with an EB-5 Visa must be investors in a new commercial enterprise.  In order to be considered a new commercial enterprise, these enterprises must have been either established after November 29, 1990 or, if established on or before November 29, 1990, the investors must have purchased the existing business and reorganized it so that a new commercial enterprise results or has expanded so that there is a 40 % increase in the net worth or number of employees.

What is a commercial enterprise?

A commercial enterprise, for the purposes of an EB-5 Visa, means a for-profit activity established to conduct lawful business.  This can include a limited or general partnership; a sole proprietorship; a corporation; a joint venture; or a business trust or other publicly or privately owned entity.  Non-commercial activities, such as the ownership and operation of a personal residence, are not included in this definition.

What are the Job Creation Requirements for an EB-5 Visa?

  • In order to qualify for an EB-5 Visa, immigrant investors must create or preserve a minimum of 10 full-time jobs by qualifying United States workers within 2 years of admission to the US.  EB-5 investors enter the US as conditional permanent residents.  Another requirement is to create or preserve direct or indirect jobs.  Direct jobs are those in the commercial enterprise within the enterprise that the EB-5 Visa-holding investor has invested his or her capital. 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.
  • Investors may also be credited with the preservation of jobs within a troubled business.  A troubled business is one that has existed at least 2 years and had incurred a net loss in the 12 or 24 month period prior to the investor’s filing a Form I-526.
  • For the purposes of EB-5 Visas, a qualified employee is defined as a US citizen, permanent US resident, or other immigrant who is qualified to work in the US.  This means that the worker cannot be a refugee, an asylee, be under suspension of deportation.
  • Full time employment means working at least 35 hours a week, but a job-sharing arrangement in which two workers meet the requirements of a full-time job is acceptable.

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.  For a targeted employment area (an area of high unemployment or a rural area), $900,000 US dollars is the minimum qualifying investment.

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