Overseen by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) provides foreign nationals the opportunity to become conditional residents for a period of two years upon making an investment of $1 million, or $500,000 in a designated Targeted Employment Area, in a new commercial enterprise.
Each unit of investment must create at least ten new, direct or indirect jobs for U.S. workers. Once the job creation requirement is met, the conditions are removed and investors may obtain permanent residency. For official information regarding the EB-5 Program, please visit EB-5 Immigrant Investor web page.
Obtaining permanent resident status (the “Green Card”) in the United States is generally restricted to three paths: Employment-based, Family-based and Entrepreneur-based programs. Because the Family and Employment-based options are subject to long visa backlogs and other major obstacles, the EB-5 “Immigrant Entrepreneur” program has become one of the fastest and most reliable visa options offered by the United States.
With relaxed eligibility qualifications and a special reserve of 10,000 visas annually, the EB-5 program opens the door to permanent resident status to retirees, entrepreneurs, students, business owners, professionals and more. The EB-5 immigrant visa classification has many street names: such as the “Entrepreneur” visa, “Investor” visa and the “Jobs Creation” visa.
Congress created this program to encourage infusion of foreign capital to benefit the U.S. economy and exchange U.S. residency for job creation benefiting America workers. In simplest terms, the EB-5 program works like this:
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will issue provisional visas to foreign entrepreneurs who seek to create at least 10 full-time, direct jobs for American workers.
- Every entrepreneur must create 10 new, full-time and permanent jobs in an America business (“new commercial enterprise”) that will remain in place during a 24-month period. That means the commercial enterprise will be required to provide to the USCIS payroll, tax and accounting records proving that he directly employs 10 workers. In addition, by “directly” employs the USCIS means these must be W-2 employees of the entrepreneur or his company.
- If the Immigrant fails to prove that he has created all 10 of these new, full-time and permanent jobs then the USCIS will cancel the immigrant visa and start deportation procedures to remove him and his family from the country.
- However, this strict job creation rule was significantly softened when the Congress created the new “EB-5 Regional Center” program.