Immigrant Investor

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Many people may not be aware that immigrant investors who qualify can enter the US as Conditional Permanent Residents.  This immigration status is made possible through the EB-5 Program, which is also known as the Immigrant Investor Program.  The program requires that specific requirements be met and that the visa be renewed before its expiration.

Created by Congress in 1992, this program was designed 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 as a minimum are set aside for investors in Regional Centers; these centers are designated by the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Basics of Becoming an Immigrant Investor

In order to take advantage of this investment immigration opportunity, the immigrant investor must make a capital investment of $900,000 or $1.8 million.  If in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which is a rural area or a place of unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average, then the investment required is the lower of the above 2 numbers.

Within 2 years of being approved for an EB-5 Visa, the immigrant investor’s enterprise must create or preserve 10 full time direct or indirect jobs, and the jobs must go to qualified US workers.  Direct jobs are created within the commercial enterprise that the investment immigrant has invested capital.  Indirect jobs are created only in a regional center.

Each immigrant investor visa holder must be active in the company’s management.  Even though a number of applicants can join together to create or expand a US company, and each investor may qualify for the EB-5 visa, each applicant’s individual investment must meet the minimum qualifying amount. Each immigrant investor is also separately responsible for meeting the job creation requirement.

When the 2 year conditional E5 visa is close to expiration, the immigrant investor must apply for a permanent visa.  If the investor fails to renew the 2 year visa, though, he or she will be considered an illegal alien.  The US government makes no guarantee that the visa holder will obtain resident alien or any other immigration status.

Once the immigrant investor has applied for the EB-5 visa, he or she must wait for its approval by the USCIS.  Until it is approved, the investor cannot work at his or her business.  Working without an approved visa may result in the visa application being denied or in the investor having to return to his or her home country.

Immigrant investors who are interested in applying for this visa status may find that consulting a professional immigration attorney is the best course of action.  The services of such a professional can assist the investor in obtaining and completing the necessary paperwork and making the right decisions as they relate to how the business is run in compliance with the EB-5 regulations.

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