The EB-5 Visa Allows You to Live Permanently in the United States
The U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (“EB-5 Program”) is the most flexible immigration program in the world. The U.S. has no requirements with respect to age, business training and experience or language skills. Permanent residents need not be continuously and physically present in the United States, and they can maintain business and professional relations in their country of origin.
EB5 Visa Direct Investment
For those foreign investors who are interested in immigrating and investing in real estate or opening their own business, one of the best visa options available is known as the Employment Based Fifth Preference, or EB-5 visa. This visa permits qualified investors who meet a certain minimum threshold investment level to immigrate to the United States.
Why Choose an EB-5 Visa?
While there are many visa options available to foreign investors, such as visitor for business (B-1), treaty investor (E-2), or intra-company transfers (L-1), these options are all for “nonimmigrant” visas. In other words, they authorize a temporary stay and carry with them many restrictions. For instance, eligibility for the E-2 nonimmigrant investor visa is restricted to nationals of certain treaty countries. In contrast, the EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa, open to all nationalities, granting the qualifying applicant permanent resident status, commonly known as having a “Green Card“.
Permanent resident status carries with it many benefits of which investors would want to avail themselves. A Green Card holder can petition for permanent resident status for his spouse and children under the age of 21. It removes employment restrictions, allowing the investor to work in any field he desires, as well as making him eligible for social security upon retirement. It makes international travel simpler, as an I-94 is no longer required upon entering the country. It allows foreign national homeowners to apply for homestead exemption and realize significant tax savings. Essentially, becoming a permanent resident affords the Green Card holder all the rights and benefits of American citizenship except voting rights. If the investor desires, permanent residents may apply for naturalization (citizenship) after five years.
The EB-5 Regular Program (Individual Investment)
The Regular Program has three basic requirements: (1) investment in a “new commercial enterprise” (2) of at least $1,000,000 (or $500,000 in certain cases, discussed below) (3) that results in the creation of at least 10 new full-time jobs. Additionally, the investor is required to take an active enough role in the business that he has at least a policy-making position.
The $1,000,000 EB-5 Direct Investor Visa
Traditionally, the EB-5 visa has been known as the “Million Dollar Investor Visa.” To qualify for this visa, an investor must contribute at least $1,000,000 in capital to the business in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, and other tangible property. Loans do not qualify unless they are secured by assets owned by the investor (not the business), who is personally and primarily liable for the debts.
The investment must also be in a “new commercial enterprise.” Although the investor is free to invest in a company that was only very recently started or establish his own, any business formed after November 29, 1990 qualifies. Furthermore, the prospective immigrant may choose to invest in a business that has been substantially restructured since November 29, 1990, so long as that restructuring did not create a net loss of employment. Businesses substantially expanded after November 29, 1990 qualify if their net worth or employment have increased by at least 40%. If the investor is concerned about the business reaching this 40% minimum requirement, he can include the capital contributed by other investors, even if they are already permanent residents or citizens. Finally, there is no limit to the number of EB5 direct investment partners on any given new commercial venture, as long as each $1,000,000.00 investment results in the creation of at least 10 new full-time jobs. Therefore a group of foreign investors are allowed to partner in a new commercial venture.
The final requirement is the creation of 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens or immigrant workers (not including the investor and his immediate family). These jobs must be directly created as a result of the investment. The only exception to this requirement is if the company is considered a “troubled business,” one experiencing a net loss for one or two years of more than 20% of its net worth.
The $500,000 EB-5 Direct Investor Visa
The Regular Program also includes a $500,000 investment option, provided the investment is in a “targeted employment area.”
There are two different qualifications for targeted employment areas. Investors can either choose to create jobs in a rural area, which can be anywhere outside of a city with a population of 20,000 or more or outside of a metropolitan statistical area, or they can invest in a business in an area with high unemployment (at least 150% the national average).
Advantages Of Pursuing A Direct EB-5 Project
A business set up as a Direct EB-5 project by a qualified attorney will have a significantly higher chance of approval than most Regional Centers.
You can move forward with your project more quickly and avoid delays.
Applications of individual investors can be submitted to USCIS more expediently and thus investors will not have to wait as long for approval.
The set up of an EB-5 Direct Project requires less work than that of a Regional Center. Thus, you will pay less in start-up costs and attorney’s fees.
Similarities Between Regional Centers and Direct EB-5 Projects:
Both have minimum job creation requirements. Each investor must create 10 jobs. For Regional Centers both direct and indirect jobs may be counted. In the case of Direct EB-5 Projects the business must provide 10 full time jobs at all times the business is in operation.
Differences Between Regional Centers and Direct EB-5 Projects:
Process: There are more formal steps to creating a Regional Center than a Direct EB-5 Project.
Structure: Regional Centers can house multiple projects. Direct EB-5 Projects must be formed separately.
Investor Participation: The Regional Center structure requires the least amount of investor participation. Direct Projects require more hands on participation from investors, however a skilled attorney can help you minimize their required involvement through the careful definition of the role they are to play in the business.
The EB5 Visa program however, is a complex application process and the most important step is finding a qualified, experienced team to work with throughout to ensure that you achieve your immigration goals and obtain a green card to immigrate to the USA.
Immigration and relocation can be expensive processes and require detailed pre-planning to ensure that all of your financial, tax, and immigration goals are accomplished.
We are able to assist you in virtually every facet of your relocation, from assisting in your pre-immigration financial planning to assisting in setting up your new commercial venture to making informed decisions about schools for your children.
We provide the consultation, advice, education and assistance you’ll require throughout the relocation process. Our team of specialists includes expert EB5 immigration attorneys, relocation wealth management finance specialists, real estate specialists and title, tax and securities attorneys.
This allows us to provide you with the pros and cons of using the EB5 visa program as a route to US immigration.
To read more about why EB-5 Direct may be a better option to consider CLICK HERE.
Our fee for an initial consultation is US$200. Which will be credited to our legal fee in the event that you retain us to assist with an EB-5 case on your behalf.