EB5 Investor Program Visa
The EB-5 Visa for Immigrant Investors was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The EB5 Visa, commonly known as the Immigrant Investor Program, is one of the few visa programs that lead directly to permanent residence for wealthy individuals. Under this program, entrepreneurs and their spouses and unmarried children under 21, are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:
- Direct Investment: Make the necessary investment in a new or existing commercial enterprise in the United States, with a minimum investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending on whether or not the business in the set-up in a Target Employment Area (TEA)
- Regional Center Investment: invest through a regional center EB5 project, which offers the flexibility of multiple investment options without the hassle of day-to-day management of the business.
- Plan to create or preserve at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers within a two-year period
There are two types of visas available:
EB5 Direct Investment Visa: Invest directly into a new or existing business, with a minimum investment of $500,000 or $ 1,000,000 depending on whether the business is established in a Target Employment Area (TEA)
EB5 Regional Center Visa: Invest through a regional center EB5 project which offers the flexibility of multiple investment options to choose from without having to manage the day to day operation of the business.
In both cases, a comprehensive, thorough, detailed and extensive business plan is required. Exoodus will provide a professionally written business plan meeting the immigration visa classification requirement. The requirements and conditions to apply for an EB5 visa classification are thorough, detailed and specific set by USCIS to promote and incentivize U.S. economy through direct investment and direct or indirect employment generation.
There are other requirements to meet.
Commercial Enterprise Requirements:
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise engaged in any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business, that is established after Nov. 29, 1990, o established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or expanded through the investment so that at least a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs.
Job Creation Requirements:
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise not located within a regional center, the full-time positions must be created directly by the new commercial enterprise to be counted. This means that the new commercial enterprise (or its wholly owned subsidiaries) must itself be the employer of the full-time qualifying employees. A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States including, but not limited to, a conditional resident, a temporary resident, an asylee, a refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include the immigrant investor; his or her spouse, sons, or daughters; or any foreign national in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B nonimmigrant) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
- Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the regional center program, “full-time employment” also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.
- A job-sharing arrangement whereby two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week.
- Jobs that are intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature do not qualify as permanent full-time jobs. However, jobs that are expected to last at least 2 years are generally not considered intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature.
- For a new commercial enterprise located within a regional center, the full-time positions can be created either directly or indirectly by the new commercial enterprise. Direct jobs are those jobs that establish an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the persons it employs. Indirect jobs are those jobs held outside of the new commercial enterprise, but that are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise.
- In the case of a troubled business, the EB-5 investor may rely on job maintenance. The investor must show that the number of existing employees is being, or will be, maintained at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least 2 years. A troubled business is a business that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period before the priority date on the immigrant investor’s form application. The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’ net worth prior to the loss. For purposes of determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, successors in interest to the troubled business will be deemed to have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Note: The immigrant investor must establish that he or she is the legal owner of the capital invested. Capital can include the immigrant investor’s promise to pay (a promissory note) under certain circumstances.
Required minimum investments are:
- The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
- Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
A rural area is an area not within either a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of the United States.
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