The US government created the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to stimulate the American economy. This is done through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. It was introduced as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 and acts as a method of obtaining a US green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the US.
Here’s a closer look at the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
- Minimum Investment: The initial investment required for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is US$800,000. This is the minimum amount of capital the applicant must invest in a new commercial enterprise (NCE) in the US.
- Residency Requirement: Applicants are required to reside in the US for at least 18 months, which does not necessarily need to be continuous but should add up to 18 months during the two-year period of conditional residency. Subsequently, the mandate allows the applicant to showcase their commitment to residing in the country.
- Citizenship: After maintaining the status of a permanent resident (green card holder) for five years, EB-5 visa holders are eligible to apply for US citizenship. This period includes the time spent as a conditional resident and as a lawful permanent resident.
- Processing Time: The processing time for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is at least 18 months. The processing time is only an estimate and can vary depending on several factors, including the volume of applications being processed, the complexity of the applicant’s case, and the capacity of the adjudicating office among others. During this time, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services reviews the application, processes the investment, and verifies that job
creation requirements have been or will be met.
Who can apply to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?
You can apply for permanent residency for yourself, your spouse or any unmarried children under the age of 21.
How to qualify for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
To qualify for this visa, an individual must invest a minimum of US$800,000 in a new commercial enterprise and create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying US workers. The Program has
become a popular pathway for affluent individuals worldwide seeking to immigrate to the US.
To qualify for the EB-5 Program, immigrants can invest in a job-creating business, through regional centers approved by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to promote economic growth in designated areas.
Notably, the EB-5 visa is not limited to any specific industry or sector which allows investors the flexibility to invest in a field they are comfortable with or in which they have prior business experience.
Whether it is real estate, retail, manufacturing, agriculture, or technology, the investment opportunities are vast and varied, making the program adaptable to individual business preferences.
The only requirement is to create new W2 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers, ensuring the investment contributes positively to the US economy.
Benefits of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
The right to live, work, and study in the US
One of the most significant benefits of the EB-5 Visa is the freedom it grants to live, work, and study anywhere in the US. There are no restrictions on employment type or location. Visa holders can engage in any kind of work they desire as long as it is lawful. Additionally, this freedom also extends to the visa holder’s spouse and unmarried children aged under 21, granting the entire family the flexibility to pursue their individual interests and opportunities in the US.
EB-5 visa holders also gain access to comprehensive US banking services. They can open bank accounts in various currencies, get approved for loans, and facilitate international transactions with much ease. Accessibility simplifies financial management, particularly for those with international business interests.
US education and healthcare
The EB-5 visa also provides access to the US education system, including the ability to enroll children in US schools for free. After graduation, these students are eligible to compete for scholarships at US universities. Additionally, EB-5 visa holders have access to high-quality US healthcare services.
Investment returns possible after five to seven years
The funds invested in the EB-5 program are not a fee; they are an investment that can potentially yield returns. Futhermore; after a period of five to seven years, the investment can start generating returns, depending on
the success of the enterprise. The timeframe aligns with the path to citizenship, providing a potential financial benefit alongside immigration benefits.
The ability to settle anywhere in the US
Once EB-5 visa holders obtain permanent resident status, they have the flexibility to reside anywhere within the US. This means they are not bound by geographic restrictions. They can choose to live in any state or city that suits their personal preferences, career opportunities, or lifestyle choices. This freedom to choose one’s place of residence enables individuals and their families to fully integrate and make the most of their life in the US.
The opportunity for expediting
Investors may choose to invest in EB-5 projects that have been granted expedited processing by USCIS in projects related to urgent humanitarian crisis.
Investing in an EB5 Rural TEA Project prioritises the processing of EB-5 petitions under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) of 2022.
Rural EB5 Project investors are allotted 20% EB-5 visa set-asides out of the total annual allotment of 10,000 EB-5 visas.
What are the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requirements?
1. Age Requirement:
Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
2. Financial Stability
Potential investors need to be financially stable. This means they must have sufficient funds to make the required investment and support themselves and their families in the US without relying on public benefits.
3. Clean Criminal Record
The applicant must not have a criminal record. This includes not being involved in any criminal activities that might make them inadmissible under US immigration law.
4. Family Eligibility
The main applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also eligible to apply for the EB-5 visa, which means they can obtain green cards and eventually US citizenship along with the primary applicant.
5. Sources of Investment Funds
Applicants must demonstrate that the funds used for the investment were obtained legally. This could be through salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means. The USCIS requires extensive documentation to verify the legal sources of the funds involved.
6. Involvement in the Business
The investor must be involved in the management of the new commercial enterprise, either through day-to-day managerial control or policy formulation. Passive investments do not qualify.
7. New Commercial Enterprise
The investment must be made in a “new commercial enterprise” which is a business that was established after Nov 29, 1990, or established on or before Nov 29, 1990, that is purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganised such that a new commercial enterprise results, or expanded through the investment so that a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs.
8. Maintain Investment During Conditional Residence Period
Significantly – investors must keep their capital investment “at risk” in the commercial enterprise throughout the two-year period of conditional residency. Accordingly, the investment must remain in place and the enterprise must remain in operation. Additionally, job creation requirements need to continue being met.
A minimum investment of US$800,000 is required if the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which is either a rural area or an area experiencing high unemployment.
Job Creation: Regardless of the investment option chosen, the EB-5 investor must create or preserve at least ten fulltime jobs for qualifying US workers within two years of their investment
For the full application process and more information, you can download the EB-5 brochure below:
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