Frequently Asked Questions
What is an EB-5 Green Card?
The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program was initiated with the passing of the Immigrant and National Act in 1990, attracting foreign capital to the US. Each year, 10,000 EB-5 green cards are available, with 5,000 of those reserved for qualifying investors participating in an EB-5 Regional Center Program, targeting high-unemployment areas across the United States. In an attempt to diversify foreign investors, green cards are allocated to participating countries at 7% (70 green cards) per country. Applications are accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis, with no waiting lists or quotas.
Who qualifies for an EB-5 Green Card?
Qualified EB-5 candidates, along with their spouses and any unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of filing the I-526 petition filing are eligible if they invest either $1,000,000 or $500,000 USD depending on the program selected. The EB-5 program will be ideal for you if:
1. You are a foreign national investor in a U.S. business who does not want to be active in the business
2. You are an entrepreneur, including if you don’t qualify for an E-2 visa.
3. You are retired
4. You are an F-1 student who wants to start a business
5. You are a parent seeking U.S. education for your child(ren), but do not want to be actively managing a business
6. You are the CEO/Manager of a U.S. company and are not an L-1 transferee
7. You are an investor from a non-treaty country
8. You are an individual owner of a non-U.S. business who wants to set up a U.S. business but intend on closing the foreign business
9. You are a doctor who has not passed the USMLE 1, 2, and 3
EB-5 investors have many reasons for seeking permanent residency in the United States, beyond those listed above, through the EB-5 Program. Obtaining an EB-5 visa through a Regional Center Program provides these investors with the opportunity to live and work permanently and flexibly in the U.S. if they so desire.
What is the “General” EB-5 Program:
1. Invest in a new commercial enterprise
2. Invest at least $1,000,000 into the business ($500,000 in some cases); and
3. Create at least 10-full time jobs for U.S. workers
What are Regional Centers?
Regional Centers are entities, agencies, or organizations designated by the USCIS that focus on a specific geographic area within the United States in order to promote economic growth in that area. Most Regional Centers are in “targeted employment” areas, or areas where, at time of investment, the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national average, and thus require a lower up-front capital investment. Regional Centers do not guarantee profit or the return of an investor’s principal investment.
What are the Benefits of Using Regional Center Projects?
There are numerous benefits to using the EB-5 Regional Center Program versus the General EB-5 Program. These include:
1. The EB-5 RC Program does not require that it directly creates 10 U.S. jobs. Instead, it is enough if 10 or more jobs will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment.
2. The RC Program aids foreign investors by directing and professionally managing their investment in the designated business and geographic focus of the Regional Center.
3. The application of the Regional Center program is easier, faster, and less expensive for the investor.
4. The investor can live and work anywhere in the U.S.
5. The investor can be retired
How long does it take to get an EB-5 Green Card?
How much needs to be invested to get an EB-5 Green Card?
The general EB-5 investment requires a minimum up-front investment of $1,000,000 USD. Businesses in areas where the unemployment rate, at time of investment, is 1.5 times the national average, a minimum up-front investment of $500,000 USD is required. The same applies for rural areas, which are defined as an area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.
What qualifies as capital in investments for an EB-5 green card?
Various forms of capital include:
4. Other Tangible Property
5. Cash Equivalents
6. Indebtedness secured by assets owned by the investor
a. The investor must be personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not to be used to secure any of the indebtedness
All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in USD, and cannot be borrowed. Assets acquired by unlawful means, directly or indirectly, shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
What are the job creation requirements to qualify for an EB-5 Green Card?
In order to qualify for an EB-5 Green Card, investors must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years, or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period, of the investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
Alternatively, investors must create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs in a “troubled business”. Direct jobs are defined as jobs that are identifiable for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital. Indirect jobs are those shown to have been created collaterally as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a Regional Center by an EB-5 investor. The indirect job calculation only applies if the investor is affiliated with a Regional Center.
A “troubled business” is defined by the USCIS as a business that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12 or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the investor’s form I-526.The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’ net worth prior to the loss.
What are the steps to getting an EB-5 Green Card?