The EB-5 visa, also known as the Immigrant Investor Program, is an excellent option for alien entrepreneurs looking to immigrate to the United States on a permanent basis. Unfortunately, not all immigrant investors will qualify for this program. It’s important to understand the EB-5 visa requirements before starting the process.
Here are the basic requirements for EB-5 Visa:
- $1 million investment in a new business or commercial venture.
- This business must employ at least 10 full-time U.S. workers within two years of approval.
Please keep in mind that there are some qualifications, as well as exceptions, to the workers and investment requirements. Each will be broken down into further detail below.
Investment Structure Requirement
You may be eligible for an EB-5 visa if you have invested in or are actively in the process of investing into one of these types of for-profit businesses:
- A new commercial enterprise (created after November 29, 1990);
- An enterprise which will expand to 140% of pre-investment net worth or number of employees, or;
- A troubled business in which jobs will be preserved.
Capital Investment Thresholds
An EB-5 investor’s standard capital investment requirement is $1 million. There is, however, an exception that cuts the investment threshold in half. If the investment is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which is a designated high unemployment area or a rural area, then the minimal capital investment is $500,000. Targeted Employment Areas are areas with an unemployment rate at least 150% of the national average. Rural areas are defined as areas outside a municipality with a population of 20,000 or more and outside a metropolitan statistical area. Congress reserves 3,000 of the 10,000 EB-5 visas each year for petitioners who invest in TEAs.
Job Creation Requirements
EB-5 investors have to prove that their capital investment will create and/or preserve at least ten full-time domestic jobs for qualified U.S. workers (U.S. citizens, LPR, asylees or refugees). Keep in mind that these 10 jobs cannot include any jobs that were created for non-qualifed workers and/or members of the EB-5 investor’s family. Once again, a minor exception to the rule involves Regional Centers, which can sometimes allow for less restrictive job creation requirements. You’ll want to check with USCIS or an attorney for more further clarification of the job requirements for a Regional Center. Congress reserves another 3,000 of the annually allotted 10,000 EB-5 visas to Regional Center investments.
What Are Regional Centers?
Instead of defined geographic areas, Regional Centers are actually business entities that coordinate foreign investment within that area in compliance with the EB-5 statutory, regulatory and precedent decision framework. Regional Centers do not own any sole jurisdiction over their geographic region, but they are all required to do the following:
- Focus on a contiguous geographical region of the United States;
- Promote economic growth through (a) increased export sales; (b) regional productivity improvement; (c) job creation; and (d) increased domestic capital investment.
- Demonstrate in verifiable detail how jobs will be created, either indirectly or directly.
- Commit sufficient funds to promote and oversee capital investment opportunities in the Regional Center.