The EB-5 category is a path to conditional residency in the United States for eligible investors and his or her dependents. The goal of Congress in creating this category was to attract investments in the U.S. and thereby also result in additional jobs for U.S. workers. 10,000 visas are available each year for this category.
An investor is someone who invests $1 million in a commercial enterprise that benefits the U.S. economy and creates a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for lawful U.S. workers. A person need only invest $500,000 if the commercial enterprise is in a targeted employment area.
Besides the financial commitment, a person seeking to become a permanent resident through his or her investment must participate in the management of the business, either through the exercise of day-to-day managerial control or through the development of corporate policies.
What type of investment is required?
There are several basic elements that an investment must meet in order to satisfy the EB-5 category requirements.
First, the amount of the investment varies somewhat depending on the location of the business and the unemployment rate in the area. Typically, the minimum investment is $1 million in areas of high employment, such as most metropolitan areas.
If a person makes an investment in an area that the government considers a “targeted area,” then the investment threshold is $500,000.
Second, regardless of the business location, the investment must create ten full-time jobs.
As with the E-2 treaty investor visa, the applicable regulations mandate that the investor put all of his or her investment at risk. The foreign national cannot fashion an arrangement that shelters him or her from the brunt of the business’ failure. The law also requires that the investor’s source of capital come from legitimate sources.
The foreign national must also assume an active role in an active business. In other words, merely investing capital into a business will not suffice. The investor must participate in the daily management activities or partake in the development of the business’ policies. Furthermore, the business itself must be an active business.
What status does an investor permanent resident receive?
If USCIS grants the application, the foreign national receives “conditional" residency in the U.S. A conditional resident must formally petition for removal of the conditions on his or her residence at the appropriate time.
USCIS will remove the conditions if the foreign national establishes that (i) the business is still viable, (2) the requisite amount of money was irrevocably committed to the enterprise, (3) ten U.S. jobs were created and still exist in the enterprise.
Investor visas are complicated and require the analysis and skilled navigation of an experienced immigration practitioner. Wilson Law Group encourages you to consult with the immigration attorneys to evaluate your particular situation and legal needs.