IMPORTANT NEWS: The EB5 program was set to expire on December 11, 2015. However, it was announced by Congressional leaders that the EB-5 program will be extended, without changes, through the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2016). One of the most important changes proposed by US legislators is an increase in the required capital investment. Currently, investors can invest either $500,000 USD if invested in a Regional Center project in a targeted employment area or individually in a targeted employment area or $1M USD if the investment occurs outside a targeted employment area. The proposed increase currently in analysis is somewhere in the range of $800,000 USD to $1.2M USD. We encourage potential EB5 investors to contact us as soon as possible to explore EB5 and determine if this is their best option for permanent residency before any significant changes and increases go into effect.
GREEN CARD THROUGH INVESTMENT AND JOB CREATION-EB5
In 1990, Congress created the employment based 5th preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category. The EB-5 offers 10,000 “green cards” (permanent resident status) annually to immigrants who invest in U.S. businesses that benefit the economy and create or save jobs. While the normal required minimum investment is $1 million, that amount is reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a high unemployment area or targeted employment area ( “TEA”).
The investor may invest in EB5 directly or indirectly through the Pilot Program legislation. In the case of “direct” EB5, the investor establishes a new commercial enterprise in the United States and invests a minimum of $500,000 USD or $1M USD, depending on whether the enterprises will create American jobs in a targeted employment area, a qualified rural area or not. The investor must also develop and direct personally the US enterprise and is personally responsible for the US job creation of 10 direct jobs per qualified investment. Under this direct option, the investor can also acquire an existing business, invest new capital and create the 10 jobs, however, this option is subject to additional requirements.
In the “indirect” EB5 option, the investor can invest through a USCIS approved EB5 Regional Center into a development project that is EB5 qualified. This option is the most popular option in the EB5 world. There are important reasons for the popularity. First, Regional Centers are abundant and currently exceed 1000 approved Regional Centers with thousands of EB5 projects to chose from giving investors many investment options. Second, Regional Centers receive benefits not otherwise available to direct investors. Regional Centers can pool investors into groups to provide financing to developers at reasonable rates. Regional Centers also benefit from job creation that is indirect. Direct investors are required to create direct, full-time employment. And more…
Either way, direct or indirect, the investor must present a fully supported and documented application to USCIS in Form I-526, with adequate proof that not only that the investor made the required capital investment into a EB5 project, but that the investment will generate the requited 10 jobs and that the investment funds originate from lawful sources or activities, among other things.
After the investor moves forward with the investment and is approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration services (USCIS), s/he obtains conditional residence status for two years. After two years, if s/he proves that s/he maintained the investment and created or saved at least ten jobs, the conditional status will be removed and s/he will become a full-fledged lawful permanent resident.
As stated, the EB-5 program is divided into two major areas:
Investment Green Card (Traditional Direct Program)
- Permanent Residency/Green Card program.
- Investor must establish a US based business that is not passive income. (can purchase an existing business subject to additional requirements)
- The Investment must be at least USD $1million or USD $500,000 in qualifying locations. Investor must personally direct and manage the US business.
- The Investment must create at least 10 new U.S jobs.
- Conditional Green Card will be issued to the investor, spouse and children Under 21.
- Processing Time: 10-12 months.
EB-5 Investment Green Card (Regional Center Program)
Regional Centers are Private Businesses that allow multiple investors to assist them in expanding their Business objectives. Regional Centers are generally low in risk and will afford the investor a reasonable return on investment and generally the ability to re-coupe the investment in 5 to 6 years.
- Permanent Residency/Green Card program.
- Investor must generally invest $500,000 into a certified Regional Center.
- Investor does not need to personally manage the day-to-day business and investor need not reside near location of the Business.
- A Conditional Green Card will be issued to the investor, spouse and children Under 21.
- Processing Time:10-12 months
Regional Centers are numerous. There are approximately 1000 designated Regional Centers. Regional Centers compete strongly for foreign national investment funds. It is Critical that Investors retain a knowledgeable law firm to represent THEM when analyzing the Regional Center Options. WE DO NOT REPRESENT REGIONAL CENTERS, WE REPRESENT IMMIGRANT INVESTORS.