What Is It?
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is available to foreign individuals who wish to obtain a green card through investing in a new business that will create 10 new full-time jobs to U.S. workers. This program offers a unique option to high net worth foreign individuals who do not have a relative or employer petitioning for their permanent residency, or do not possess internationally recognized skills or research to qualify for a national interest waiver or extraordinary ability visa. The qualifying minimum investment is $1.8 million USD, and if the business is in a rural or high unemployment area, the required investment is reduced to $900,000 USD.
What are the General Requirements for an EB-5 Visa?
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program makes green cards available to high-net-worth foreign individuals who invest in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. The main requirements are: 1) invest at least $1.8 million USD in a new commercial enterprise, 2) employ at least 10 full-time U.S. workers, and 3) manage the day-to-day aspects of the business/be involved in policy making.
If the business is in a “targeted employment area” (TEA) —a rural area or an city or town of more than 20,0000 people outside a larger economic hub, with 150% of the federal unemployment rate — the required investment is $900,000 UD. The investment minimum for TEA and non-TEA EB-5 applications are to be revised every five years for inflation.
While TEA designations had been made by state and local governments prior to November of 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is now making these designations going forward.
Investments may be made through a USCIS Regional Center. A Regional Center is defined as “any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.” In this case, the job creation requirement is less restrictive, and may be met by indirect jobs and induced jobs, as well as direct jobs. Indirect jobs or induced jobs are those created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise, as demonstrated through reasonable economic methodologies. Additionally, the investor is not required to handle the day-to-day management of the business if the investment is in a Regional Center. Many Regional Centers are set up in TEAs; therefore, investment through a Regional Center typically only needs to be $900,000 USD. For a list of USCIS Regional Centers, click here.
How Many EB-5 Visas Are There?
Ten thousand (10,000) EB-5 visas are available during each fiscal year (October 1 to September 30). In the first few years after the establishment of the program, USCIS only issued 300-400 EB-5 visas. With substantial improvements made in the consistency of the EB-5 visa review by USCIS and the addition of Regional Centers, with each successive year, the EB-5 visa program has grown in popularity.
Due to the unprecedented economic growth of China, resulting in the creation of many independently wealthy individuals, over half of the issued EB-5 visas go to savvy Chinese investors who recognize the opportunity to combine economic success with permanent residency in the United States for themselves and their families. During the 2013 FY, a total of 7300 EB-5 visas were issued, of which 6200 went to investors from mainland China. The country to receive the second largest number of EB-5 visas during 2013 FY was not even close — 300 visas to South Korean investors.
Based on current statistics, EB-5 approvals rates are relatively high: In 2011, 81% of the submitted I-526 petitions were approved, and 96% of submitted I-829 removal of condition applications were approved. In 2012, 79% approval rate for I-526s and 94% approval rate for I-829s.
How Can Yew Immigration Law Group, P.C., Help?
Attorney Alison Yew has been involved with the EB-5 program since the 1990s when the program was first introduced. She has successfully obtained EB-5 visas for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who invested in the United States. If you are an investor, we will help you identify businesses seeking capital investment so that you may conduct your due diligence as the first step of the EB-5 process. Our office will then identify the documentation needed for the petition package, complete the petition and submit it. We will work with your financial specialist(s) overseas to obtain proof of the legitimate source of the funds used as investment capital. Please contact our office for a consultation on what preparation detail is required.
Related Government Sites on the EB-5 Visa Program
See the USCIS website for basic qualifying requirements for an EB-5 visa and updates to the program implemented in November of 2019.