Own Your Business in America
EB-5 VISA Information
for Foreigner Investors
Are YOU Interested in Becoming a Permanent Resident and eventually a Citizen of the United States? Are YOU financially able to invest in or buy a Business, Enterprise, Company, Corporation, or Venture?
A foreigner interested in becoming a Permanent Resident and eventually a Citizen of the United States, who is willing to invest a specific amount of wealth in a commercial for-profit enterprise, can obtain this status relatively quickly via an EB-5 Visa. You don't have to run the business unless you want to. An investment is all that's needed. The type of business can be a start-up or an existing established enterprise. It can be in any industry, retailing, wholesaling, a franchise, a real estate project, or renovating and refurbishing properties. The choices have almost no limits and groups can form a partnerships as long as each individual investor meets the legal requirements.
As with every U.S. Government program there are numerous details and nuances to consider. The following is a general summary of the requirements and procedures and is subject to change at any time by Congressional action. It is highly recommended that all applicants contact consultants and attorneys who are up-to-date experts on immigration visa law before investing any funds.
The EB-5 Visa was created by the Immigration Act of 1990. An EB-5 Visa permits a foreign entrepreneur (applicant, investor) and his or her family to reside in the United States while starting, managing, growing, or investing in a large scale business enterprise. The investor must demonstrate that the investment will benefit the United States economy. This federal program currently provides for 10,000 immigrant visas each year.
There are several advantages to obtaining an EB-5 Visa instead of other options that may lead to Permanent Residency (Green Card). It doesn't require the applicant to maintain an existing home country address. Another is the entrepreneurial person doesn't have to prove extraordinary business skills and abilities. A third advantage is no labor certification process is needed to determine a shortage of U.S. workers in the potential field or for specific jobs.
To qualify for an EB-5 Visa, the entrepreneur applicant must invest a minimum of $500,000 USD in a designated Regional Center or Targeted Employment Area (TEA - high unemployment area) or a minimum of $1,000,000 USD anywhere in the United States. In either case, the investment must create full-time employment for at least 10 workers, not including the applicant and dependents, and must be a For-Profit business entity.
The EB-5 investment can be cash, inventory, equipment, secured indebtedness, tangible property, or cash equivalents. They must have values based on U.S. Dollar fair market value at the time of the application.
EB-5 Visa applicants can invest in the following types of business structures: Corporations, Limited or General Partnerships, Sole Proprietorships, Business Trusts, or other privately or publicly owned enterprises.
In a designated Regional Center, the applicant invests the money into a public or private third party-managed investment vehicle or enterprise that actually creates the jobs. There are usually management fees involved in this type of investment but the applicant doesn't have hands on responsibility to run the business. The commercial enterprise is already set up and operating. The 10 full-time jobs usually must exist directly within the enterprise, but sometimes can be indirect jobs created in other businesses that supply goods or services to the EB-5 project or induced jobs created within the community as a result of income spent by the EB-5 project employees.
In a Targeted Employment Area, the applicant can either create a new (original) business (commercial enterprise) from scratch, invest in an existing business that is troubled or in danger of closing and restructure or reorganize it, or invest in an existing business for the purpose of expanding it. In this case the investor must set up the business independently. The 10 full-time jobs must exist directly within the enterprise.
The entrepreneur must begin by selecting a Regional Program or Targeted Employment Area, paying fees, and transferring the investment funds. Each Regional Center has different procedures for getting started when an applicant is approved and refunding monies if an applicant is denied.
After the program requirements and payments made, the applicant will submit a Form I-526 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Approval can take between 9 and 15 months. Then the investor must undergo a review of his or her medical, criminal, and immigration history. This takes place in the U.S. Embassy in the applicant's home country.
EB-5 Visas are granted to investors, their spouses, and their dependents on a 2 year conditional basis. The applicant must enter the United States within 180 days of issuance of the visa. The 10 full-time job requirement must be accomplished within this 2 year window.
After 2 years, a determination is made to confirm that the investment has met the criteria and has been properly documented. Extensive evidence is required to prove compliance for the commercial enterprise, proper capital (funds) were invested (risked), the business earned money legally, at least 10 full-time jobs were created, the investor intends to remain in the U.S., and the investor will stay involved and engaged in the management of the business or investment vehicle. Then a Permanent Residency (Green Card) is granted. An additional 5 years must pass before the applicant can apply for U.S. Citizenship.
As with all investments there is risk involved. Not all businesses thrive and survive. The foreigner must be able to accept the fact that an EB-5 Visa is only viable for those who have the wealth to risk and the motivation to succeed.
Information on this website is NOT intended to be advice.
Every person's situation is unique.