Getting an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program VISA
The EB-5 or Immigrant Investor Program was created by Congress in 1990. The goal was to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment through foreign investors.
The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to obtain a green card and create a path to citizenship when they buy a business that creates at least 10 new jobs.
At a time when access to capital has been limited, the program has recently been used to launch new businesses, as well as revive troubled small businesses, helping them preserve jobs that would have otherwise been terminated.
EB-5 has two different minimums for investments that qualify for the program.
If foreign investors invest $1 million or more they can buy a business in any state. If they invest less than $1 million, they will be restricted to particular areas as defined by the EB-5 guidelines.
The minimum qualifying investment for the program is $500,000 and must be invested in one of two types of areas. This requirement aims to stimulate economy in rural areas, which are defined by USCIS as areas outside a metropolitan statistical area or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. Other areas that are the focus of the program are targeted economic areas, often referred to as TEA zones and are defined as areas with an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.
Each state has its own TEA policy. Some states have pre-determined TEA zones, and other states allow you to apply or request for a certain zone.
Each foreign investor must prove that their investment will result in the creation of ten jobs. Since the program is looking to stimulate the U.S. economy, preserving 10 jobs when buying troubled businesses also qualifies.
One of the ways that USCIS determines whether EB-5 visa requesters meet the requirements of the program is by evaluating the submitted proposals. If you apply for an EB-5 investment through the USCIS, the center would be responsible for assisting you in creating an EB-5 compliant business plan.
It is possible to apply for an EB-5 visa without investing through a Regional Center, but this would require the applicant to write his or her own business plan. There are specialized EB-5 consultants who can assist you with writing your business plan if you choose to go that route.