EB5 Visa Direct Investment
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.
The EB-5 Regular Program (Individual Investment)
There are two EB-5 programs from which to choose, the Regular Program and the Regional Center Program. The Regular Program has three basic requirements:
- 1investment in a “new commercial enterprise”
- 2of at least $1,000,000 (or $500,000 in certain cases, discussed below)
- 3that 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 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. Finally, 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.
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 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% above the national average).
Although the vast majority of investors opt to choose a regional center, there are benefits to a direct investment. If the EB-5 investor selects a direct investment he or she is responsible for managing the investment, the job creation and the ultimate success or failure of the business.
who establish a new commercial enterprise
Creating an original business,Purchasing an existing business and simultaneously or subsequently restructuring or reorganizing the business such that a new commercial enterprise results, Expanding an existing business by increasing its net worth or number of employees by 40 percent, Retaining all existing jobs in a "troubled business" that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months.
Who have invested - or who are actively in the process of investing - in a new commercial enterprise
at least $1,000,000, or,at least $500,000 where the investment is being made in a "rural" area or a "targeted employment area," which is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate,
Whose investment will benefit the United States economy by:
creating full-time employment for not fewer than 10 qualified individuals,Or, if the commercial enterprise is a "troubled business" maintaining the existing number of employees for a period of at least two years.